My precious friend,
It has been ten years since you made the split-second decision that was to change the world. It certainly changed mine. For ten years I have stood mummy-like in the centre of a spiral of questions that bounced back off the stars to return unanswered, just the same questions ringing ever louder in my ears.
It is a strange sensation. The way those questions take the rainbow splashes of colour which you, my first love, my best friend, splashed with the freedom of a child on the canvas of my life, and blend them with dizzying speed into each other. So I stand at the centre of something quite terrifying, yet strangely beautiful. Every so often there is peace there as one of those magnificent colours, the hue of another beautiful memory, washes over and through me and I smile through my tears. Like the blue-green memory of you and I dancing in the rain smiling and crying all at once that New Years Eve…
Can I go on? If every pair of eyes capable of reading was to read these words, would it make a difference? Will they help to silence those unanswered questions, those things I’ll wish forever that I’d said to you rather than “I have to go, good-bye”? Will they wrap them up tightly for me in a box, nail it shut with a million nails and throw them, with the force of the whole earth, out beyond the stars never to bounce back and deafen me again?
No. My canvas will always have, as a backdrop, that hauntingly beautiful spiral of colour.
What is it I want to say? I am sorry. I am sorry that I was young and selfish and insensitive and careless. I am sorry that by your action, you became my teacher – the teacher of so many painful lessons, when I’d much rather you’d stayed my lover. Actually, that is what I really want to say to you. I love you. I have hurt, and in my aching condition of guilt and self-loathing, I have hurt other people. It is to them that I owe an apology. But this is my love letter to you.
Sometimes I wish that I never knew you. Like a child allowed chocolate just once, then never again, I’ve struggled to find satisfaction in a world of unshared pleasures. Yes, I have shared many things with many people – but my soul has always ached for you.
I remember how strangely you were acting in our last week together. So strangely that I even asked you if you were thinking of “doing something silly”. And you held me close to you in the swimming pool, as the sun smiled down on us, and told me that as long as I was in the world, even if we weren’t together, you had every reason to keep on living. And I believed you. Strangely though, when you left after that visit, as you turned and waved at the end of the complex driveway, panic seized me and I had to stop myself from shouting out and running to you and holding you and kissing you and telling you the words that choke me still, I love you.
Would it have made a difference if I had?
I have become a firm believer that nothing happens by chance. In fact, I have learnt to look for meaning and signs in the world around me all the time now. Do you remember the first movie we saw together? It was the theme song from that movie to which we first danced and which rang through the air as we kissed our first sweet kiss? Ghost. “Oh my love my darling, I’ve hungered for your touch, this long, lonely time. Time goes by so slowly and time can do so much …are you still mine? I need your love…God speed you love, to me.” What a cruel destiny.
Do people realize how young Romeo and Juliet were? They were just children. Perhaps tragedy is the hallmark of love too strong thrust upon souls too immature to handle it. We were only teenagers, you and I. Our thought processes were so childish, but our feelings were strong as any adults. I wonder how many people realized how deep the waters we had landed in were? Perhaps we were both drowning.
Would we have realized what a precious gift we had been given and treasured it with our lives had our paths crossed several years later?
If. What a useless word! A ticket to an eternal preoccupation with the past – and with how it could have been. It was the way it was. It is the way it is. And that is that. We make the choices we have to make. Yes, we may look back and realize how wrong or foolish we were to have taken the route we did, but the fact remains we can only make today’s choices with today’s information, wisdom, and providence. I realize all this now – but heaven alone knows how I have stretched the tape of my mind’s eye, rewinding and re-playing those last few conversations, imagining what would have happened if…
Writing to you now – I feel movement through a kaleidoscope of emotions. I recall the chilling silent purple-black darkness that surrounded me the moment they told me you had shot yourself. The instinct to sink deep into pits of the earth, beyond the damp darkness into the molten heat of the earth’s core and there be consumed by hell’s flames. It was my fault. I saw the accusations in the eyes of the people in the street. But even more so, I saw it staring back at me when I looked in the mirror.
I remember the day I saw the bloodstain on the carpet in your parent’s bedroom. It wasn’t the bright red of romance or the deep red of passion, but a sordid rusty brown. I walked into your bathroom, caught sight of my reflection in the mirror, and punched it. The blinding white light of terror and the wish that I could experience physical pain severe enough to dull my awareness of my soul’s anguish overwhelmed me. I cursed you and threw profanities at my reflection. I hated myself.
Perhaps if I was braver it would have been a true Romeo and Juliet story, but I wasn’t prepared to take my destiny in my own hands. I played Russian roulette with fate. Tried crossing a road without looking and hoped the Black Widow spider in the post box would become annoyed with my rummaging hand. But that would have been too easy.
I had lessons to learn. I would have to get up every morning, even when I had not slept all night and wanted to bury myself beneath the covers and cry and cry every tear that bloated me. I would have to look at the reflection staring back at me and, eventually, I’d have to learn to love it.
No simple task. Only now that I am beginning to see goodness in the eyes reflected in my mirror do I see how deep my guilt and self-hatred has run. Suffice to say that I have not been kind to myself. I have tried to escape in foolish ways. I have avoided my own company and allowed my talents to stagnate. But the arms of God have held me gently, so I have escaped any serious harm, and through it all I have grown.
My sweet, sweet angel. In anger people have told me how selfish you were and how angry I have a right to be. I am not angry with you. Please know this.
Know that I know you love me as much as you told me and that our souls will meet again.
Know that I know that the questions that resonate back from the stars with ever increasing volume do so because you scream the same questions to the heavens.
Know that I swear to take the palette of colours that you gave me with each of the sensational moments we shared, and paint a beautiful picture of my life.
I am ready for love now, to give and receive it.
Not to the kaleidoscope of colours, or the memories or the love that will cross forever, but good-bye to the pain and the prison of self-loathing that was my life.
Yours as always,