Hopes and Memories
Edited by Elizabeth Rose
Loving you, loving me, and other acts of hope/lessness
You always say if the first sentence does not captivate you, you won’t give the book a chance. I hope dozens will read this letter before it ever reaches you. Archived away, lost in the sea of online documents. I hope you never see the crossed-out lines of poetry, and safely stored letters I wrote to you, wondering how I am able to feel deeply and hold a whirlwind of emotions again, after so long. You may be my last sentence, M. The one person that splits a life into before and after, that person we sometimes wish we never met, and curse ourselves for not meeting sooner. But I still have a whole book to write, and within it a life of twists and turns to experience. So please do not read this letter, not just yet. I cannot let go of the sweet torturous what ifs, buts, and maybes - the imperceptible direction of the lines we choose to tread, wherein each junction offers a horizon of possibilities we may never walk.
By nature, I am not an impulsive person, and spontaneity is not my modus operandi. To put it simply, and for the modern audience - too much of a Virgo, not nearly enough of a Saggitarius. Being always tactful, trepidatious, with my words and averting from conflict at all costs has muted my ability to fully feel the scope of emotions - I quickly rationalise injustices inflicted, and am consumed by the guilt of hurting someone else. I am best at standing still, while you run a marathon. A person of calm demeanour, but one wearing an armour of cautiousness, making it hard to move, making it excruciating to act in curiosity, in wonder, or explore the “why not” situations. I avoid risk. Then November weekend came, spent under a blue umbrella with you, attentive and seeing, smelling, tasting the world more profoundly than I have ever known before. As you studied carefully each burgundy tile of the cityscape, I felt the ground shift underneath my feet.
I get goosebumps when you say I’ve changed your life. If you could only know what utter havoc you’ve released in mine, and the enamouring new melody you’ve introduced to my fine-tuned orchestra. Whenever those golden-tinted green eyes meet mine, I feel peace. Loving you became about freedom, and wishing for the one you love to spur further and higher, and to fulfil even the smallest of dreams. That’s not the love I have ever known before. Yet despite the connection between us, I never think we could be together. I often mumble beneath my breath, “likelier to walk on the moon, than hand in hand with you.” I do not like to risk what I have; if life were a gambling game, say poker, and changing in any way the current limbo I’m in, even for better, each time, I would choose to fold. I am left standing still, my feet won’t move an inch; once you leave, warm beads of tears will run down my face, and I shall shake like a reed in the wind, a missed chance at a whole new path of life. Hopelessness is a lack of bravery; and before you I stand a coward who loves you.
All of my words, said and unsaid seem like old-timey cliches. Back at university, analysing the works of Dante Aligheri and Francesco Petrarca always made me cringe; how can one write tomes of work filled with love and desire, based on a glance? How can one write without for once locking eyes in a shared understanding of the strange world around them? Ironically enough, perhaps I share a thing or two with Dante and Francesco. Neither Beatrice nor Laura knew about the intentions of their respective admirers. Dante and Francesco were masters of poetry, but hopeless men nevertheless. How can love on paper ever amount to words said as a leap of faith, as an act of bravery, ready to slip and fall face down?
Loving you taught me that my own heart has mended, and that love can be beautiful, and calm, and giving. Loving you is pushing me out of my comfort zone; and I am dreaming bigger, and writing more than I did before. And maybe, I secretly hope you come across this letter. Maybe it makes you laugh, or it hurts your trust. Will you hate me, if I hope our story is the one yet to be written?