Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Love's Labour Lost

Dear C,

I was kicking myself the other day. I was feeling lonely, depressed, unloved and for the first time in about five or six years, I wanted to read your letters. I felt even worse when I realized I couldn't do that. I had gotten rid of all the evidence of you - of us.

Did I ever tell you what I did with them?

I don't remember what happened between us that made me do it, but I do know we had some sort of discussion, were talking about something and I got angry with you. I was hurt and very upset. I started to drink the bottle of red wine that was in my kitchen, and when that was done, I started in on the Gin. I drank while I stared at the box I had put all your letters in. There was a good handful in there, including the one you wrote on the back of a paper place mat in some cheap dinner. They were all there; the love letters, the hate letters, the kiss and make up letters, the toss me aside letters. I kept them all and carried them with me all this time.

I carried you with me all this time. I got my first letter from you when I was 15 years old. I'm now 31. I think I was about 27 when I got rid of them. Twenty-seven. That means I had been holding on to all those letters for over ten years. That's a long time to be lost in those words. That's a long time to constantly carry someone with you.

Regardless, I drank the gin and in a quick fit of some sort, I decided I was done holding on to our relationship. I don't know what happened. Maybe I was just tired of it, or maybe I thought it was your turn to carry it on. Whatever it was, I decided I need to be rid of those letters, and fast.

I wanted to burn them. I remember closing my eyes and seeing the fire licking the air around me as they turned to ash. I wanted to burn them.

I was drunk, but not drunk enough to realize that I should be somewhat careful about this. I took all the letters and dumped them into the kitchen sink. I grabbed the matchbox next to the sink and paused.

Maybe common sense kicked in. I don't think so, because common sense would have told me to take them out of the sink, just package them back up and hide them in the back of the closet. Don't be rash.

No, part of my common sense was telling me that maybe fire wasn't the best bet. I was drunk. What happened if the fire got out of control? Would I be able to mute it? I didn't think I could so I grabbed all the letters, shoved them back in the box and put on my shoes.

It was late, I remember. Dark outside and the weather was beautiful. I wasn't wearing a jacket. I'm thinking it was probably near the end of summer? Maybe early September? I walked along the river to the Osbourn bridge. It wasn't too far, about a ten minute walk. It didn't sober me up. At one point, close to the bridge, I was confronted by a group of young men, probably a little younger than I was. They were skateboarding around the river walk. I heard one make a comment regarding me to his buddies - something derogatory. I pretended to ignore them, kept to my path and walked by quickly. I did decided, however, to take a slightly different path home. One that would avoid them.

When I got to the bridge, I didn't think. I didn't pause. I held the box over the ledge and opened it and shook the letters out. As soon as they left the box and floated down, I remember being filled with some sort of feeling of relief, of great relief. When I saw them land in the middle of the river, laying there and not sinking down, I started to feel some pangs of regret.

Was it wrong of me to do it? Now there is no written record of us. But was there ever really an 'us' to have a written record of? You were my tragic flaw for so long that disposing of the one concrete thing about our relationship freed me.

But did I want to be freed? I used to wonder about that. Why do I still think of you, or what you are doing? Why do I often wish our paths would cross?

It's silly to think these things. It's silly for me to remember the way you made me feel, and the things you inadvertently taught me about love.

One day, I will share these things with you.. one day.


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