It begins with a book. Jorge Luis Borges
' book, Ficciones
, the 1962 edition, I don't know if there have been more editions since. The book has a colorful cover with all the essentials written in black block letters across the front. It has a smooth, soft cover and the corners are a bit rough from use. I wrote it to my boyfriend
, Scott, and we have since broken up. I've fallen out of love
with him since, though it was hard, and this slightly self-indulgent node
is the product of meandering thoughts of loneliness and a fear to face that them in my sleep.
The love letter proper consists of material on the inside cover, front and back, and bits of text throughout. I have provided page numbers and, where relevant, corresponding story names. But it is best to take it as a whole.
Hey Scott --
It is Nov. 10, 2000. I'm listening to BFF, their second cd, "Whatever and ever, amen," and I just got this nutty idea about giving you a sort of feelings-journal, to express some of what I feel for you, over time.
I plan on giving you this book, either at our one-month or on your birthday. I don't know yet. In any case, I want you to know how much I think about you. You can keep it private, or you can show it to whomever you please -- and if you want to, you can burn it, should things ever go wrong -- something I don't foresee happening, but you never know.
Why did I choose this book? Because (1) it's redundant. I have another book of Borges' collected fictions, so I don't need this one. (2) I love it. This book contains the stories I tried to tell you about, Oct. 28, before going to the Dreamgirls. Which was 2 days after we made it "official." ---- (3) This book has meaning to me. I bought it while in New York City, 1999. I had gone to the city for a much-needed break from the Wind Symphony, and I spent my day exploring the city and its subways. Eventually, though, I got tired of walking around, so I found a Barnes and Noble near Juilliard and browsed. I found this book, and with an Italian soda, I perched my self in a corner of the fourth floor of the store, which looked out on the busy streets below. I read a couple of stories and fell in love. I've kept it as a memory -- in fact, flipping through just now, I found a ticket stub for MoMA = Museum of Modern Art. I went there twice, to try to soak everything in. But you don't get the stub -- I'm keeping it!
I would like you to read not only the comments I write throught the book but also the stories themselves. If you don't like them -- well, fine then! I hope you like them, in any case. You'll probably want a dictionary nearby to aid you -- I never can read Borges without a good-sized dictionary. Well, anyway...
Loves and affections,
(13)Can you read my writing? If not, you can ask me to read for you. I wouldn't mind. Really.
(17)And again and again -- I l*** you
(23)I like this story (Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius), lots and lots
(31)Hmm...I miss you. Can't wait until tonight.
(36)There is a Guru concert tonight. I need to get earplugs. I need to practice. I need to do so many things. But what am I doing? Writing a future Scott. I wish you were here to distract me.
(43)Too early to call it love, too late to ever be the same.
(44)I just killed a pen, writing to you.
(49)Your eyes: like the marble in a fancy bank, rich green with streaks of sulfur.
(53)A couple days ago, I was in a really bad mood. I'm glad I'm not any more. Thanks for hanging in there. You're a real trooper.
(59)Well, I meant to write in this every day.
(63)I'm just thinking of everything that you're teaching me. You're introducing me to new kinds of music -- so far, Ben Folds Five and Radiohead. You're introducing me to new feelings: security, faith, and quiet longing. Quiet longing is something I don't think I've ever felt before. It happens when, as I am now, I am alone, and I think of you, and I don't want you here so that we can do anything, I just want you here to have you here, and to not have to say anything, just to have you here...
(68)(in the story, The Babylon Lottery) Getting to know you is like putting together this lotter: LIttle rules combine to form the reality we know. The less I know about you, the more I know. Does that make sense? Probably not.
(75)Thanksgiving Break. I haven't written as faithfully as I had promised, but oh well...
(78)You smile, and it's a rainbow.
(84)My last quote, for now.
(91)11-10 to 11-26 (our one-month) -- sixteen days for 174 pages, at least. So, 10+ a day, if not more.
(95)Your love fills me with love. I jump up and down, like an 8-year-old, waiting for the roller coaster.
(99)I'm waiting for you. It's always a challenge, working through these times when you go into a shell emotionally. It shows me how little I really know about you. I want to do the right thing, but if I do the wrong thing, I'm worried I'll force you into the shell.
(101)You are reading this upside down, because I am upside down. You have submerged my coldness and distance, you have exposed my sensitive and vulnerable side. It lies there, in the cool air, waiting for your sensual touch. Waiting, waiting, waiting...see you tonight!
(107)So, where are you now?
(119)My last quote for now, maybe more tonight.
(127)And here I am, writing in a book of Borges and listening to a BFF cd, so that you can be responsible. I think you're just tired. Not really. I am tired. I'm doing reeds right now. You're driving home, probably pulling in just now.
(134)I am making spaghetti. But still I am thinking of you. We talked yesterday, briefly. That was nice.
(152)Does this beat Hallmark, or what?
(162) I'm neglecting the back, and I'm thinking of you. You came to yet another of my concerts. I feel indebted to you -- you're so generous. It's as if I can kiss you now. I can feel the reality of your teeth, your jaw.
Well, here it is, one month into our relationship and I still don't have something onevery page of this book. I feel like such a dufus! That's me, for ya, I guess, big dreams but not-so-big results. Anyway, you'll be here in fifteen minutes. I will finish this. I'm so excited to be seeing you again -- and these feelings will not dissipate. I can't wait to ask you about your family -- although you'll probably just shrug and say, nothing much happened. Oh well. I hope this is the first of many milestones in our relationship.
That is the end of the letter, proper. I brought it, hidden inside my jacket pocket, to see Scott. I spent the night. The next morning, I almost gave it to him, but I did not. Two days later, he called the whole thing off.
I remember him, still.