18th July. 11.39pm
I just wrote you a letter but it got lost before I could even save it. When I realized it was gone, I dropped my head in despair: and that confused me. It’s not like you’re reading these, it’s not like you’re carefully savouring every word, trying to understand me, trying to get inside my head, caring enough to want to still figure me out. But writing them – I feel connected. I feel as if I’m talking to you, as if you’re listening, somewhere, far away – sitting in your London flat you get a flash of insight, a shiver of emotion, a realization that I’m straining to make you listen, to make you feel the confusion and loneliness I’m feeling.
Ironic; you’d probably laugh at that statement, saying you feel it ten times more. And it’d probably be true, because I don’t think I can feel as much as you. I don’t think I can feel as much as normal people: I retreat into myself instead.
That, actually, was the subject of the last letter. Well – one of the subjects. It started off wondering whether I was going to wish you luck on Monday night. What a question, right? I desperately want too: but will it be violating the terms of the treaty? Will it just be a crude, cruel parody of our relationship, when I make up for the missed exam-date last time, by remembering it this time, in this parallel universe where there’s so many barriers between us? Will it make a mockery of everything I said, of how I expressly forbade contract, saying I wanted none, and which you turned into a forever none?
At this point: I’m not sure why I did that. I miss you with an emptiness that courses through me, that starts in my stomach and travels outwards, upwards, downwards – taking over me, stripping me of any kind of positive feeling. All I’m left with is hollow emptiness, and an urge –an almost uncontrollable urge – to talk to you, and to want to talk to you with that ecstatic joy, that overflowing delight, that genuine laughter – that I once felt.
When is once? I don’t even know any more. It feels like I’ve been in this state of emptiness for far too long: always a different kind of negativity, a different lack of emotion with a slight wash of the slightest discernible feeling coloring the contours of the void: anger, resentment, arrogance, self-pity – rage. Rage is one which flooded deep – a burning, seething rage rising up to be directed towards you at different points from sixteen to twenty-one. Rising up and choking me, driving me to a searing madness I’d purge by searing a compass through my arms, dulling the pain and biting back replies. Often, I remember only the rage – because I didn’t share it enough, because I sat back quietly for a year, because I allowed you to blackmail me with the past, because I expelled my anger onto myself, self-destructing through cuts and crying.
But now – missing you. Being unable to tell you I’m thinking of you, and I hope your exam goes great, and I hope you are great. Being unable to ask how you’re feeling about Venice, being unable to share in your excitement, nervousness, experience. Being unable to come and visit you –
Why did I do this? Why did I ban myself from being able to come visit you? Because of the frustration I felt every-time we spoke. I genuinely didn’t think it would be like that. I wish you could have given me space. It’s funny, my fingers are automatically hesitating, lingering over the keys before I type, my breath a sudden intake: as if saying these words is sacrilege, as if I’m uttering the inviolable, as if you’re listening to me and clenching in sudden emotion and anger.
But you’re not: and I can say it, clearly, openly, without fear of hurting you, of making you feel un-important – diminished. I never wanted to make you feel like that. All I wanted was for you to be more assertive, confident, able to perceive and accept what happened, and stride through it easily, without radiating reproach at every turn, and making me the killer. I didn’t want you to play the victim – ever. It tore me beyond belief, and I couldn’t deal with that: so I would turn and inflict more pain where I could. I wanted space, time, the ability to think for myself, be myself: wanted both of us to survive alone, learn to live alone, but without the extremity of now – I wanted us to be in a state of mutual peace, where we gave each other all the space in the world, but would appear in the blink of an eye if something serious went on. And serious doesn’t mean talking about my future, or applying for jobs – that’s our daily life now. And I’d like to be able to think I can do it on my own without having to tell you every word: yet, I did, sometimes, just to gain a bit of reassurance, just to maintain some kind of contact. Every time I did, I was disappointed with myself, realizing I had wanted more space than that, more time than that to heal, to prop myself up by myself. I just wanted to throw my blackberry out the window, watch it soar through the air, trying desperately to prop itself up – till the weight of the emotion contained in its messages pulled it straight down – and it crashed.
