Two days ago I told you I mailed you a card.
That I had written for you. I had written to you.
I wanted to think that I did.
That I would be able to just pick up pen and cardstock and ferry down something sweet, short, yet heart-felt.
Something that came so naturally for me every year up until this one.
But the truth is. I couldn’t.
I couldn’t bare the whiteness and blankness of the paper.
Its glare as I looked down at it. Its belligerent space harshly tormenting me- tormenting me, that I have no words. No cadence. No rhythm.
I had no narrative. No poetry. Nothing.
On the last day we wrote together. When I had finally finished typing the last stroke you sat me down on that chestnut armchair that we eventually gave to the dumpster.
You told me, in the forgiving yellow light, no sorry, you asked me. If I had ever read Hemingway’s Old Man and The Sea. Very rarely do you ever ask me about my reading habits. You do not read novels. And yet you questioned me: DO YOU KNOW YOUR HEMINGWAY.
Only you said it like: Hi-Ming-Way.
You said that my life, no, our lives, are as such. You never told me what happened in the book. I mean it is Hemingway for goodness sake, does plot even matter? But you said: Read it. Find out. That’s what life is about.
I never read it.
I know the story by now. One night, when I was lying awake, conversing with the ceiling about some small insignificant detail, I repeated the story to myself. The story that I had never read. Hemingway’s words that is. I never read his words about “the meaning of life”.
I even told a friend: Life is as such. We fish, we chase, we struggle, we achieve, we pull and pull, and we come back to shore exhausted and old, too tired to care about what we finally hauled to shore. Our only reprise is the sweet sweet rest of finally falling on the warm beach. Caressed by all our failure and all our sweat.
And I thought about you. Constantly.
I know that when I call you, it is usually because my computer malfunctioned. Or I needed help filing taxes. Or because quite frankly I needed help finding someone else.
And you would call me when you needed a password. Or in fact, you would pass the message to someone else, and tell them to tell me.
And so we danced around each other. Drawing circles and dotted lines to avoid each other’s space…
And I am still blank today. Cursing the space. Cursing the suffocating lack.
Cursing the way your palms feel as they clasp mine. Cursing the way you held the steering wheel just so when I made a left turn. Cursing the way your beard felt scratchy and like sandpaper. The way you wrote your 4s and your 8s. Quick meditated strokes. Cursing the way you sat with me on my piano bench, falling asleep as I Mozarted and Chopined.
You never liked Chopin much either. I didn’t.
And I do not know why it has been so difficult for me to be with you. But I know there has been no other man that I can be so quiet with. No other man that makes me feel so peaceful in silence. Just the two of us. Hanging out at a table. Your glass of milk. water. tea. My cup of coffee that you condemned. Our quiet summer mornings. You moving your lips as you read. Me, reading in the same way. Us in our separate worlds, racing, charging ahead. Separate. But together.
— C.S. Lewis