Dear ______,

I know that little about me makes sense to you. I know, too, that in this script I am supposed to shrug despondently and tell you that little about me makes sense to me, and I understand your confusion. I am supposed to say that. That is my next line. I am supposed to deliver it with a weary care, a note of  sadness.

It isn’t true and I’m so very tired of lying.

There is a pathology to my emotions, a precise science to my highs and lows, my wild swings from a place you know how to find and that wild country beyond. I have studied me my entire life, I have gone beyond my doctorate, I am an expert in my field. I know how to repair myself, and I can map out the more important place, the area that shows you how not to break me.

When we met I thought about writing you a technical guide to the thing that I am, but I know that things like that are in the category of reasons that I never win. It would make perfect sense and someone else could know me, too, I could have a colleague in this, my life’s unwilling work, but to give you the book implies a belief that you want to know. I am far too frightened a field to ever suggest such a thing, even when I believe it may be true.

This is one of the most important things that you do not know, this fear that leaves me wild-eyed and breathless behind whatever I am pretending to be. I am afraid of all the things you think I might be afraid of, but I am afraid of so much more.

 I am afraid that you will not like what you learn, that will find behind the skin of me a blood unbearable, a thing that is so many things you never needed to know. This I suspect you know, and know you suspect.

 I am afraid that this machine that I am was manufactured to live landlocked with love. I am afraid. I am afraid.

But I am also afraid that I will not want you studying me. I will not want you wanting to know all that I know, all the ways the tiny wires connecting the meat of me make me the things that I am and will be. This is where my science becomes as cruel as science tends to be, and makes the scientist mute. I can’t tell you that I fear I am only saying your name in reverent tones and while sweating because I need to say something, I need to know someone else’s name and believe that they know mine, and you are here. You are here.

I am afraid that I am always right when I am afraid, and I am afraid that this tested result is consistent.

 I am afraid that you will never ask what I haven’t told you yet, and it isn’t simply fear that makes me know that if you don’t I never will. I could tell you all the ways I work, all the things that leave me on the ground two steps too close to the edge and unable to work my way back. I am afraid that you are just another you, and not something different entirely. I am afraid that I know all of you now, and there is nothing new to learn, I am afraid that you are only what you are and not any of the things I think you could be.

I am afraid. I am afraid. I am afraid. I am accustomed.

I start counting, because counting is enough sometimes to make the time pass and to get past this. I count my feet because there are two and two is an even number, but once I count my feet I have to count my body all the way through. I count my fingers and there are ten and that is even and I count my toes and there are ten and that is even, and things are looking good so far. I have two legs and two arms and two hands and two feet and two breasts and two eyes and two lips, scratch that and make it four which is still fine and even and right, but now things are complicated. I have one nose and one mouth and one cunt, I have one face and one torso and one ass and one clit and you used to put your one tongue on it and then press your one tongue against my one tongue, filling my one mouth with the taste of my one cunt and then that was okay, no matter how many ones we put in we were always two and that was even and so it was fine. Now I’ve lost count and my two eyes are crying what I’m sure is an odd number of tears and I’m pressing them closed using four of my ten fingers and even that reminds me of your fingers pressing into me and I am lost here and stuck here because an elevator doesn’t just let you off whenever you want it to, you have to wait for the two doors to open and sometimes you have to wait for an odd number of people to get off in front of you so you can break free and run, run, run.

The two doors open and I am still one on this elevator when they do, and this is a time when one is better than two, as impossible as that sounds, and I don’t run, run, run even though I want to, even though I want to just bolt through this lobby and past the guards and down the escalator through groups of misters and misses and suits and ties and I want to burst through their days and break through the doors, I want to scream as I do it and I want them to hear me but I want you to hear me even more, and I don’t do it. I don’t run. I don’t make a noise. I walk calmly to the doors, I ignore the revolving ones because what a nightmare of possible numbers that is, and I get outside through the much more maneuverable traditional doors and I breathe deep in the rain soaked air and I light a cigarette and I take one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten steps to a spot that is not too close to anyone else and I stand.

I pick up the phone that lives in my head and I call you. I have so many things I want to say to you, but today I start with:

“Do you remember getting kicked out of that cheesy bar in Pioneer Square? The one with the faux western theme and all the frat types mixing with the forty somethings, all hoping for a chance to fuck the girls dancing on the bar or at least one of the drunk misguided stereotypes writhing in a solid mass to top forty pop hits? That was one of the best nights of my life with you.”

I take your silence as encouragement. I continue my story, our story, because maybe you don’t remember, and sure, that’s almost too awful to consider, but it’s something to say other than “I miss you so much I feel like I’m fucking falling all the time now” or “I love you and you loved me and how can one little letter make such a huge difference in my life”.

