To the most infuriating man in the world,
I don’t blame you. Never once have I. Until now. Choosing to abandon me because you are unable to fathom hurting me again is not you---the man I had no choice in loving. I believed you to be one of the most courageous men I’ve ever come across. Yet you betray those beliefs with your actions. Abandoning me will not solve your problems. It only leaves you with more. But you will survive, only survive and nothing more. I don't say this from a stance of narcissism but of the peace we find in one another. The peace you left broken and shattered in our empty home. It's not the survival you’re meant to be living. I refuse to blame an ill person for their transgressions, regardless of how they affect me. I understand you’re not an advocate of apologies, because you understand their futility, as much as I do. But something has to be said to justify my own demons, so to speak. The emotions that you're responsible for demolishing have left me with a void. The void doesn't feel like anything, no sadness, no malice, nothing but a void. I want to fight for you. The fight to hold on or let go. But that damn void is sucking me into a flurry of nothingness. I guess two wrongs make a right---that's us. But it seems you’ve made the choice for me though. I’m unable to help someone, who not only lacks the ability to see what is happening in front of his eyes but is also the same man who possesses the rare ability to scrape and claw his way from the abyss that offers its subtle comfort of stagnation. I know we’re both trying to grasp an understanding of what happened in Bakersville, or at least process the aftermath of it. My own pleas and cries echo in the periphery of my mind almost every night—a catalyst for our demise, I now see. But as soon as my haggard eyes grow heavy, and I'm on the verge of greeting Mr. Sandman for the night, it isn’t the sound of my own screams that wake me to cold sweats and labored breathing. It’s your face at that very moment when it happened. The single tear that trickled down your solemn face and onto my shaky hand was far more terrifying than I'd expected. It was the moment I realized you were human too. And I hate myself for unconsciously making that connotation between mortality and expectations. We never discussed what happened. You went along doing your thing, and I mine. After that, each moment became expired with meaningless platitude after meaningless platitude. Not long after that was it that I realized you decided to leave the unhealthy cycle of suppression we adopted, in place of...well, you know. It was last Thursday morning. I made fluffy blueberry pancakes and crispy maple bacon—your favorite. You ate them, each bite savored more than the next. Then showed your appreciation in the form of a contrived grin and a warm peck on my cheek. However, your wonderful symmetrical smile was betrayed by your delicate unblinking eyes. I watched them with intent, like a car crash. The eyes that once emanated joy and laughter now displayed lifeless pupils full of regret and melancholy. But it was only a brief moment, easy to miss if I'd blinked. I didn't. You were now wearing a mask, not of love or cheer, but of deception. Self-deceiving. You thought you could swim in that abyss when you’re meant to fly with the sun. Knowing you, you'd want to drift right into its ultraviolet rays and continue to harvest the miserable secrets that you deny plague your every waking moment. I know…because I put on that same mask when I want to flee too. That minuscule hint of ambivalence and fear provided silent beautiful words that no vocalization could match. That is exactly how I knew I’d find a letter or something that let me know you're leaving. Because you said goodbye with your eyes during our last breakfast together. I also know why you chose to omit any mention of Bakersville in your letter. We could have been anywhere else, but we weren’t. That godforsaken town will forever haunt us. Even so, it wasn’t the town. Or the doctors. Or even my screams as blood poured from my uterus. It was an event with no attributable meaning, aside from the infinite pain that followed us to this end. I would apologize for the unspoken words we failed to bring to life, but of course, as I said before, apologies are futile. If this is indeed a goodbye, I only have one question: If I give you the world, would you do me a favor?
Hello again lovely,
Your letter sat unopened on the overhead shelf in my closet, where I intended it to infinitely remain. But curiosity, as usual, murdered the feline. So, the shelf life of your unopened letter didn't last but a mere two hours before I made a slit in the virgin envelope. As I pulled the letter out, I could’ve sworn I smelled your raspberry and cream lotion. I inhaled, savoring the sweet aroma, almost to the point where I could only smell the carbon black ink. And then, I read it. Now here I am, pen in hand and ready to respond. You always said a pen in my hand is better than a drink in my hand. Well, isn’t it fortunate that I have two hands? I never understood your qualm about a bit of liquid motivation to rile my creativity. But out of respect, I won't have one drink at all. Even though I learned that rehab is a cesspool of social pariahs. At least they are still lucky enough to have someone in the world that gives a shit about them. Self-love is the best kind. At least that's what they say at Forever Hope. And so, I followed their advice and left that godforsaken hellhole. I can love myself without failed counselors telling me to "let go and let god". It’s bullshit. Does anyone truly love themselves? Even narcissists hate themselves. Bakersville. The word itself still slowly and reluctantly crawls from my tongue. I never mentioned it because I knew I could never change what happened. You must know I would take every last bit of my being to save her if I could. If—another word that leaves a fucking metallic taste of anguish in my mouth. That fateful Thursday, of course, you knew. I know you feel exactly what I'm feeling at any given moment when you're with me. It's one of the double-edged swords of a romance like ours. I know it wasn’t the city, nor was it the tears I shed, not even the bleak silence between us that led to my voluntary exile. It was because I could not fix the pain you felt. That was the worst. I fix things. You cry, and I hold you, whispering sweet somethings into your ear. That used to be enough, and when it wasn't—damn you. Your cries were enough for me to question everything I am. The dull ache in the back of my temporal lobe and the burning incessant drive to burst out of my fucking skin was enough to lead me to a stark realization. Love is real. And it fucking hurts. More than anything I can ever put into words. Blame it on my writing skills, or more likely, my difficulty in expressing my fucking emotions. I know I'm cursing quite a bit. Must be the alcohol. I know I said I wouldn't pour one. So, I poured five. Disregard the liquid stain on the bottom of this letter. Johnnie Walker decided to do a bit of walking away from the bottle. Do you think our daughter would have held a bit of pride in heart for her pathetic excuse for a father? I combat and justify. I rationalize and delude myself. But I still am unable to find any reason that anyone can say my name and find any merit of pride in it. I am full of ambition and love, as much as any could-have-been father could be. Yet, I remain stripped of the coveted title—father. No matter how much I'd like to change, I would still without a doubt fall into the pit of futile nothings whispered by the weak. I am what I have made myself. I am coming to terms with it, as you should too. Now. About that question. Give me your world and watch me languidly melt the barriers of your exterior.
