Love letter # 490
Did it happen while we weren’t looking…or when we were? Was it our turning away or our insistence? Not that it makes much difference now. Knowing won’t make you love me again. Nor I you. Yet, as I ponder the detritus, I am drawn ever closer to an abrasive conclusion; that we brought down the sky in a tussle over dust. These grubby specks are the trophies of ruin. This, the Pyrrhic victory of vane and selfish campaign. If I once threw up a wall thinking to keep things together, instead it drew a line between us, entrenching rival empires, who fought till the end of time, and left the scene with nothing. Save the evidence of blood.
Love letter # 355
Now, with all these years between, it finally becomes clear why I was drawn to you and why my actions were misguided. You had a fire in you; and so did I. But I tried to smother mine.
Was it because I thought that’s what you wanted – an anchor of sorts? A counterpoint? Someone to stand between you and them. To provide cover. Or rather, was it that I was scared? Not of you, my love, but of the flames? Of what might burn?
Yet really, asking all this, I know. The truth was always in me; it’s just that I tried to heal it with lies. Until the walls got so cracked. Until the drone of all those people who insisted they had our best interests at heart became unbearable.
It looked like an explosion to them – but only because they never bothered to notice the smoke.
Meanwhile, in our separate yet equally destructive ways, we torched it all. Even us. That pretty fucking picture, that zombie suburban act. (I could not have admitted this previously; but we broke up to stop them keeping us in their specimen jar. Your fire needed oxygen, mine gasped for all manner of tinder.) It could have been different though, couldn’t it? If I had kept my promise and let you fan my flame.
Knowing this now doesn’t change much. It might even seem hollow. It’s just that I’m almost certain that the fire they tried to put out still lights your world – and still threatens to incinerate theirs. Mine is ablaze too. Wild engine. Warm hearth. Dancing in your likeness.
Yeah – it is too late. Far too fucking late. But honey does it burn.
Love letter # 934
Nothing is permanent; not even the arc of your love.
I realise that the gap between elation and despair is the downcast eye – a slip of the tongue, a new arrival, a chorus in a minor key. Perhaps just…hesitation. Dust, once stirred, will never settle back exactly. Even the stars are shifting.
I look at you now and know this; and if I am wont to dread I bite my lip. Breathe. In a beat or two this wave will crash from trepidation to thankfulness. We are still here, still us, and in this moment I remember why I will never take you for granted again.
Love letter # 592
At the time I was blind. Just acting. Reacting. Blundering hurt and foolish. Doing things I never should. Saying stuff I didn’t really mean. Or now wish that I hadn’t.
Because I felt out of control I tried to impose a form of control on you. All the usuals: blackmail, pity seeking, stubborn refusals and vulgar displays of faux generosity. I was like a child; and although I knew it, I could not seem to find the lever or the gumption to stop. No wonder you burnt me off. If I first thought you cruel for doing so, now I see how patient you were. How you kept your powder dry.
Perhaps, for a while, I wallowed in the drama of self-loathing – drunk on the lurid spectacle of hating myself – but I have recently emerged from this pantomime of righteousness. Indeed, my sending you this missive of acceptance and apology is really me forgiving myself. Seeking the absolution of mirrors.
I think it’s fair to say that I loved you, but now maybe I love you more. Because now, finally, I am able. Therefore, I can honestly say sorry that my folly came at such a cost for you. In my self-obsession I stroked the ego of my suffering; yet all the while it was you who wore the bruises. You who quit the scene with the weight of further disappointments. Though I cannot undo these things, I can at least now shoulder my fair share of the outcome.
You may say that even this is little more than the self-serving theatrics of sentiment; and you may well be right. Who knows, next year I might look back at this and cringe. But today, as I write, it truly does feel as though I mean it. In the end, that’s all I can hope to offer you.
Love letter # 498
Though I may have behaved badly, please do not doubt my love – or at least my honest belief that this is what this feeling is. I am flawed. I get angry and jealous and can be petty, insecure and controlling. All these things were in me before you came along – perhaps they will persist after you have finally had enough.
You have helped me understand that I act out because I am afraid; scared that you won’t love me, that nobody could possibly love me. You are also helping me to see that my controlling behaviours do not help the situation; that playing the victim or being the bully are both doomed strategies. But please, I’m not asking you to be my teacher or my shrink – only that you be patient. That you find a way to want to be beside me.
I won’t grovel because I know that’s also a stupid game – I will simply own up and promise to do my utmost. This may not be enough. In fact, it may be an utterly pointless gesture. Right now, without lapsing into old habits, there is probably not much more I can realistically offer you. I get that apologies and promises ring hollow after a while, that they even seem like lies and manipulation, so I will make no predictions, offer no guarantees.
Instead, I shall say simply that I love you as much as it is possible for me to give love and if you are inclined to believe this I will take that alone as treasure and I will cherish it.
Love letter # 886
Of course I lashed out at you. It’s what injured people do. Defend the ground they think is theirs. Blame the other.
Neither of us were saintly, let’s be frank. Our dynamic was both destructive and self-affirming. Over time and poorly chosen words we both threw up barricades. The patterns became deep ruts, tracks from which we could not divert.
So we went around in circles – vicious ones indeed – until …
Now, from the distance of healed up cuts, I can see how easily things could have been different, how I could have made other choices. Truth be told, I knew it back then too but I was stubborn and prideful, too convinced of my ‘rightness’ to understand what I was about to lose in order to gain or maintain some delusory upper hand in a ridiculous stand-off that never needed to happen in the first place.
Whatever you were, I was a fool. Worse – arrogant, even spiteful. I loved you, I really did, and that made me afraid, and in my fear … well, y’know.
I recognise all this now and apologise for my part in our ruin. I can only hope that this may still mean something to you – because it does to me. Even after everything.
Love letter # 447
Time may well have washed us all away, eroded every last vestige of us and consigned that very idea to photo albums and dusty keepsakes, but there is still a room inside me filled with a kind of light; and even though I realise the utter pointlessness of regret there are still moments when the truth of my erstwhile complacency is nearly unbearable.
In these moments I ask myself what kind of blindness I was afflicted with – why could I not see what was right beside me? What form of the ideal was I scanning the horizon for? What illusory ‘other’ kept my gaze fixed in space? No wonder you turned aside.
However, I will spare you the drama of my self-reproach and say instead that I am truly sorry for my arrogant assumption that you would never leave. Not only did it rot the foundation of us but it has polluted the air of what followed. For both of us. I sense it in newly formed fears. In the holding back of love. In episodes of despair. In the loss of once unshakable belief.
I hear all this in your voice whenever we speak. Even read it in between the lines of emails. Perhaps I am over stating it here but it seems like we are not only older but lonelier; and although I understand that I am not entirely to blame (and that blame itself is not the best reflex) I can no longer deny that my lazy assumptions and lack of genuine effort and attention contributed massively to the corrosion of our once exceptional union. For this I apologise unreservedly.