When I was trying to quit smoking
and we drank white wine from Mason jars,
you called my freckles cocoa powder
and I called your green eyes
I am learning how to be a grown-up
who pays bills, cooks her own meals,
and doesn’t cry at words like
I think I just want to be friends.
The truth is this:
Love is an organic thing.
It rots and softens.
You were very very charming really in spite of the lecture. And you are definite to me, - my goodness, you are. My silly Virginia. My darling, darling, precious Virginia.
This letter gets interrupted all the time, but I love you, Virginia - so there - and your letters make it worse - Are you pleased? I want to get home to you - Please, when you are in the south, think of me, and of the fun we should have, shall have, if you stick to your plan of going abroad with me in October, - sun and cafes all day, and ? all night. My darling…please let this plan come off. I live for it.
I will love you if I never see you again, and I will love you if I see you every Tuesday.
When I say, ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a heck of a person.
Leaving is not enough. You must stay gone. Train your heart like a dog. Change the locks even on the house he’s never visited. You lucky, lucky girl. You have an apartment just your size. A bathtub full of tea. A heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid. Don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did. And now you pull down the bridge between your houses, you make him call before he visits, you take a lover for granted, you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic. Make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic. Place it on whatever altar you fashion with a knife and five cranberries. Don’t lose too much weight. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge. And you are not stupid. You loved a man with more hands than a parade of beggars, and here you stand. Heart like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas. Heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street.