Wednesday, April 18, 2007

To Catherine Four. Lapping Lazily.


Your letter caught me off guard- surprised me rather seriously in the midst of an already shattering Saturday. You had escaped my thoughts briefly, for a few dark and dreary days spent in silence. There is a sharp chill in the air- an unlikely April. I keep waiting for the warmth with which I was teased only a mere few weeks ago yet each morning I step outside and it feels like late October.

I plucked your letter from the rusted innards of my mailbox and it slid out slowly, scraping the sides as it escaped. It was a second thought. I wasn't even going to check it, for fear of bills, a seething letter from Anna (whom I wrote while a bit too drunk the other evening), a letter from Miguel, my brother, who I think is also unhappy with me. I fall to harshly into things and I cannot fish myself out. You tell me that you are not sure I can love instantly, without contemplation. But, I have always been told that that very thing is amongst my most glaring flaws. I fall in love with everyone, with every glinting, glowing set of eyes, with each swoosh of hair behind a girl's face, with each click-clank of heeled shoes on the street. I always confuse myself because I know, somewhere, that it is not the people I love, it is only the fact of them. I love the sounds of the body as I love the sounds of the sky. Only the sky can bear to be loved as equally as the trees and the sun; the sky doesn't mind.

I am being silly? Maybe it is not the sounds of the city, (the sounds of each individual which make up the world) that I love. Perhaps it is just the fact that I can express it. Maybe what I love is only to be able to feel love and once I must prove it, once I must make something outside of words- that is when I lose control, lose balance. I have never been satisfied by a single love. It is always that deep intensity, the beginning of something, the falling back into an old thing, which captures me and penetrates my skin. I breath in the air of renewal and I exhale all the things I used to know.

You tell me you know nothing of my life, my loves, my habits. Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all; What hast thou then more than thou hadst before? I've told you of Anna, have I not? I've told you briefly, I suppose, of our marriage and of the way it disintegrated beneath the weight of time, beneath the build up of the past which I could not look away from. She wanted to grow, to grow something inside of her. And I scoffed at her. I told her silly things, stupid things. I warned her of her child's gaze, that those innocent eyes would not see her, would not even look for her. I told her cruelly and detachedly that long after her death her child too will lie dying. I asked her, "Do you think that she, like I, will cry out your name?" Yes, she may whisper "mother" but she will not be calling to Anna but only to the soft, steadily beating warmth she felt once, nestled against her mother's breast, to the gift of life she was given but could not be given again.

And Anna stood back in shocked horror, balked at the sudden shutting of a book, the book of our life together. I did not want a child. I only want to make what I believe in. I have no desire for responsibility. And so I shut her out with cruel intentions and with a cold hand. I slipped into another woman, into Claudia, who already had a child, a husband. It wasn't serious, at least not to me. I taught her a few things though. She left a loveless marriage and is now strong and living on her own. I pushed her away as well. But, that's a story for another day.

My love, you are young. But your wisdom outweighs your years. You are hesitant because you saw in my eyes all of the loss I have put myself purposely through. You heard in my voice the hesitation, the careful careening around any actual declarations. I did not want to make premature admissions. I did not want to scare you. I did not want to say something that I wasn't entirely certain of. It is in these letters, though, that I truly know you. I can say so much more in the safety of my own mind. The statements are more genuine because they are not clouded by the beauty of your eyes or the beauty of the sky. And your words are full and idealistic, young and fresh and yet they still resonate with an understanding of sorrow and pain.

You wonder if you had mistook some understanding beyond words, "a perfect silent stillness" for love? I say that they are one and the same. Without love there is no understanding at all. Perhaps, then, on the beach, beneath the beauty of the world around us and the sky above us,the ocean outstretched at our feet (lapping lazily as we slept) perhaps it was easy to find love because it was everywhere around us, right within our reach. But, now, far away in different cities and weighed down by ritual and routine, we are still seeking out that thing we found once, not so long ago, on an accidental evening. And maybe, just maybe, that is love.

Yours in words and waiting,


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