I still find it endearing and hurtful that we are only able to communicate via letters. I’m thankful though because if we spoke in person, I know you’d stay. It’s painful because I know that you can’t. Changing the past is a fool’s errand. I take solace in the fact that in extenuating circumstances, you would be the person I know you are. And there is no reason to apologize, merely accepting our place in this hell is more than enough for any couple. Well, once a couple. Now two lost and damaged people in search of something that we're not even sure what it is. Being without you is like being in hell...again. Who goes through hell twice? We’ve been there once in Bakersville—I’d hate to revisit anything remotely close to that vicinity of shit. You're not the only one who can cuss, you know? Even though you are somewhere, likely far away from me, I still wake up in the morning thinking I'd roll over and see you. With your arms outstretched and subtle snores escaping your mouth. But I don't. I wake up to an empty bed far too large for me. You would think the physical distance would separate my love for you, but it hasn't. Even our loss at the chance to be a real family. A family. Something neither of us thought we wanted. Until we saw the two blue lines on that stick. We'd never been happier than that moment. You smiled in a way that made comfort seem infinite; it was like falling in love with you all over again. An instance can change a life. It did then. And it sure as hell did in Bakersville. Our back-and-forth, almost masochistic contact we have with each other in these letters is all we have left. They are the ashes we brought from hell. From when we got burned and marked forever. I'm unsure if there is a cure. But I know you leaving isn't anything but an additional spurn on happiness. If either one of us ever has the luck of finding it again. But for now, I'll allow the letters to burn my hands. That’s another thing I’ll always love about you, is that you love to write old-fashioned letters instead of emailing or texting. It’s relieving in the fact that I know you’ll never surrender to the calamities of the new age. You’ll always be my troubadour. I never thought it'd come to this, but I'm almost out of words. The pen is shaking in my hands, and I only wish you were here. Fuck the angst and regret of what should have been. You said that I make my own reality. I don't want a reality without you in it. Swallow your pride and come back. This is my last letter. I will not beg you any further. I only know that I love you more than I did yesterday, and more with each letter.
Hopefully not goodbye,
To the most plentiful woman in the world,
You’ve made quite the statement in your last letter. No punches pulled. Exactly how I taught you. We have to be tough in this world. Look at all we’ve been through. Without a rough exterior, we’ll surely rot away into that abysmal abyss we’re petrified of. And though sometimes it seems alluring, we mustn’t give in. It only seems tempting because it’s the easy way out. Look at me. Talking about not taking the easy way out. If that isn’t a kettle and pot situation, I don’t know what is. Yes, we’ve been through this shit, and we didn’t deserve it. On the surface, we blame ourselves and eat the shit we’ve been served. But deep down I know the pit isn’t for either one of us. It pains me to say that, given how much hatred I hone for myself. And you don’t deserve a millisecond of that suffering. So, fire up that fucking grill, because I’m having crow tonight. I thought I knew what to do, but you’ve shown me otherwise. Like you always have, and always can. I’m leaving this shitbag motel that’s about 900 miles from you and coming back into your loving embrace. If you’ll still have me of course. Everything else, we can deal with together. I do have some other good news: I finally finished that fucking biography my agent wanted. Yeah, who knew this writer could actually write and not just drink as soon as the clock strikes noon? Me either. Not until I had the courage to dump the bottle down the drain after I read your letter. Anyhow, here’s my biography—who I am.
Many of you reading this are probably expecting a traditional biography. You know, where I’m from, where I went to college, what I do for fun, or what kind of dog I have. Well, let’s just get that out of the way. I’m from Arlington, Texas; I went to Texas A&M University-College Station; I like to make love, and I have no dog. Now, if you really want to know who I am, and not just mundane facts, then proceed. I’m a writer and a terrible fucking person. But don’t let that discourage you from buying my books; I support my fiancée. That’s right. I’m proposing to you, my love. Our family began with tragedy, but it will damn sure end with prosperity and joy. So, the rest of you, continue to buy my books and hate me for the shitty person I am but love me for the incredible husband and father I will be. Please come back to me.