Love letter # 308

Your picture popped up in my news feed. A big party smile. Your eyes alive. It shot me through. My heart thundered. And it was clearer to me than ever. Try as I might to find other explanations the simple fact is that I am totally in love with you.

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Love letter # 549

When did we stop listening? At what point did boundless love morph into a tiring habit? How long since we beheld one another with joy or desire?

These, I suppose, are the standard issue dilemmas of the long term relationship. Perhaps they are just the inevitable victory of reality over idealism; the crush of pragmatism over the vaulting fancy of passion. It makes you wonder why we ever bothered, doesn’t it?

Even so – if I concentrate – my body recalls the electricity your touch used to generate. My heart remembers the way the light poured in. And the hope. The beautiful belief. The way I sank to my knees in thanks for the incredible wonder of you.

But of course it’s not like that now – and for this I apologise. Not for the grind of time or the ebbing tide of hormonal hunger but for the way I forgot to try. Or blamed you. Maybe I made you the avatar of my disappointment – as I had previously enthroned you as the star of my dreams. I am not proud of these extremes, for they set you up to fail. Primed me for a shattering loss of faith. Exploded the myth of us.

In conclusion, I guess what I’m really asking is this … is it too late?

A letter from an invisible man.

It happened the other day. A turn of the head. A beautiful woman walking by. Half a second’s eye contact. Thin polite smile. Then the thought: walking by. The weight of what it meant. For that’s what she will always be from now. Beauty that walks by.

I remember the first time I heard someone use the term sexual invisibility. She said that time had effectively de-sexed her. “I’m mother, aunty, confidant, drinking buddy, gym buddy, you name it – but never lover.”

Through this invisible yet ruthless wall of time I too have now clearly passed. They no longer stop. No longer seem to enjoy the attention I might give them. I am the bumbling imbecile they look right through – or at best tolerate for a few seconds. I am the pitiable, contemptable, menopausal idiot stupidly clinging to the last scraps of hope. The joke they laugh at the moment my back is turned.

All this despite the fact that I can see their beauty more clearly than ever – that I can love them more freely and boldly and truly. If in my handsome years I greedily took, now in my ugly time I have oceans to give. Yet now they sit inside me unwanted – dammed, penned in by age and its tell-tale perimeter fence of thinning hair.

Are porn, pity fucks and dating site shag hags all that’s left? The paleness of settling as opposed to the wildness of fire?

Or loneliness?

Either way, she walked away. Didn’t she? Blinked at you, took her next step and instantly forgot you. And none of the irony or poetry of the moment was communicated. She was the form of loveliness gliding by but I was just the sad arse man whose gaze lingered a little too long on the dream of beauty. I got caught. She escaped.

So now I surrender – and the sea of love that moves within me will save its mighty tides for fictions. For the swoon of songs. For the shimmer of cinema. For letters like this.

And the beautiful women – emerging and then instantly retreating into the torrents of an anonymous city – they will just walk past. Unknowing, uncaring. Until I no longer see them and words like these dry up.

Love letter # 449

You are a beautiful light in the world. You are all the far flung wonders. You are the songs inside me.

And I am the traveller, drawn by your flame. An island you stopped to name. And here I am – dancing to the music you are. Walking in the way that you shine. Blessed just to be your side.

Love letter # 306

Back when I was even dumber I pictured the perfect girl. In later years – sensibly – I gave up on her. Until you came along. The walking, breathing form of everything I ever privately dreamed. Beauty in the guise of a woman.

Perhaps this is why I’m finding it so damn hard to let go. Part of me wants to fight for you – do whatever it takes, even if the rest of me knows there’s no point.

I guess I never really expected that you would materialise – so I prepared no defence. Had no strategy for the possibility that you might decline.

It is a sobering thing to discover that even your fantasies can turn you down. I am sure that in the time honoured way of the white, suburban middle classes the truth of this will get smoothed out into neat hindsight and re-configured as a ‘lesson’, complete with all the euphemistic language of self-improvement and other such beige coloured lies.

In the meantime, I watch you walk away.

Though there is an undeniably painful aspect to all this tissue box melodrama, I find myself taking some kind of heart from the mere fact of your existence. At the very least I will one day be able to say that she was real. That for a brief time I knew her. And that her light was just as I first saw it in a dream.