Thursday, April 30, 2009

Letter # 20


I may know a lot of things in life, but I don't suppose I know what the purpose of this letter is. Most certainly, it isn't to announce some profound and deep longing for you, as I am sure throughout the years we've known each other, I've made it a known fact not only to you, but all our friends.

It most certainly isn't to tell you that I couldn't get out of bed this morning (well, actually I couldn't, but it had nothing to do with you, but rather, because the air-conditioning was on too high and I was too lazy) because just the thought of taking on the world without you around sickened me enough to put me back to bed - we already visited that stuff last winter.

As well, it isn't to go over the story of the first time I knew I wanted to spend a good portion of my life with you - or, at the very least, "get a shot" with you; by now, we should all know that story by heart.

It isn't to ask for a shot or a chance either, because as I've learned, the more one pushes, the more likely the other is to back off. Although I want you to know I've stopped asking for a chance not because the feelings I've got for you are any less intense, but because I realized that so long as you are in my life, no matter in which capacity, I am satisfied.

One of my favorite poems from the book I'd given you the first few times we met is one about longing. In it, Peter McWilliams writes, "All I Want Is Someone To Talk To About You, But You're The Only One I Can Talk You. Trapped."

I suppose that sums up the purpose of this letter. I write because I want to talk about you, and perhaps address "us" for just one more time, before leaving it all behind and looking ahead to the bright futures we each have.

Do you ever remember reading the book "Little Women?" I recently finished reading it (with great shame as most people finished it in junior high) this winter, and I must say, it's the first book of fiction that I could wholeheartedly relate to - perhaps because it models so well after you and I.

You're very much like Jo. Your intelligence, independence, creativity, feminism, altruism and compassion are all the reasons that upon our first few meetings, I fell "quicker than I thought I could or said I would."

Much like Laurie, the adoration and fondness I have for you is real. From the very beginning, I've looked up to you, and strived to be a better person for you. And, much like Laurie, I've had my options, but the daunting tasks of forgetting I ever loved you is a hard one. After all, it's easy to deal with a rejection when it's about one's ego, but much harder when it's one's heart. But much like Laurie, I've learned to transfer those feelings, changing them from those of romanticism to something more of a friendship - almost the kind of love siblings have for another, and yes, this is real, too.

I don't suppose it's wrong to tell you that now and then, my heart forgets, but my mind is there to remind me - out of the blue, here in Iraq as I am walking down the streets, I'd blurt out, "God, I miss her," only to realize that while I do miss you, the longing and love I feel for you is different now. In short, I want you to know that no matter how much the love I have for you evolves, that you'll always be an important part of my life.

I don't believe in true love. I don't believe in soulmates, and I most certainly do not believe in the myth that we can only love one person in life. Too often, Hollywood has made a living out of painting the picture of the lover in agony - one still suffering from yesterday's rejection and unable to move on, until he gets the woman he loves. That's not true with me. Yet, it is still fair to ask the question: will I ever love someone as much as I loved you?

To that, I want to tell you the story of Vice President Joe Biden. After the "accident" - the death of his first wife and young daughter, the young senator met his current wife - and after a few dates, he asked her if she minded that he was still in love with his first wife, and that still had her pictures and cherished her memories. She responded, "Not at all - because I know that anyone who can love that deeply has the ability to love again."

That's what I believe; I believe I have the ability to love again - and that one day, just as I'd loved you, I will meet an amazing feminist and will love her just as much. And thankfully, you're still alive and here fighting a good fight for social justice with me. What more could a guy ask for?

This, then, the end of my romantic love for you, really isn't an end at all - but the beginning of something profound, something special - the human-to-human connection that only takes place a handful of times in one's life.

I am thankful for this new beginning and I am thankful for you; no matter where we end up in life, I want you to know that you'll always be one to whom I owe, and for whom I feel, the world.