Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mea Culpa

Dear John,

At this stage in our relationship, such as it is, which is to say, at no stage at all really, considering recent developments that I need not enumerate, I feel it would only be proper and decent and scrupulous of me to offer you a carefully worded, nuanced, admittedly perhaps even somewhat reluctant apology.

I'm kinda sorry about some things.

It's true I convinced you to abandon your doctoral thesis – what was it? Education, Folklore and Gender Dilemma in Rural, Pre-Bolshevik Ukraine, if I'm not mistaken, or had you changed it again? Was it Literature, Nudity and Secular Authoritarianism in Late Colonial Societies? Stop me when I'm getting warm. Eating, Fucking and Shitting Through the Ages? That might have been it. Whatever the case, I compelled you to hurl your entire manuscript into the fire and disavow yourself of all learning, edification and enlightenment; of the intoxication & majesty of letters; and of the siren call of beauty, truth & reason so that you could get a job selling furniture at that place on Route 9 beside the Olive Garden and thereby fill the car up all the way with gas now and then and pay the rent at those goddamned renovated mill apartments with the shag carpeting and the gym before the middle of the fucking month for once and for this I am a bit contrite.

The day Mr. Heyward ran you around the parking lot brandishing a gun and threatening to shoot you in the face if he ever saw you again, the day you slept off your hangover on that Naugahide loveseat in the display window, I feel I am in some sense to blame as it was my 24th birthday the night before and we drank schnapps until we couldn't see. But sweetheart, a man must answer for his actions, fundamentally.

If he is a man.

Honey, it's possible I broke your dreams. I'm somewhat regretful and have more than a little empathy for you but I think I gave you what you wanted, deep down, on a certain level. And admit it, perhaps you resented that I knew you better than you knew yourself. I do feel bad, I do, that you had to labor, benighted, all our years together.

I might have made something inside of you die, my former love. I thought I was nurturing something richer, deeper; something that would thrive on regular visits to my dad and stepmother's house for dinner, rote responsibilities such as the making of our bed each morning, trips to Target, Parcheesi, brie, the renewal of license plates. The unmaking of our bed at night together to sip soothing herbal tea and read Architectural Digest. Apple-picking, pot-pourri. Baby, this was the real stuff of our very lives. None of that wordy mumbo-jumbo that kept you aloof and onanistic, emerging only long enough to push your glasses up your nose and look away. I guess I'm sorry it destroyed your soul but I was trying to create something.

I shouldn't have fucked your brother. That was too much. A strange and disloyal act, utterly beyond the pale. Yet how could I resist? He was you yet he was not you. Everything I always wanted in a man.

Dearest, by the time you read this you'll be dead. Which is to say, come to think of it, you won't read it at all. By now your veins are pulsing with so much strychnine, mercury, arsenic, rohypnol, cyanide, belladonna and benzene that it's a wonder if you haven't burned a hole right down to your very grave. Why did I do it? For you, my sweet. Liberating you from the hell which I have more or less wrought is the only way I can even hope to make things right. Consider it my ultimate gesture of kindness, a final act to undo and redeem all others.

And why did I write this? For me. It's a little something I wanted to get off my chest.