Love letter # 446
I try not to look, even though I can; though you make it easy.
Are you unconscious of your beauty or are you aware that the sight of you is unravelling? Is this display of skin and form and flickering gesture an act, a game, or is it simply you? Am I meant to respond, to be nearly out of breath, or is it a trap? Will I be the next sexist – the umpteenth objectifier – or merely an arsonist’s blazing victory? The cinders of a smiling routine. Notch in your belt of suckers.
I ask all this because of the times; because of all the other stuff that gets in the way. And because I’m scared. Terrified this will blow off my hands, reduce me once more to a wreck. Once it was easy to desire – now it is like teetering on an edge. Love and hunger and deep fascination used to come naturally, as from a spring to a river to a welcoming sea. Today they are queered by memory and caution, tangled up in politeness and politics. Now I am paralysed, perhaps crucified – for I have marvelled at your beauty and swooned to the swish of your passing. I have even dreamt. Daringly so.
Yet here now, with these words, my biggest risk. You will read this and, shortly thereafter, I will have my answer. Tomorrow I will see it in your eyes, or worse, in quiet withdrawal. Or you will astound me, and I won’t feel so clamorous and exposed for writing.
Love letter # 535
This is how I feel in the realm of your beauty: liquid, vulnerable, naked, hungry, alone. For you are beautiful and I am not. Next to you, I am a million miles from your touch. In your wake, I walk the desert of your affection, and with each word the silence thickens. Yet none of this is your fault – merely the accidental making of your gaze as it passes right through me, an arrow arcing elsewhere.
This is what it is to be in exile. To see and hear, to inhale the atoms of your scent, and yet know nothing; except that desire is spawned in pretty flickers and love in chemical rivers. Both given and withheld without recourse to appeal or evidence. With brute appraisal. And of course, I am as guilty as you. For to long for the lovely mirage is to be drenched in thirst.
You see, we do have something in common, after all.
Love letter # 599
It was just one kiss. Polite, not passionate. Yet your lips lingered a little longer – or did they? Now I can’t tell; though I do hope. My pulse is quickened, my judgement blurred. I’d play it cool if I had any left. Instead, what I have is the memory of taste. The echo of sensation. As though a storm had passed, the earth still slick with heavy scented potential. The air abuzz with the promise of flowers. On this I shall sleep, perhaps to wake in a world I have dreamt.
Love letter # 416
Hello there. In case you’re wondering, we already know one another by sight. We go the same beach in the evenings, especially at this time of year. I’m the guy who sits on the sand and gazes out across the bay. Your dog often comes up to say hi. And then you walk by and I notice you too.
Anyway, for the last few nights, after you’ve drifted past, the dog has been lingering, looking somehow expectant. Yesterday evening you called out his name and, before he bolted back to your side, he looked right at me as if to say ‘why don’t you come with me?’ I know it sounds totally crazy but I feel like Sammy wants us to meet.
So yeah, this is either the stupidest approach I’ve ever made – in which case sorry – or…?
PS: How will I get this letter to you without resorting to stalking? I will make a sand sculpture and hang a sign around it saying something like ‘Sammy’s friend was here’. Then, if you notice, if you find the letter, and if the dog approves, maybe I can walk with you both one time.
Love letter # 325
If you touch me I’m sure I will promptly dissolve. If you take me in your arms I may just break. That’s how it feels – almost asphyxiating in your presence, wondering where to look, what to do, how not to melt into a formless mess. You see this kind of thing in films, hear it in songs, but you never expect it to actually happen. At least not on this cynical planet. Not at my age. But then, who would have guessed that I’d meet someone like you.
Love letter # 408
You. Who else? What other reason could there be?
Please don’t pretend you aren’t aware. Don’t add that disingenuous veil of denial to the mix. It’s bad enough as it is – seeing you, having you near me. Those eyes, that smile. You see, I know you don’t mean it. You do it because you can.
I don’t wish to demonise you here, or cast you as the evil, manipulative villain of the piece. I understand how good it is to flirt, to toy with the idea of intimacy, and I know how good it feels to have someone want you. All I ask, now that you know that I know, is that you kindly desist. If you don’t I will almost inevitably fall and our playful, platonic game will turn into an awkward mess of aching, embarrassment and avoidance.
For I am teetering on the brink of loving you – but for me at least, loving is not a trifle. It is, as they say, skin in the game. Yet I have no wish to be flayed. Nor to break.
This may be a difficult thing for you to accept. Perhaps it will seem stupid. Cowardly. Insipid. The thing is, my friend, I will bear these epithets more easily than the alternative. Think of it this way: if I have taken the considerable risk of writing to you like this, imagine how dangerous I believe it is to stay silent and just allow things to unfold. I would rather you dismiss me now, with tiny bruises, than later, with freshly broken bones.
Love letter # 859
It is the promise of your kiss; the dream of waking up next to you. So primal, so powerful. Such humbling animal gravity. There really isn’t much more I can say.