“We went there hoping for trouble but not looking for it. We went there like we went so many places, wanting not necessarily violence but it’s potential. We got our hands stamped and forced our way up to the bar, not caring how many future bankers or car salesmen we trampled and shoved past. Once there, we eyed the dancer on the bar and ordered two shots and two beers. It was like we were in a movie, we just ordered beers and waited to see what they brought. We already knew it didn’t matter. The dancer came over to you and started her obligatory mating ritual, practically rubbing her scantily clad vagina across the top of your head as she gyrated. This was our chance and I took it. I got angry. I got wild eyed. I pounded the bar and I started to shout. I demanded equality. “Get over here and rub your vagina on my head this instant, young lady! What’s wrong, don’t you believe in equality? Is this bar anti-gay, or is it just you? Do you people discriminate against women? What the fuck is wrong with you, you bigot!” I built to a frenzy and began rhythmically pounding, chanting. You joined in. “Equality. Equality. Equality. Equality.” Predictably, a bouncer laid his hand on your arm, because obviously you had to be the source of the trouble. Just another drunken pile of raging hormones gone mad in the face of tits and ass all packaged and displayed neatly. He grabbed your arm and I caught your eye. As soon as I made contact, you nodded and we were off. I grabbed my beer, never knowing what they’d served me, and threw the drink in his beefy face. In the moment of shock that followed, I made a run for it, screaming “REMEMBER THE ALAMO” as I ran. I never looked back for you, I knew this time you were our lamb to the slaughter of a bad idea and a good time. I ran in circles around the dance floor crowded with people we knew we didn’t want to be or know. I ran and I ran, only deviating from my circle when I absolutely had to. I made the situation into a scene out of Looney Tunes, the bouncers playing Wile E. Coyote to my Road Runner. I wasn’t trying to escape, I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. I just wanted to keep going as long as possible. They were closing in on me and I knew it, but I just kept running, limbs flailing wildly, jumping over people where necessary. When they finally grabbed me near the women’s bathroom, I knew I had a choice. Would I go quietly into this good night? Fuck I would. I’m only five foot two, but I thrashed and kicked wildly as they carried me out. I’d never been physically removed from anywhere before, and it fulfilled all of my expectations. They carried me out and tossed me on the sidewalk. I was sober but I still felt no pain as I picked myself up and went looking for you. They were as dumb as they looked, shouting “Where’s the other one?” as they rushed back inside to find you, forgetting that they’d already deposited you safely outside the other entrance, quietly and with no fuss. No nonsense for you, not that night.”

You still haven’t said anything, and I’m hoping that’s because you’re remembering us that night, our manic glee as we created a cartoon scene all over their meat market, the way we were always a team this way. I’m hoping that you are remembering us and that this might be the thing that reminds you to be in love with me. I press on just in case things are this way.

“Every time one of us ended up bruised we fucked like we believed in forever, usually wherever we stood. That night we ran laughing, holding hands a half block before we saw the fence surrounding a parking garage and knew without exchanging a word that we had to climb it and it had to be a contest. Most of our contests were like this. There was no prize and there were no rules, there was just this thing we had to do and losing was almost as good as winning if you did it with enough enthusiasm and style. This was that. We said nothing, we just ran and started the climb. You were fast, you were always so fast. Contests involving speed usually belonged to you, unless you tripped, unless you fell, unless you decided to let me win. Tonight was usually, and you hit the top a full minute or more before I did. You got to the top, and you stood laughing and stripping your shirt off as I continued to climb. Losing is never an excuse for giving up, we told each other every time. You, half naked and full of joy, standing there watching me made me climb faster than I thought I could. If you’d been at the top all along like this, I’d have won, hands down. I could beat anyone to get to you this way. You grabbed for my hand to pull me up but I shook you off, wanting to do this myself. I crawled over the final rung with the lack of grace that was my trademark, and as soon as I was up you were on me. I stood up and you shoved me back down on the cold concrete, a rough shove that had my scabbed elbows taking more damage. You straddled me in my shock, and it took a moment for me to respond. It took all my strength but I shoved you off of me and stood again, watching you on the ground. I gave you my hand and pulled you back to your feet. As soon as you stood in front of me I knocked you back down. There was a crack and I knew it was your head against the cement and we were even then, while we were being odd, and we were just starting. It wasn’t always like this with us, but oh, when it was. I was on top now, and you slapped wildly at my hands when I reached for your zipper. You fought like you meant it, and I loved you then like a fucking housefire, I wanted to consume you that way, to leave you burnt and ruined, to turn you into something no one else could ever experience. A hard left to my jaw broke me out of needing to be the last person you ever knew, and I was on the ground again. Do you remember us that way? Do you remember that I couldn’t stop smiling at you that way, with my teeth loose which was okay because if they were loose they were still there, they were still in my mouth like I wanted you to be in my mouth, you and my loose teeth jammed in together behind my red red smile. I was on the ground with that smile, and you were on me again, kissing that red smile, and it hurt, but I wanted you more than I wanted the pain of it to stop, and this time you didn’t fight me when I reached for you.”

**A note: The person who sent this included a url to a blog. I’m not posting it right now, as I’m not certain that they wanted it included. So, if you’re out there reading this, author, let me know and I’ll happily add it.**

 

i’m
thinking of you again. 
how stupid. 
almost a year and you still have this hold on my heart
my mind, 
my soul 
my BEING
it’s late
i’m high on cocaine, thinking of when we used to share that and then make love
knowing that now
all i have is pornography and your fading memory to satisfy me
i hope that you are happy.
no, i really hope that you are miserable but i know that part of the healing process is letting go 
but i’m not ready to do that yet.
i still love you- i’ll always love you
i hope that you find what you need
and
i’ll still
be here

loving you

— 

I lay in bed at night sometimes, and masturbate to pictures of your mother. I’ll never tell you this, but it’s the only time I feel close to you. 

