Love letter # 241

It’s the things you don’t prepare for that get through. That picture of you popping up on my slideshow. You reading the card I gave you, wearing the scarf I bought you. How could I have known that I would never hold you again?

I believed we were closer than ever on that day. I thought that after all our struggles we had made it – that we had finally found a way to make our desires and our personas live together. I recall the way you looked up at me after reading whatever romantic gush it was I had scrawled in that card and your eyes were full of tender welcome.

Yet within a week it was over. Not officially – but I felt the cord snap – saw that the walls you built around you were higher than ever. Perhaps because I got too close and it seemed too real. And I got sad and you got defensive and everything rolled out the way it did.

I wonder if we are the better for it now. Wiser, happier? Or just resigned? (Is there a difference?)

All I know is that I saw you just now – pixels on my screen, rooms in my heart – and I was set on fire. The song is right: there is a light that never goes out. And it’s you.

Love letter # 157

Today I looked at you with brand new eyes. Had I not truly seen you before or have you changed? Perhaps the answer to this is academic – because all I know for sure is that when I saw you today I was unexpectedly breathless.

Sometimes it is not the first impression that counts – but the realisation that comes after months – years – of knowing someone. This may well be the truest love; the one hatched from the seed most deeply buried. The one least likely to be based entirely on hormones and fantasy.

I walked away from you today – my head shaken, my heart stirred – and I wondered how for so long I had overlooked such obvious beauty. Was I blind or were you hiding? Again, the answer here is less important than the stunning, simple fact of our abrupt uncovering.

So what will we do now that we have scratched away the film that kept these feelings under wraps? Disappear? Deny?

Or discover?

Three Visions Of Olympia

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Scene From A Final Weekend

On the elevated balcony – after the howling release of coupling – we took in the panorama as pleasant hormones raced around our bodies and the intimacy of lovers lowered our resistance. We had that conversation – the one we had to have.

“Do you love me?” I asked, emboldened – somehow unafraid.

You closed your eyes, titled your head back and exhaled slowly. “Anything but that goddam word,” you intoned – incredibly soft and sad – like a gentle shower. “That word has been ruined for me.”

“But what about the feelings?”

“They got scrambled,” you explained. “The people who said they loved me were cruel. The said I love you as a kind of apology, like something to cover up their disappointmernt. I only let them down because they loved me.”

It was a story we both knew – the common tale of love being a veil for ownership, for control. Yours was about a clever, introverted young boy who could have studied law or medicine but fell in love with dance and then the circus. Mine was about a girl who had the temerity to become a woman. And both of us hid ourselves away – you in sublime safety of the sky, me in the denialist world of fashionable spirituality.

“I got into my body because it seemed like the best way to get out of my feelings,” you said. “Or maybe that’s just some smart thing I like to say and really I’ve got no idea.”

It made sense to me though. It explained our immediate attraction. You embraced what I eschewed. Your flight to the flesh was my escape from it.

No wonder we fucked so intensely. Not fast and hard but slow and vulnerable. With you I came from somewhere deep in the core – in waves that eradicated the ego – that melted me into you. Into everything. And when I looked into your eyes and saw you shuddering with quiet ecstasy, I could sense that you had joined me in that great and unnameable river that carries us all back to zero.

For a few moments at least it did not matter that you were leaving.

But the ego returned – and with it wanting and fear and desperation. “Do you think I only loved you because I knew you were going away?”

You smiled. Leant forward and took both my hands. Held them intently for a few beats. Ran your fingers over the veins on the backs of them. “Maybe,” you answered. “Maybe that’s why I let you.”

On the edge of sobbing I asked you why and your answer still rings unusually clear in my recollection. “I think we were both just checking in to see if what it was that was so scary was really that frightening after all. And it was – but not because it was awful – because it was far too beautiful – and beauty – beauty is the killer you can never deny.”

It’s true. I loved you because it was the end of denial. And when denial ends everything is swept away.

That’s why I flew a thousand miles to spend that wonderful/awful weekend with you – knowing you would leave me behind. Because I wanted to be overwhelmed. Humbled. Forced at last out of lies and into the clean and minimal truth.

I wonder if you remember it that way.

Like I wonder so many things about you.

Love letter # 263

Done my best not to notice you. Failed. Others don’t see them, but I do. Your gestural details. The way your smile illuminates your eyes. That flick of your hip. The almost imperceptible way you linger. Your mouth soft. Voice a little deeper.

I want to be immune. Impervious. In control. But I’m not. My gaze hovers on you and I pray you can’t tell. I am afraid of the inevitable crush of your knowing. Not ready for no. Scared by the prospect of yes.

What will happen to desire when it requires action? Will my composure stand up to the ache of walking away; let alone the hot blaze of first kiss? Perhaps this quiet is preferable – because it lets me look at you. And you are so beautiful.

Love letter # 574

Though I told myself I would be ‘strong’ it takes so little to undo me. Just knowing you’re online – your name in the newsfeed. I see the little thumbnail of you and a warm bloom opens out inside me, like a flower in the spring, obeying some greater call. And my tough determination withers and before I know it I’m typing.

I know you’re never coming back. And anyway there is no back. But your name in sans serif and your lovely smile in miniature – small enough to look past, just enough to know that a fire still flickers. Even though I left it untended long ago.

We think we’re in control, such spiritual beings – but we’re not. We’re animals. We act like gods sometimes but we still walk in the dirt. And I only have to see your name in print to be reminded. That I am made of skin and bone and that I love you.