Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster.*

Dear Sam,

You wanted me since the day you set your eyes on me.  I could see it in them. You chased me with kisses and invitations to dates. You pursued as much as you had to, only just as much as you had to and when you had me, you stopped. Much to my disappointment. The last couple of weeks, while I missed you, I wondered if you missed me, sometimes I was sure you did but you didn’t show it. I wish you had because the only thing I filled with that void was doubt. I was out having a blast in Spain with friends I have loved for decades and yet I made time and space in my heart for you. But you couldn’t even peel yourself away from a football game long enough to call me and say hello. That hurt but I tried not to make much of it.

And when I came back, I sighed when you saw the back of your head. I was boiling with fever and when you gave me the brightest of smiles and said good morning, I didn’t even have the energy to smile at you. It took you a day to figure out how ill I was but I still liked that you looked up high fever in wikipedia – it was a dorky thing to do but I know you did out of concern. Like bringing me soup was.

And then we went to the beach on Saturday because it was the only thing that would take my mind off the horrible effects the drugs were having on me. And how beautiful the beach was. And how nice it was to swim with you. I threw my arms around you and you held me by the waist, the way you always do. I worked up a little more courage to kiss you, what with you being a neatfreak and me being a germ-infested patient at the time. But you kissed me back. I had that nagging doubt again, why didn’t you think to throw your arms around me first, kiss me first, heck fuck me in the water too the way Chris once tried to? Oh should I really be thinking about that? But then you wanted to wait and watch the sunset together and I felt a little less doubtful. And you wouldn’t stop looking at me during dinner, I blushed so much, there’s no way I could have misread those eyes, or the way you call me “my dear”.

Saturday night was fun, we had some sex, it wasn’t the best and I made exceptions for you. Exceptions I shouldn’t have made, exceptions I don’t think you deserve (yet). I hate and judge myself for them but I will, as always, heal. I told you how we should see each other on Sunday seeing as you were going on a week long trip and then I was leaving for Burma for another week so we really wouldn’t see each other for 2 more weeks. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one more fun romp? Yes, you agreed.

And yet when I called you, you didn’t answer the phone and then texted back to say you were watching football. Did you forget? How could you forget? You cancelled one brunch and one lunch with my friends.I don’t know about you, Sam, but I am a woman of my word. I make plans because I intend to stick to them. I return calls with calls. That is not old-fashioned because good manners will never go out of style. Your flakiness on the other hand is already getting a bit tiresome.

Now you’ve gone and boarded your flight without saying goodbye and without wishing me a safe trip to Burma. I dislike that immensely. I care about the little things. That’s why I brought you back olives from Spain, knowing how much you like them. That’s why I designed a menu when I invited you over for dinner (even though I got too sick to be able to actually cook it).

I still think you’re a wonderful guy with winning qualities. I find you an amazing listener and you’re really very caring in the sincerest way. And I know that you really mean what you say. We have spent so much time and have gotten so intimate in such a short while – it surprises and delights me that I was able to open my heart to you this way – but maybe you have already taken it for granted. And I cannot have that. I cannot pine for you when I am not even sure if I want you. It’s a most paradoxical feeling.

So Sam, I must walk away now. No more phone calls, no more messages. I must quit you, cold turkey.  You probably won’t even notice now – which will only prove that I made the right decision – but you will when you’re back.

And when my heart has healed (and I hope it does heal), I will continue searching for a wild, unbridled, passionate, impractical and chaotic love that is excessive, exaggerated and all-consuming. It seems almost pointless to settle for anything less than that.

*from the beautiful and extraordinarily wise poem “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop


3 thoughts on “Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster.*

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