Tag Archives: Contrition

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.

Love letter # 595

I woke up with my heart in pieces this morning – for in my dream I was by your side and you were like the angel I had always imagined. The girl who melted everything.

Yet you and I both know that in this more solid world such hazy visions do not withstand the force of human frailty. It is the irrefutable difference between these two poles – the hoped for and the actual – that broke me open. In the realm of sleep we loved each other; as though there were no lines between us. In the daylight we do not even speak.

Last night you said that you still loved me. In that sweet cloud I believed you. But of course, you never did. You simply tolerated me. Put up with a fool and his unwanted desires. Told whatever lies you felt were appropriate. For my part, I looked past all the evidence, blinded by hunger. By a weakness stronger than self-respect.

If you were the one who abused, I was the one who allowed it. Mine was the longing. The void. The loneliness. Yours was the air that rushed to fill the vacuum I created. You could have been more honest – much more so – but you were as beholden to your fears as I was to mine. Though I am not responsible for your appalling behaviour, I am 100% culpable in mine. I wanted that beautiful dream so much – that fantasy version of you – that in a way my folly engineered your Machiavellian response. Perhaps this is why my heart is breaking right now.

Or maybe because it took a dream for me to allow you the room to love me truly in return.

Love letter # 256

You and I both know that there is no fairy tale – that these things move in cycles. From making me want to be the best I could be to accepting me at my worst, and vice versa, we have seen the beautiful and the busted. Yet here we are. Clinging to our life raft. The very idea of us.

Do we give it all up? Do we stay with a sinking ship? Or is there another way? A way back to the inspiration. Forward to something better. The richer, deeper more complete love that comes out of struggle; that is forged in the grind and toil of the everyday.

Let us at least agree that this is not a dream but rather, something we can make true if only we have the desire. Perhaps it has seemed for too long that I was not prepared to make the effort – but I’m telling you now that I am.

Yes, I have been a selfish, foolish, forgetful lover. For that I apologise unreservedly. However, now that we face the very real prospect of losing us, I am ready to step back from that pointless precipice. Whatever wars we have fought – and both lost – they are not worth all this blood on the floor. All those bright red stains on our character. They are not worth a single kiss from your lovely mouth. Not a single knowing look from your startling eyes.

We do have choices here. We are not victims. We have all the love in the world in our hearts. Will you dance again with me to its joyful beat – because I am here on my feet waiting for you to join me once more?

Love letter # 290

I saw you this morning – but I’m fairly sure you didn’t see me. What struck me was how light you seemed. Your complexion. The way your hair fell. The jaunty rhythm of your walk. I was reminded of the sirens in your eyes and of all the madness they used to induce in me.

In some ways I was glad – relieved that we were no more. For now I am free of the blinding, humbling, crazy-making feelings that the merest touch of your hand once set off in me. Not just fireworks. Fire storms. Indeed, I think it’s fair to say I lost myself in those great waves.

And yet, when you turned the corner – out of sight once more – I understood with a cold shudder what I had lost. A kind of hope. A life outside of my own self-serving thoughts.

Thus I am writing to you this evening to say without reservation that it was my neediness, not your cruelty. My weakness, not your arrogance. Sure, you contributed your fair share of poor behaviour to the silliness but it is clear to me now that the war between us started in my suspicions and spread from there.

For this I apologise – not simply because I ruined my own love but because I trampled on yours too. I can only hope that you have by now sweated out the poison I poured into you and that the beauty which first drew me to you is shining brighter and stronger than ever. From my brief glimpse of you earlier today, it certainly looked that way.

Love letter # 248

Hindsight maybe cruel, even unfair – but it illuminates the patterns that repeat in our lives. The dramas that play out over and over. And it makes us ask the question. What exactly was it that I thought I wanted?

I can see now why you left. I pushed, you pulled. I wasn’t sure, so I pushed some more. You ran. I never allowed you the space to love me because I was at you the whole time. Your love – however great it may have been – got smothered by my need for proof. Because it wasn’t really love I was craving. It was certainty.

(It is an impossible religion. Please do not convert to it.)

Yet for all that, whenever I think of you, I still miss you. As ridiculous as things became, I never forgot the fire in your eyes. Or the way your tears welled. For I remember the light – and the hand that put it out.

Love letter # 361

Someone asked me why it was that you and I split up. You two seemed perfect, they said. The irony here is that it was a failure to be perfect that caused us to separate.

In the beginning, we were one another’s heroes. In the end we were just ordinary. Not awful or abusive – just flawed and far less shiny. Perhaps it’s even fair to say that a touch of boredom set in. And there’s nothing sexy or wonderful about that.

I used to castigate myself for all my failings. Now I only regret not forgiving you for yours. I loved when you were fabulous but I felt let down when you weren’t. I wonder sometimes if it was a fairy tale I married; rather than a woman. I know that I played the prince for you – kept the act up for as long as I could. Did you play the dream girl for me, my love?

And for a time, of course, it was magical. Sometimes I am incredibly nostalgic for that. Other times I feel that it set the bar too high – never gave us a chance at being human.

I can say all this now because the strength we did have together I have never even come close to finding again. Partly, this could be the effect of aging. I can accept that. Almost smile at it. But what if that’s not the reason? What if we split up because we were too greedy? Too stupid to see that the broken down model we had was better than anything else on the market.

Most days I try not to give this thought oxygen – but tonight, as I contemplate the quiet cold of the empty bed and the knowledge that I will wake up alone – I am choking on it.