I think that love letters are meant to be snapshots. Maybe all letters are this way, but particularly love letters. I can’t even fall asleep without waking up different.
When I first left, I wrote out a couple pages to you. I remember the moment, the feeling; I drank too much coffee on purpose and tried to find the nicest words I knew. It felt good. It still feels good. But I couldn’t finish it.
Two weeks later, dissatisfied with my failure to make good on my promise of a letter, I made an addition. This one was filled with reflection, all about how everything was a little bit different in good ways but the same in better ones. It wanted to speak about growth and strength, and thoughts in the dark and occasional lonelinesses that burned for you but kept quiet confidence. It was a monument, and I poured myself into it. It wasn’t enough. The time between setting down the pen and picking it up again made a chasm between me and myself and just whatever it was that I had wanted to say. I wrote that letter three, four, five more times. Sometimes sober, sometimes drunk, premeditated and carefully, sometimes not.
It reached a critical mass, became so heavy I couldn’t pick it up anymore. Reading it gave the impression of gazing at a cubist painting, or at more self-critical moments a Frankenstein’s monster. I wanted to send it to you, but it would have burst any envelope at the seams. It was too much, all at once, but it became that way because it was also never enough. How the hell had I managed to make a simple task so impossible? Each new addition earnestly sought to clarify the last, but any simplification transformed, became paradoxically manifold, a hydra of warm feelings and mush.
I can’t even fall asleep without waking up different. Thank god you’re so patient. I’m not.
I’d sit chain-smoking in my windowless apartment kitchen, re-reading my words and finding it all not quite right. My relentless drive to excise every imperfect expression was well complemented by the room’s linoleum and sterile white.
I think that love letters are meant to be snapshots, but I can’t sit still long enough for a picture. I wonder how people in the past sat still for pictures so long. I wonder how they wrote such perfect, complete letters and felt such perfect, complete feelings. I think they were all liars. I can’t even fall asleep without waking up different.
I’ve talked about this so many times before, both to you and to others. I’m always using the word dynamic. When I want someone to know I love them I say “I’m someone different with you”. I am not sure why. It’s not like I don’t know who I am. I’m comfortable with myself, I feel safe and secure. It’s a rare privilege to love who you are. I’m thankful. Maybe that security is why it feels so comfortable to slip in and out of spaces changed. Sometimes it feels so powerful, like at every node of space-time I’m just a little bit reconstructed, my orientation to all the other points — were it to be collected into some string of data, some picture of self and situation — presents something slightly unlike any other possibility. I feel that I am these arrangements, a collated body. It’s beautiful.
And this is how I love you.
Our collection of points wrap around each other, ricochet and bind together again, held in tension. And we bloom. We burn and move and change and bloom. Our orbits are sometimes close, sometimes loose and free-wheeling, but they are always in action. I can feel your lunar pull as I move through this succession of tides and I can see that in how I breathe and speak and feel.
I love that we don’t have a name for what we are. We’ve never felt bothered to have one. Names are approximations. Names are snapshots. Love letters are meant to be snapshots, but I can’t even fall asleep without waking up different.