Letter to an absent friend (Saturday, May 23, 2015)
Thank you for your last letter although it never got to me. Postal services in this country are a mess, I know. I’m just sad that your letter will probably never be read. Or maybe it has already been read, and that unknowing reader wondered at your beautiful handwriting and the meaninglessness of the things you wrote to me.
I’m sorry to hear about your loss and I wish I had been there for you when it happened, to soothe the pain somehow, make it less acute and present. I know the old lady was like a mother to you when your own mother was less than a mother.
Given the regretful circumstances, I wish to tell you something that I’ve been preparing for a very long time about making it in this particular world, the world I have written and prepared for you over the years ever since we first met on that fateful day. A day which I’m sure you regret as you said on a couple of occasions.
We hold things back over the course of our lives thinking the perfect day might come to let them loose like famished dogs on a rainy Monday morning. Of course, you must understand that that perfect day is but a metaphor standing for our hope of finding something to fall back upon, a plan of some sort, a way of taking arms against the emotional misfortunes that may befall us. And that’s admirable, is it not? How noble of us to think of ourselves beforehand, of our emotional safety, of the kind of happiness whose tentative smile mesmerises us and makes us think we might just stumble upon it as we turn the corner.
Rejection breeds terrible monsters, and though we might not have had any acquaintance with the kind of monsters I’m thinking of as I’m writing this, only the prospect of being introduced to them seems infinite and as such unbearable.
Yet, trust me on this, there’s no need to be afraid of those monsters because beyond rejection and oblivion there’s only more rejection and even more oblivion. You might think of that back-up plan in terms of it being another person, a lover, maybe, a house of your own, a place with doors and windows that would keep both rejection and oblivion at bay. And when you might think you’re on safe ground, far from the swords being sharpened just beyond the threshold of that place, that place too might turn into rejection and oblivion. The bed might get cold, the womb a bearer of ashes, the light a sharp shard of glass where once it had been but warmth and promise of finally conquered love.
You see, rejection doesn’t divide, it doesn’t draw a line in the sand, it doesn’t let you pick the side on which you wish to be in order to feel better, maintain that promise of happiness. Rejection is ocean and no land in sight, no sign of respite. Rejection is air. The lover might give you a hand, swim alongside for a couple of miles and then grow tired, as lovers normally do. The hand might turn cold and let go. Don’t fall back upon that because in rejection it’s every man for himself.
Breathe, have a look at the sky while drifting, smile at all those who swim alongside you, then move on. Say what you have to say, don’t wait for that perfect day because that perfect day is but another lover drifting in the same ocean as you. Allow yourself to take one more step, one more push, don’t be afraid of the murky waters lashing at your face. In the end, when you think about it, it’s those waters that keep you afloat. There’s nothing to fall back upon but yourself. And that’s the most beautiful thing this ocean of rejection can never claim its own.
There’s so much beauty in you, in me, in all of us, and it must be carried in solitude. I know this, even though I have never met you in person, I know of the beauty you carry. You’re so present in my mind I sometimes stop in the middle of the road and wish to shout at the top of my lungs that I no longer want you there but here, where I could read these words to you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Wish you all the best.