Heartbeat: Why I Write: A Love Story
Patience from Love Letters To a Ghost writes about why she writes. Letters that she can never send, or can she? She isn’t sure. Please read through and help her out.
How do I start a story that has carried me through almost half my life? That has been my constant companion for over twelve years? I guess, as they say, I must start at the beginning which happened to be on an old dock near a pond back in 2000. He was my boyfriend’s oldest friend and I hated him. He drove me crazy with his obnoxious comments and his annoying laugh. It’s funny to think about it now because I so often crave his unique laugh, his very own way of seeing the world. Anyway, we kissed in secret one night and spent the next night wrapped in each other’s arms. And the feel of his arms around me, his lips on my skin, ushered me into the reality of love. How love can be a gift, a suspension of belief in everything but him. For those two days, my body hurt to be away from him and electric sparks curled and spiraled out from between our clenched hands when we were together.
He moved across the country the next day. I didn’t realize the ache would never leave.
So I wrote him letters. Every two weeks, I would bleed my words onto pages of spiral notebook paper. I would open my wounds and speak everything I could not say, my truth hidden beneath polite salutations and quiet concerns. He would call the moment he finished reading. He would whisper over those vast three thousand miles. I could hear the missing in his laugh, the longing in the words he used to hide his heart. We loved in a silence buried in triviality.
Fast forward to a newly homeless 21 year old who lost her family, her friends, and any hope she may have clung to. I called him and he said come. A few weeks later, I boarded a greyhound bus to Florida, a four day ride from home.
His arms climbed my body the moment he saw me, despite my wretched face smeared in bus-worn dirt. We spent two weeks on the beach and in his car and in his bed. I told him I loved him and he said it back. Finally, the release had arrived and my burdens of a love unrequited were a glimmer in the past. He was mine and I was his.
He begged me to stay but I was young and thought other people’s opinions mattered more than my own. This is my biggest regret.
Fast forward to 2009. I had never been able to forget the creases around his eyes when he smiles or the constellation of freckles dotting his bare chest. I found him on Facebook…of course. We talked and he said he never forgot about me…not for a minute. He also found out I was married. He deleted me a few days later and refused to respond to my messages.
Fast forward to 2011. I messaged, he responded with apologies and regrets. He deleted me two weeks later.
I write him a few real letters. His silence is the loudest noise I have ever heard. It blinds me with pain that echoes deep in my bones, burns a hole into my heart that bleeds his name.
Fast forward to 2012. He writes, out of nowhere, and proclaims he was an ass and that past relationships and bad choices made him feel unworthy of talking to me. He says he wanted to write, that he missed me and would never take me for granted. He deleted me three weeks later.
I can’t stand it any longer so I call his old number, the one that is tattooed on my heart, and he answers. And I can’t yell. I am a bottle of liquid nitrogen, frozen and dangerous. He says he meant all those things but it is wrong to talk to me. I am still married. Instead, we should forget, try to move one, attempt the impossible. I hear his thready breath, his hesitant laughter trying to hide his unease. He says we can’t be friends because we are each other’s past.
I wrote a few more times because I couldn’t stop imagining his fingers pressing into my skin, hearing his voice whisper my name, his breath hot on my ear. He writes back once. He blocks me a few months later.
I know how I feel is wrong and stupid, so you don’t have to make me feel worse. I know should take his advice and forget, commit myself to the person I signed up to be. But I did can’t help wondering if he really did forget? This love is so strong that it blocks my good sense and builds walls around my intellect. Does he love me? Would he love me if I were free? Should I give up what I have because it is not how I feel about Johnny? Was he love the way love is supposed to feel? I don’t know the answers which is why I write, why I can’t stop the words from burning down my fingers like molten emotion on a runaway train.
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