I wanted space, time – and then to come visit you in Venice. Just a feeling of knowing we can both live our own lives, learn from our own lives, be our own people, learn from other people – and then be together at the end of the stretch. As best friends, as people who love each other enough to understand that time doesn’t change anything. We would talk, laugh, hug – be together at the end of the stretch. Just happy.
It could never be like that, could it? Not while we want such different things.
At least you know what you want. I fluctuate between feelings of resentment at the four years I spent falling in and out of your arms, falling wildly into the arms of another to desperately escape your reproach that was inevitable, that was already becoming unbearable, that I could sense before it came because I sensed my emotions changing – myself changing. I wanted to explore, learn, be everywhere at once: I grew dissatisfied, amazed even, at the thought of one single love, forever, in a world where there’s so much to see, so much to learn. I started breaking out of my mental confines, wanting greater things in all aspects of life. That doesn’t mean I wanted someone greater than you – although I did try to find one, briefly, again and again – just that I wanted to deny myself nothing. Wanted to be able to have everything, experience everything – wanted to live, freely and amazingly – and yet, wanted to share it with you as my best friend, as my one-day-in-the-future lover, as the one I’d call and delightedly share the most outrageous adventures with because we wanted to let each other be free and live.
The same thing happened in college, didn’t it? And I wanted nothing more than for you to be able to have the same thing: wanted you to go experience everything. The thought of you falling into bed with another girl had a strange effect on me: my first reaction would always be a blank emptiness. Then intrigue would start to wash in. An odd sense of delight almost: wanting to know details, wondering whether it was good, wondering whether it was better than me – wondering whether my last conquest had been easier, or yours. I’d laugh out loud at us being able to share these facts, these intimate details of time spent with someone else, this describing of another girls’ sensuality and need: human nature, which I relished in hearing about, watching through you. I was a voyeur, wanting you to do more and more, greater and greater, to prove you had the same hedonistic impulses I did, to prove that you seized them and fulfilled them, while I alternated between suppression and sudden fleeting bouts of giving in, wary at first, and then increasingly confident – knowing, at the end of the day, that I couldn’t possibly regret a life of experiments and chances.
At the end of the day, I knew we could be together. And so I watched, hoping, wishing for you to do more: resenting you when you didn’t, when you crashed down to the level of the humans, asking me whether it ‘bugged’ me. Such crude facts of human nature; how can it be anything but gleeful satisfaction to know the one I chose has been chosen by so many others? How can it be anything less than passionate observation, laughing at the ones who thought they were claiming a piece of you when you were all mine in the end – laughing at them because you were so good at tricking them. We could have laughed together at the poor souls who crossed our paths, thinking they’d settle there for good – when we both would know that we were just carving paths to become part of our colorful pasts – our future would always be just us, together.
And when I gave in to my own impulses: the fleeting sense of guilt I’d feel always tarnished it. The thought of having to come back and tell you cast a dark stain over the night. I felt wrong, faltering – that terrible word – trashy. I knew you couldn’t see it the way I did; you wouldn’t see the beauty, or the exhilaration, or the experience: you’d see the drunken flirting, the fumbling, the prostitution. And you’d be disgusted, revulsion coursing through you as the images filled your head. You wouldn’t take a sensualist’s pleasure in knowing these bright nights were to be locked away in the memory of experience, flashing up occasionally over the years to inspire a cry of delighted laughter. You wouldn’t be able to fathom the thought of pure, unadulterated bliss, occurring briefly in your absence. You wouldn’t count the experience as a build-up, just waiting for you to return, so we could fall back, laughing, into each other’s arms, on the bed.
For you, it was cheating.
For me, it was life.
I thought we both deserved to experience it. But you made it so difficult.