Sunday, 23 July 2017

To You ~ Boy From Yesterday

(I hadn't written a #ToYou letter in so long because everything I was getting was a ticky-tack version of the same, until this one. Anyone who knows me or has spent an afternoon with me knows that I’m fascinated with love, most with its undulating shape which hold more questions than answers.

 I got this sad-funny email from a client who wants to be called N. “Is it still love, if it’s over? I met my ex-boyfriend, someone I had deeply loved and been engaged to, for dinner after three years. I want to write a love letter to that night, to him that night and to everything that hangs in space unanswered. I want you then to hand-write it and post this letter to my address, because it’s really a love letter from me to me”.

How could I say no?)


To You
Boy From Yesterday,


This is so strange.
This is so strange.
This is so strange.


I tell myself while walking up the stairs to the first floor of this restaurant we’re getting dinner at.

This feels like home.

I tell myself the first time we break into a laugh, five minutes in.


Time has a special muscle of relativity when mapped against someone we used to love, it feels like years are wrapped up and preserved in familiar smells. You smell the same. I don’t know this from confirmation today (we only awkwardly hugged) but I do. You smell the same.


You’re married now. Your face is different, small wrinkles have set up tenements beside each eye but you sip your drink the same way- the first sip always the largest. I don’t remember the particulars of what we talked about. 
Did I tell you enough how good it was to see you?


I knew you when you were 26 and I was 23. We find those kids in each other’s sentences twenty minutes in.
Have we ordered enough food?
Have we ordered any food?
We’re never going to run out of things to say.


You tell me about work and ask me about mine. I answer in rapid, heat-filled sentences rushing against one another eager to get out and meet you. You tell me you have to leave before midnight, I don’t ask why. You’re giving me advice about marriage, about my love life and you’re still smiling the same way you used to. Why are you so nervous?
I have thought about you when things were right. Did you think of me when things went wrong?


I realize if I reach over and hold you, I can time travel and be 23 again. 

I don’t. 
I want to tell you that I will always love you in a way I've stopped trying to explain or define now. I know you’re married and happy and I wish nothing but grand happiness for you. That I will love other people too, differently but as fiercely, and I’m neither sad nor lonely.


But between friendship and affairs is a broken down castle where our kind of love lives. It stays alive despite the years, the violence of storms and the ever changing of the two people who gave birth to it.

It holds in its towers the bad songs these two loved, the ways they fought and broke one another, how holding each other felt like a coming back to life, how they knew when they were together and now when they’re apart that despite its brokenness they’d held in their palms the kind of love everyone else is always searching for and how walking away was a scribble of a circle than a straight line leading out.


The night feels different tonight, there’s definite magic in the air. Everything I want to say to you is laced with a question- why/when. Old wounds and things we never understood hang in the shadows. Baiting us, willing us. I’m surprised to see them there, it’s been years. You’re looking surprised to see them here too, I think. So I stick to basics.


Yes, I’ve worked out.
Have you?
Do I look different?
I’m happy, I think I’m falling in love with someone new.
It’s so good to see you.


I don’t know how we said goodbye. I tell you we should have dinner once every year. 
“For closure”.
You laugh, “There’s no such thing as closure, kid.”
I don’t know when I will see you again.

Is it still love if it’s over? Is that dinner even allowed? Will that break the rules of adult positions of play we have assumed? Will that hurt the new people we love and hold close today?


Once a year, let’s meet to take a walk back to our castle, dust some old shelves, put some books and music in order and leave.
And there it will stand braving storms, watching over us and waiting for us to return.


All my love,
N




(This picture is mine, taken this May during a road trip across Scotland. This picture is on loan for this letter :) )


(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you. The love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: kakulgautam@gmail.com or on my Instagram account @hyperbolemuch)



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