I wonder why I sit here all these nights. Writing to you. There are people I could say these things to. Why don’t I do that? Why do I keep them inside like silly childhood treasures kept under the bed in a shoebox, and then pulled out in the surreptitious midnight, when the house is asleep, and uncovered in the square of moonlight there on the rumpled bedspread, and looked over – each twisted bottlecap and smooth stone, and faded pink ribbon.
And tonight I finished my allotted work and the lights were low and there was music and I went to the kitchen and stared into my teacup. Looking for who knows what. And I found I wasn’t lonely. Alone, perhaps. But that it was alright. At least tonight. Me with my bare feet, wrapped in a blanket, my hair all wonky, and this silent cup of tea.
Because it’s simply this: I can only love big. That’s all this giant magnet heart of mine knows how to do, and in a breathtaking show of wild idiocy, it’s decided that you are what it points to. It’s like some horrible force of nature. And so I do. Love you. In all the ways it is possible to love. Because it seems there is nothing whatever to be done about it. And in spite of the glaring facts that I absolutely should not. In spite of Adelle, who is everything good and beautiful. In spite of Avelyn who is a flying brilliant wonder. In spite of whatever damage it does to myself. And in spite of the fact that it does your pompous ass no good at all. Do you remember what you said to me the last time I told you I loved you? It was that harrowing night I came back. Ready to be the prodigal, to apologize voluminously and to make it all right again. I had driven twelve hours straight with everything I owned shoved into the back of the pickup, all but erupting with the watershed understanding that I had been wrong and that without you the world – with all of its beauty and fascination and inscrutability – would always be something I simply observed. That somehow, without you, I couldn’t touch anything. That night I ran to you; and found you recently married, just returned from your honeymoon. And nobody had wanted to tell me. And I nearly choked on all of it. And could manage only the flimsiest of good humors, and the sickliest congratulations, and the weakest-brewed excuse for my being there that ever was proffered at the doorway of a lost love. And after a torturous hour of visiting, I escaped out your door and ran to my still-loaded car and thought to drive away and never come back. But I had left my keys on the table inside, and I leaned on the car and couldn’t stop the sobbing. Because I couldn’t bear the thought of going back in there. Because I couldn’t bear the thought of anything at all. And then you were there. With the keys of course. And it was this terrible moment where we knew what to do. Where we had the answer to all of this awfulness, but couldn’t use it. And we stood there, separated by the hood of the car and by everything we had done. And you started to talk, in that tone that begs me not to hate you because whatever it was you did was the only thing that could have been done, and I couldn’t listen. So I turned around and slid to the ground, sitting there leaning against the wheel, my legs straight out, touching the pickets of the fence that separated your house – yours and Adelle’s – from the James’s. And you came around and slumped beside me. And you sighed. And we both stared at the fence. And then I laughed. I couldn’t help it. It was too ridiculous, and you laughed too, and it was good. And when we stopped, the hurt was still there. And I said it. ‘I love you, Simon.’ ‘I know,’ you said. Arrogant fool, and undeserving. ‘I know.’ Just that. In that voice you have when you say something that you don’t want to admit. Staring straight ahead of you at the pickets with the peeling paint. Which is when I snatched the keys from your hand and got up and drove away. With every intention of never seeing you again.
But I can only love big. And you’re the only one I’ve ever met who is big enough to merit that kind of love. To contain it.
So there it is. This love, you-directed, inside of me, spinning in there like a top, quietly and perpetually in motion, regardless of the fact that I’m washing up, or grading papers, or bundling up for a walk to the mailbox, or trying to spin this blank page into an idea.
And so I don’t know if that is an answer or not. To why I keep these things, hoarded like a miser, to tell you here. in this journal you’ll never read. Maybe it’s simply for that silent spinning thing inside. My one small kindness to that warm, ensouling movement.