I like writing letters, though I don’t do it half often enough. I believe I called it a “poetic, permanent mode of communication” once. I also used to write poems about writing letters. Here’s a hybrid of the two, minus the salutation because I have no idea how to begin.

i think i said this to you the other night but i shall go ahead and say it again because it still needs answering – what are we doing?

i think a lot about you, you know, when i fall asleep at night and when i wake up in the morning, wondering maybe did you think of me when you stretched yourself awake this morning too?

or maybe i’m dreaming still?

anyway, you’re on my mind a lot but i haven’t come any closer to understanding you and there won’t be a cool science fiction-y explanation like there has been for other impossible enigmas i’ve come across.

am i impatient, is that what it is?

you’re guarded, and so am i. neither one of us is quite there. reaching out so desperately we don’t acknowledge that the hand we stretch to hold might not be the one to pull us out of the dark. or is it? i just don’t know.

you said you were broken. i said everyone is. i think i was right, but i don’t think you were wrong. unless that’s wishful thinking.

it’s been a long time and i don’t remember who i am with boys anymore, though that isn’t your fault.

and it’s similar on your side, is it not?

who are we, with each other? do you know yourself when you’re with me?

i don’t expect there to be an instant answer. but god i wish i understood a bit better.

who am i, to you? why do you come back to me? i must be something then, yeah? what?

sorry. sorry sorry sorry. i don’t make any sense and i’m scary and i know that.

(by this time your curiosity is probably near insatiable; no, i do not know why this letter is in all lowercase, it just sort of seemed to flow better once i started that way.)

who am i, to you? a warm body and open arms? a smile that makes you feel like a million bucks? the point in the universe where everything makes sense? what do you need me for?

i’ll be it. whatever you want. (almost.)

i didn’t say this to you but i think i’m broken too. i’m cautious around you the way i have been cautious with every boy before except one, except the first one. i wonder if i’ve been fooling myself for too many years and if i still cringe, on the inside, where even i can’t see it anymore.

or maybe i’m being overly dramatic. everybody’s broken, aren’t we?

but i still find myself wondering. what if. what now. what am i doing wrong. what are you going to show me? what sort of mark will you leave?

and when you kiss me in the dark what does that mean?

what are you trying to tell me?

what am i trying to say to you? now there’s a good question. wishing i knew.

i once dreamed of writing lovely poems that ended with the word, all on a line of its own, “healing.” still not sure what it was – healing laughter? healing love? – though i think i had an image of water trickling in a kind of quiet joy, sort of. it’s a very half-baked thought.

anyway i woke up to a reality that was quite the opposite, although good things came of it eventually, they usually do, you know. that’s the good thing about life, it’s never uphill both ways. i love that.

but anyway.

who are we? two lost and broken souls who just need someone? does it matter who? should it?

(i’m so theatrical)

we’re afraid, i think, you and i both. you’ve told me before you don’t want to hurt me. i think you’re more afraid of being hurt yourself, though the other is an equally supportable cause. ha.

do you remember, or did i say this to you in my head, the goethe quote which goes, “if i love you, what business is it of yours?”

well either way, goethe. yes. 

i love this quote because it is true, but so few people think about it. love does not have to go two ways. if you love, you love. that is it. it is not love if you are ashamed of it. it is not love if you demand something in return – including love, especially love. love never takes, it has to be given. 

i think i’ve said that to you before as well. 

and when you put your arms around me or make me laugh or say something i want to understand your reasons for saying i only know that i want to love you.

and then i wonder what is holding me back. you? me? propriety? (hooray for dinky rhymes)

and then i wonder some more and try to read you but you are written in a language i don’t know, and of course that’s frustrating because i have this ridiculous problem where i don’t want to admit outright that there are things i don’t know.

maybe you can teach me.

maybe that’s what this is about, is learning to read each other.

i wrote a long time ago that i thought i understood love. it was not much longer before love walked up to me and said, “i am not like you think i am at all.”

and even after that i thought i understood love. all i know now is that i know more than i used to, but i’ve still got a long way to go.

go with me?


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