Love letter # 584
I look around – pugilistic presidents and pitchfork mobs, demagogues and ideologues – and it seems easy to retreat. After all, humanity is just the latest apex predator awaiting immolation and extinction. Poking phones and pouring plastic into sea. Shopping till the sky caves in. Jamming up the cave with junk. Marketing the multi-coloured lobotomy of their own destruction. This year’s must-consume suicide smoothie! But then I look at you.
Then I watch your sway. Flick of your hair. Lustre of your skin. The blood warm magnetism of your sinewy sculpture. And I remember the taste of your heat on my tongue. The urgent power of your hunger. The crush of ecstatic release.
Here then is my haven. The valley after the peak. The quiet begat by maelstrom. The simple sanctuary of the gaze that truly sees. The uncluttered interstice, where beauty may be beheld and we ourselves may once again be beheld as beautiful.
For it is not the abstraction of a bipedal simian swarm that moves me – nor their shiny fetish objects and narrative fantasies – but the tensile strength of your hand. The bony twine of your fingers. This is why I’m still in the room. Because you are the proof.
Love letter # 372
It’s the glorious folly of it that attracts me. It’s because it isn’t strictly sensible or grounded in so-called reality, because the risks are so enormous, because it invites such suffering and disappointment and courts at every step disillusion and potential bitterness. Even though we cannot say precisely what it is and it so often founders upon our fears and frailties, we venture into it anyway. And although we can dismiss it as the necessary trick of our genes, the sucker punch of evolution, still we love one another. Still we declare it, sing it, rejoice in its frequently broken promise of extraordinary and transformative deliverance.
For love, like hope and faith, allows us face the void, to find meaning in the wake of futility. To render the brute and nigh mechanical business of continuing worthwhile. While we walk along this path, knowing full well where it ends, we can either do so in terror and denial, or with hubris and conceit, or – with our quixotic love tilting at the windmills of inevitability – with an eye for the awesome and utterly fragile beauty of it all.
In this way, love is also a kind of defiance – not an arrogant denial or noisy protest, but rather, a grateful embrace. Because it is not the end that love defies, but the fear of its approach. If we must finally fall, and stumble badly before we get there, let us be together while we do it. Let us be alive as we go. Let us face the clock that counts it all down and say: you are measuring time, we are loving it. And to the very edge of darkness we shall bring the beautiful light.
Love letter # 455
Why do I love you? What is it that makes me put you first? Why, of everyone, is it you – and what drew you to choose me? Do we mirror one another? Validate each other? Have we agreed on a mutual fantasy? Does it matter?
When I look around what I see is a world plagued with viral selfishness; humanity engaged in a short-sighted suicidal spiral of hubris, fear and control. Destroying each other for pride and possessions. For petty gods and gold dust. Little wonder you are my harbour. My village quietly tucked away, out of the line of fire.
Have we built a wall around us? Are we in hiding? Is our love a kind of morphine? When I kiss you, does the pain go away? Shall I let the madness clamour on because in the stillness of the night you will enfold me once more? Are we blind, such that we may love?
When I think of us I see children. We come together in make believe to play the game of belonging. We build forts in the garden with sweet words and fine intentions. We hold the rest of the world at bay with our tender, tenuous faith. We look into each other’s eyes because what we see there is what we most want to. Ourselves as innocent.
Love letter # 351
Suppose I loved you in a way that wasn’t hearts and flowers; that did not accord with the staples of Western romance? Would you still recognise it? What if I never said that I wanted you to be mine, or I yours? If I never ask you to marry me or speak of us as a couple, or refer to you as my girl, will it still feel like love to you?
I only ask because I am wondering if we mistake the trappings and rituals for the thing itself. Do we reduce our love to spectacle? To signs? Indeed, does it make any sense to speak of love without some form of display, without the act of loving? For it may well be that the love unshown is the love unknown. That love is more than a pristine idea.
So, how can we do the love most truly, without the distortions that the fear of breaking so often manifest or the kitsch of chocolates? This, lover, is our challenge. Are you ready?
Love letter # 585
Her wish was futile; but she made it anyway, just to see how it might feel to be near you.
Love letter # 434
I understand that you have been expecting me to get back in touch. Our catch-up last week was such great fun. We got along so well. We connected. Or so it was meant to appear.
For a few minutes – and only for a few – your fawning, ego stroking act was working. It almost looked like you actually liked me. If I only could believe all that unwarranted hyperbole. Those ridiculous compliments. If only I could ignore the obvious signs of fishing – of you flattering me into your fold. Luring me into your influence.
I wonder now exactly what your objective was. Why you thought I might be fit for purpose. Why you believed I would fall for it.
Was it that barely concealed female chauvinism that so routinely passes for progressive liberalism these days? The idea that as a male I would simply not be able to see through you? Ah look, here’s a dumb little man; I’ll just laugh at his stupid jokes and pretend to be impressed by his so called smarts. Maybe I’ll giggle a bit and flutter my eyelashes. Do my simpering girly act. That should do the trick.
I’m only bothering to say this to you because, between the lines of your naked, egregious Machiavellian cynicism, I did indeed see something of great beauty. Or was it great pain? Perhaps even despair? Indeed, it could well be that I am simply reflecting your bruised attitude back at you. Your wariness, forged by wounds. Rather like my radar for manipulation.
I am too old for games. I no longer have the desire to be played or to play others. I am, instead, ready to love. To see and be seen. If you have not already deleted this message, or thrown up your shield, maybe it means that you feel the same. Or may one day wish to.
Love letter # 451
I am sending you this with some reservation; not because I harbour any shame but because I realise that the culture of suspicion we currently live in does not really encourage us to express ourselves in this fashion. Especially one as old as me to one so young as you.
However, I am not writing to gush ridiculous, besotted fantasy or furtive lust but to remark upon something that is truly wonderful about you. In fact, not just you, but your boyfriend also. In short, when I see the two of you together I am filled with a kind of sunshine. There is a palpable beauty in the air between you. Simply to know that such a thing still exists is, for me, cause for a kind of hope.
Now I’m not so nostalgic and rose tinted as to accuse you of being perfect. Surely you two have your troubles and most likely you keep them well out of sight. I imagine also that you and he are prone to same excesses, shortfalls and denials as the rest of us. Yet what a treasure it is to see the light that passes between you and the tenderness that beams in your lovely smiles.
Whatever the future holds for you – either as a couple or individually – please know that the gem you share is not only rare but a thing of both power and grace. You may well lose it at some point – none of us can ever be truly sure about these things – but I believe that simply to once have held it your hand will carry you both forward when times are darker than they are now.
You are indeed the lucky ones and I pray only that you extract every last nuance of joy and understanding from the good fortune to have formed such an obviously beautiful union.