You’ve told me so much about her, and I wish I’d known her. It seems like there is little about you that wasn’t shaped in some way by her, and I feel certain that if I’d spent even a little time sitting across a table from her, clutching my coffee cup with damp palms while I struggled to impress her, I could understand you. We could communicate if I’d had any chance to learn your language from it’s originator. I don’t kid myself, I don’t have little fantasies in which she adores me, and we become best friends, she tells me I’m the daughter she never had. I know that there is a not insignificant chance that she would have despised me, and possibly I her. But while we hated each other, while we were busy poking pencils into one another’s open wounds, we would have been hurling all our insults in your lexicon. The language that allowed you to be a person I do not understand, and cannot hope to. 

She was long gone by the time we met. Do you know, I remember the story of her passing more vividly than I can recall the story of our meeting? Actual, experienced history pales set beside your technicolor reminisences. You talk so often about her death, it almost seems she never had a life, but I know she must have. You are the proof that she was here, her graffiti signature on the wall of this town. Every time you touch me, she’s saying to the world we’ve chosen to create, I was here. I existed. I am the reason you can fuck with wild abandon, the only way you can fight is through my having been and done. When you slide into me, when you pin me to the bed, when you pound yourself into me with such force I can’t help but scream and want to cry, all I can picture, really, is you sliding out of her. That night we had sex and it turned out I was on my period? My blood on our sheets only made me think of you, covered in blood, leaving her for the first time. Sometimes you moan my name in bed, and as your weight collapses onto me, all I can really think is that she gave you that voice and the ability to crush me this way. 

You came home the other night with orchids. Were they her favorite was what I wanted to say when I said thank you. Did she teach you this? Did she tell you that the way to fix what you’ve broken with a woman is with flowers? I smiled and put them in a vase, you were forgiven, and thanked, but I wanted to thank her. 

There is so much I know about you, but I can’t help but think that the only person I really know anything about is your mother. 

When we met, you told me she was gone. You tossed it off so casually, as though it hardly mattered. “My mother died when I was a teenager.” In that moment, at that time, I believed in the tone of your voice. I believed that it wouldn’t matter, that it would always be this way, a small facet of your history, hovering behind what you’ve done and become, but never overpowering you. Your offhand manner was a tiny bible for me, then. 

There isn’t enough paper in the world to write the list of things I believed when I was young, that have turned out not to be true. I was, without ever knowing it, a creature composed almost entirely of blind hope and simple faith. I was never going to be happier, I was never to know peace like that again. 

But holding your hand in that park, as we headed to the restaurant, (was it her idea? Did she love Italian food and red checkered tablecloths, the simulated authenticity a candle and an accent provided? Was she there with us even that first day?) all I was thinking about was your laugh. You laughed more easily than any person I’d ever known, and although it was a strange laugh for a man, high pitched, almost a giggle, it made me feel instantly comfortable with you. To say I was at ease is a stretch, but I was as close to it as I ever get. 

I don’t remember much about our early days. I actively try not to, honestly. Memories of being happy with you, of thinking that you were happy with me, of fooling myself into believing I knew you in a way I’d never known anyone, are a hot knife in my side. I’ve learned there is no pain like the pain of faith lost, of foolishness exposed. The heart’s stupidity renders any failure of the brain to function properly a cartoon representation of idiocy. 

I know that there was a time that I thought of you as a person, and not as a result of her life choices. I know that, intellectually. But I try to forget being wrong in such a horribly embarassing way. I don’t want to know that there was ever a time that I looked at you and saw anything other than her eyes looking at the world she knew. 

When we stood at the altar that day, white dressed, tuxedoed containers for ideas not ours, what did you see? What were you thinking when she looked at me? What went through your mind as she used your lips to kiss me, and whispered “I do” in a voice so hoarse and small it frightened me almost enough to break free and run? Was I a collection of attributes she’d taught you to admire? High cheekbones, childbearing hips, intelligent and warm? Was I your lover then, your partner, or the closest thing you could find to what she wanted you to do with your life? When you asked me to be her bride, how did you know she would approve? Or did she? I suppose it’s possible that I was a rebellion, a revolt you were leading against the government of your life, and that’s how we find ourselves here. You can’t fight the inevitable, and if there is anything more inevitable than a mother, I don’t know what it could be. 

Every day I ask myself a never ending stream of questions about our lives, her lives. I know she owns us, I know that she has, one way or another, decided everything for us. Every tiny puppet thing we have done or said to one another, she has held the strings and moved her fingers quickly to control. 

It is those fingers, slim, nails bitten to the quick, that I picture at night. When my own fingers move over my breasts and slowly lower, it is her firm touch I’m longing for. She had so much to teach me about you, there is so much she could have told me that I will never know.