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.
Love letter # 342
You know as well as I do that things are not great between us right now; and I think we both know that pride and vanity have got in the way. Perhaps even ideology. Words we disagree on. Is this not ridiculous? Aren’t there bigger things at stake than our ego and our desire for control?
Let’s please stop this silly war and focus on what it was that brought us together – that made the stars shine and the sound of falling rain into beautiful music. These things are not dead; they’re just buried at the moment.
If you want to bring them into the light once more I will be right there with you. If not … well, I think we both understand where things will go.
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?
Love letter # 444
I am writing to you now, from the distance of forever, because from this far off vantage I can see at last. Like so many others I too was the fool of abstraction. I abandoned you for an idea. The myth of our selfish age. For the absurd and dehumanising notion that I could only ‘improve’ myself if I cut myself off from the very facts of my being – if I pursued the so called personal empowerment so beloved of TEDtalkers and self-help charlatans.
And having ascended their peak of spiritual awareness what did I find? Excuses for coldness, for thinly veiled cruelty. I gave up the love of a real person for the delusion of self.
How was it that I so readily fell for this naked ideological consumerism – for this capitalism of the soul? What sleight of hand made your love – my love – seem expendable and unevolved?
Like almost everyone I knew, I too lived in the terror of the obvious and the vaulting denial it inspired. I was so desperately afraid of my own vulnerability, my very mortality and the basic fragility of my animal being, that I tried on any reasonable sounding sophistry that would hide me from my skin.
It was a lie for which I paid dearly. It has cost me the only truly sacred things available to earthly creatures like you and I. Love, tenderness, the knowing that comes from the knowing of others. These mirrors by which we see who we are. What we are. And how utterly beautiful that is.
This then is my long overdue acknowledgement. My acceptance of your humble wisdom. You offered me the flawed and wonderful treasures of intimacy and I spurned them for a kind of philosophical masturbation. I sought the impossible and punishing perfect and lost the warm and bloody reality of your lovely arms about me.
Knowing you, you will smile and thank me – remind me that my departure made room for another. Even so, I give you my apology and, at long last, an honest farewell – as opposed to a fearful retreat.