I’m a writer, this should be easy. It isn’t.
Twitter is easy. Twitter is a form of cowardice: it releases you from having to commit to elaboration or the receipt of response. Saying it to an audience as opposed to an individual simultaneously cheapens and intensifies a statement. It does this by robbing it of intimacy and adding a jury to a matter that doesn’t pertain to them and about which they have very limited knowledge.
There is courage in self-exposure, yes. But not when it comes at the expense of the courage it takes to be honest with someone and allow him the option to express himself.
So instead, a letter.
Last night when you messaged me, I had an idea of what our last meeting would be: a conclusion. I had questions to which I didn’t really need answers. I knew that to see you would be to pick at a wound that had just begun to scab and invite the rush of blood anew. But I had certainty and I had resolve.
Fact: We’re fundamentally irreconcilable. We’re damaged. We’re self-destructive. We’re simultaneously altruistic and inhumanly selfish. Uncertainty is my fuel and it is your strychnine. You’ve built a mechanism that neutralizes emotion; you don’t want to be emotionally entangled. I have no mechanisms to control mine; I don’t love like a hearth, I love like a wildfire. I don’t know how to measure the absoluteness of devotion. The beloved becomes a part of me and my selfishness becomes its servant at the expense of self. Thus, love poses a great risk to everything I am.
You said we were destructive to one another. I think we’re destructive to ourselves. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter – we both break.
I know all this. I knew all this last night when I told you to come. But I had my certainty: that the configuration of you and me is impossible. That I have a titanium resolve and when I say something must end, I end it.
So you came and I asked none of the questions I had – questions so inconsequential, I no longer recall what they were. Instead of answering questions, you told me things, and I drowned in the contradictions. You accused me of oversimplification and attempting to analyze that which could not be analyzed. Yes. I did and I do. For all my talk of uncertainty as fuel, on a deeper level, I need my order. You don’t have the monopoly on contradiction.
I lost my titanium resolve last night. My certainty flickers: I know we’re impossible. But when I hold you, it doesn’t matter what is or isn’t possible. The only thing that matters is that I’m holding you. I don’t love you in spite of your flaws, or under the delusion that these will not destroy me because I’m exempt. I’m not exempt. Our defenses are greater than our faith.
In you I’ve found the closeness I have always sought, the closeness I fear more than anything in this life. You’re both my safe harbor and my storm.
So be it – I love you. Everything I am is yours. Everything I want is you.
Jose Ortega y Gasset once wrote that love was a phenomenon of attention. I can make myself unavailable, I can prescribe myself people, events, solitude, focus, travel, standstill, fasting, abstinence, hedonistic binges, silence or the cannonades of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture – but none of these things make me any less yours. They simply fill my time.
So what then? You told me you would message me later and I shook my head. The right thing to do is to condition ourselves to a life without one another. Love is a wound that never heals, but the human animal can be conditioned to function without it. To do this, we must starve ourselves of the other.
Retreat is a shame no true lover could endure. I don’t want to starve myself of you.
I’m unarmed and aware that this is my undoing.
Take my hand.