Written for my last serious relationship. In the voice of Bassey, 26, a week after the break up. 2003
Dear name withheld,
it’s early here. my clock reads 7 AM. could barely sleep last night, kept waking to these fits of stomach curling anxiety. same feeling has been my alarm for the last few weeks – some would say years. this rolling ball of something moving from my knees to my chest. a strange tug of war between my toes and my chin. I’m not sure who is winning – certainly not me. this thing makes me ill. makes me shake. makes my stomach drop. and empty. i’m sorry about last night. selfish of me to ask you to help me feel better. i just needed to cry. i spend too much time living in, “i’m all right. really.” it’s become second nature, this pretending. i go there before i go to truth. whatever that is.
i’m on my computer now. i wish i could sit in a park somewhere and write letters on beautiful stationary monogrammed with my initials. and lined with a quote i find beautiful. or touching. have always wanted to be one of those girls. soft and pink. princess and mermaid. flowing cursive letters and hearts dotting i’s. i am chicken scratch. I am pen awkward and uncomfortable between my fingers. my father told me years ago, that it’s because my brain is moving too fast. my hand can’t catch up. That may be true. so much races around in me. not much can catch up. often not even sleep. i want only a moment of silence.
Despite all that, after all these years i still want to be light purple, princess and pink. i have never been that girl. was 5’1 and 100lbs at 12. all muscle. was skinned knees and tumbles. was daredevil bike tricks and hardest football tackle. was skinned knees, climbing trees. was rough and tumble voice. was whispered about. was grit and oyster shell. was waiting for pearl self. was never sure it would come. am never sure it will come. i am scared often. of losing. of being wrong. of other’s being right about me. of not being able to prove them wrong. of being disowned. of being disloyal. of being selfish. of hurting others. of deserving whatever bad happens. of losing this battle. of never learning who or what this battle is for. or against.
i stay awake sometimes wondering. worrying. the words a tumble and jumble in my mind. i try desperately to catch them on paper. but i can’t seem to do even that these days. i’m not sure why i’m telling you this. i’ve wanted to write you a letter. about you. about us. wanted to sit somewhere with a pen. even took notes about my day last week. about my train ride into the city. about the young white girl, scared and small next to me. she was so young but was wearing her youth like an ill fitting sweater. so small. wanted to tell you about how she asked me question after question. about how i felt immediately protective of her. afraid for her and the reason she was in the city alone. she seemed so unsure. who was she meeting? wanted to follow her. make sure she was okay. but didn’t. wanted to write you about the way the city is wearing gray now. about how i long for spring. about how the gray is pressing down on my chest. about how much i need the sun right now. about how much i feel like i need you right now. about how difficult it is to do what’s right and not what’s easy. about how difficult it is to exist like this. empty and afraid of losing. always afraid of losing. i took notes. i was going to sit and write you a letter. but i’d write the first word. your name. and it never looked right. i wanted the letters to be more defined. wanted it to be more clear. wanted to give you something you could put in a box. years later pull out and read. i want you to get this and smile. almost gave the notes to someone and said, “you write it. your handwriting looks better across a blank page.” like it belongs there. I wanted to be free but i can’t do that with a pen anymore. too aware of how it looks. too much like chicken and scratch. my mind slowing down to keep up with my hand moving across the page. typing is easier for me. it’s just as fast. sometimes faster.
right now. i’m feeling empty. my head hurts. right eye owns the pain, but the left throbs with empathy.
it’s cold this morning. there’s a draft escaping from the window near my computer. where is spring? this winter has gone on far too long. could use something more familiar than this echo inside me. this inexplicable, intangible sadness.
i’m sad about a lot of things right now. scared and sad. threat of next phase often does this to me. i’m trying to have faith in all this unknown, to look into the dark and anticipate light and warmth. right now, i’m preparing to live in this eyes closed and waiting. waiting to find the strength to rescue myself. waiting to find the strength to be rescued. waiting for god to remember that though silent and frightened –i still am.
i want only one thing, for you to know that this silence is not directed towards you. it is the only unselfish thing i can muster. letting you go. you deserve more than my quiet. i want for you a love that screams and vibrates from it’s highest, most sacred spaces. i want that for myself.
always. in all ways,