murakami, a letter never to be sent, poetry

“Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star.
It’s dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago.
Maybe the star doesn’t even exist any more. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.”
Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun


March 29, 2017

Dearest G,

It is 2:17 AM and I can barely see my keyboard in the dark of my little brother’s room. I couldn’t sleep. It was like this yesterday, in spite of the peace I thought I had already made with you and myself.

I miss you. I had to delete your number again and this time, there is no longer any evidence of it, of you, left lurking in my phone somewhere and so I know that I won’t be texting you something impulsive, silly, and selfish. But I also know that as much as feelings should not be acted on so rashly, they should still be honored. There will probably be more of these letters, at different dates, and at different times of the day. There is no schedule to longing—that I know.

It’s only been two days, and perhaps that’s why the missing feels like a longing that has becoming a yearning which is more like a hunger for you. I miss the right side of your face and your hand that would creep into mine and rub it every now and then—plus your jokes and random bursts into song. Plus that devilish grin when you threaten me with a face that’s a second away from gross baby talking. Many things, G. You things.

I’m revisiting what I told you, about both of us deserving a love that is natural, unspoken but understood, tender, giving, and forgiving. We both still deserve it and we always will. Maybe what I’ll be saying next is a product of the Morticia-Gomez Addams hunger that I feel (don’t construe this as simply lust), but I do feel that way about you, still. I know that it isn’t love yet, but giving to you—giving that begets love—feels so natural to me. There are certain things you make me want to do that I never thought I liked doing—preparing a meal with meticulous detail, holding someone in front of others, even during the day, making up nicknames (funny man, sick man, my sweet baboo), waiting (yes, waiting).

In the brief time we were together, I discovered a part of me I never knew I was capable of becoming and liking. And maybe I’m wrong in this, because missing people has a way of making them magical in your mind, but you just fit into my life so well, and it will be very hard to unlearn you. Remember when I told you to look up what fleshy Casper said to Cristina Ricci before he turned back into a ghost? Well, he said: “Can I keep you?”

That question will always come in the form of an anecdote. It will never be asked directly; in spite of my affections for you, I don’t want to be selfish to you and treat myself pathetically either. Because there’s the rub: I can’t keep you, no matter how great my desire is because I don’t make you feel the same way.

You asked me if I felt something when we met. I still feel it, even if you admitted that perhaps that spark, that you-just-know-it feeling was born only from the fact of our situation being most peculiar. That stung, but that was validation. I am unnatural to you, uncomfortable, fearsome, burdensome. And as much as I long for you, I know that because of this, I can’t keep you. There is still a lot you have to figure out. You said it yourself—you aren’t sure if it’s because of your walls or if it’s me. I would like to think that it’s your walls but I realize it’s such a selfish desire. It will pain me less to infer that you simply aren’t ready for a relationship, rather than face the possible truth that I am just not the person you choose. Somehow I think it’s more of the latter because I know not of a love that doesn’t rid a person of his/her walls. So me thinking that I should love myself enough to know that I deserve a person who is more certain, is, in truth, a silly and selfish way for me to convince myself from the pain of not being wanted by you.

And it is very painful—the last time it singed this way was 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve shut myself from truly being vulnerable to someone else, until you.

Before you came over last Friday, I watched Beauty and the Beast with a couple of my friends. I didn’t like it so much despite the hype all around me. If not for Beast’s transformation scene, I think watching Power Rangers might have been a better idea. There was a part though where I cried—what a sap! Funnily enough, I understood Beast. This was the part of the story where he had to let go of Belle so that she could rescue her father. The live-action included a new song sung by Beast, entitled “Evermore.” The song actually, painfully, told me what I had to do. And I did it a few hours later.

“Now I know she’ll never leave me, even as she runs away.
She will still torment me, calm me, hurt me, move me, come what may.
Wasting in my lonely tower, waiting by an open door.
I’ll fool myself, she’ll walk right in…
… And as the long, long nights begin,
I’ll think of all that might have been, waiting here for evermore”

Please don’t think that just because Beast’s feelings resonated with mine, that you’re Beauty, by the way. Hahaha. I don’t think though that I’ll wait for evermore because I have faith that love of that kind will somehow find its way to me. I have a hunch though, that much like that singe 15 years ago, it will take a while with you. Fifteen years ago, I was a teenager who threw herself at everything and everyone. Looking back, those feelings seem juvenile and baseless, but now that I think of him as an adult, I’m rubbing an imaginary scar somewhere in my arm. I survived it and healed from it, but there was a wound, long ago, one that always sought to be healed by others who kept following and following and following, yet festered even more.

I’m sure though, that this time around, it won’t take as long, especially since my life is in a better, refreshingly wonderful place. I’m also sure that there won’t be others who will follow and follow and follow, but I am very certain of a new wound that needs to find healing.

Again, for the second of many times, I miss you. As you have stretched my heart to a vastness I never knew possible in me, so have you allowed it to miss someone as much. I miss you, vastly. I miss you so tremendously that even if you baby-talked, I wouldn’t leave you. I miss you, G. I wish I could keep you, but I know better than that, for my sake, for yours. Still, there is a wound that now needs to be healed. I don’t regret this wound and the vulnerability that risked being wounded, even if it had to end this way. There is a purpose to pain—my friends eloquently taught me that just recently. I am seeing how expansive my heart can actually become and how a vast and open heart can easily heal the nicks and bruises that life’s aches and disappointments throw at it. But yes, there is a wound, nicks, bruises and all.

With a love that is natural, unspoken but understood, tender, giving, forgiving, but mine alone,

R


One Art
Elizabeth Bishop, 1911 – 1979

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

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