What good is a letter if you never send it? A very good question.
Well, just as some words are left unsaid, some letters remain at the bottom of a drawer. Because that’s where you’ve hastily stashed them away right after you were done writing. You don’t know what I’m talking about? You’ve never done this before? Good for you. God knows I have.
Here’s one of them.
Did you know that thinking of you still makes me so sad? Sometimes I think it’s because I know that I will never be the one you want to fall asleep and wake up to. I hate the thought, but I suppose there is someone else whose eyes are your very own dawn, your very own dusk; whose taste is the only flavor that doesn’t feel odd or wrong in your mouth.
There’s something else, though, that makes me even sadder: to wonder whether I’ll ever see you again. To think that maybe I won’t is breaking my heart. Over and over again. Of course, there’s nothing original about any of this. It’s a cliché, the size of a billboard. It’s hard to miss. To me, though, it feels painfully unique. Much like an original Van Gogh; like it should be framed and hung up in the Louvre. Or in one of those peculiar cafés that support local artists and always smell funky (that strange mix of stale cigarette smoke, coffee and incense).
It’s strange to think that hearts are broken and the world just goes on and no one gives a shit. Did you know that the average heart beats 100, 000 times in a day? I’ve been wondering how many hearts are broken in a day and whether this means they start beating faster or slower or they just stop altogether and whether any of this is factored into the calculation. I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to break a heart and not even know it. Have you ever wondered about something like this? I think you might not even know that you’re breaking my heart. I really think you don’t.
I never told you: did you know that I’d be happy to simply sit next to you and not say a word? Every now and then, I would catch a glimpse of your eyes or your smile or the way your hands can’t stop talking even when you don’t say a word. It would still break my heart, but it would be a different kind of heartbreak. More bearable. In a way, thinking of you is like listening to a requiem: it pulls apart each and every corner of the soul and yet it’s impossible to stop. It’s so heart-wrenchingly, hopelessly and incomparably beautiful. I keep thinking of you – a silent lament; lacrimosa. Nothing’s ever made me feel so alive and so numb at the same time.
You must think I’m silly or crazy or maybe just a child to think and feel the way I do. Get over it, you might say. I guess that’s the reasonable thing to do. Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to think of you differently. I might simply think of you as that one beautiful and sad and inspiring boy who made me write all these words, hushed songs and love letters (who made me drink and smoke a little too much for a while). If I was an instrument, I could simply think of you as the one who pulled one of my strings, pressed one of my keys and created so much music, by accident. The most beautiful melody, just by accident. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s all you were supposed to do. And maybe I should be thankful for that. Someday I will.
No more ‘I love you’s.
PS: There’s a soundtrack, too. In case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been such a lazy blogger lately: I’ve been dabbling in songwriting, This is what it sounds like (but watch out, the sound quality is quite crappy): https://soundcloud.com/lisa-wer
Dear Mr. Grinch,
I get it after all.
Why you, why some people simply hate Christmas. It all makes sense now.
I’ve never been one of you. I may have been an elf in a former life, or a Who at least. I love the lights, ornaments, carefully picking out presents, writing Christmas cards, hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows. If it was up to me, I’d be celebrating Christmas all year.
Not just because of these little things I just listed of course, also because – most importantly – Christmas is about spending time with people you love. And I suppose that’s where it gets complicated, unbearable even, for some of us.
This had never occurred to me until one particular conversation with a colleague some time ago.
Me: Aren’t you looking forward to Christmas, too? It’s my favorite time of the year!
Me: … oh … how come?
Her: My father passed away on Christmas.
Me: Oh, I’m sorry … then that’s understandable of course …
The thing is, though, I didn’t really get it. I just thought I did. Besides, it was the only reply I could think of that made a little sense when someone tells you something awful like this.
Two days ago I got a phone call. It was my dad. I’d just sent him a picture of the heap of Christmas cookies I’d been making with my roommates. There’s no way on earth I could have seen it coming.
His voice gave him away immediately, though: shaky and sort of muffled. I felt my heart sink, right past my stomach, down to the very tip of my toes. Your dad isn’t supposed to call you in a shaky and muffled voice. If anyone, it should be your mom. My dad doesn’t give hugs unless he’s forced to. He’s a practical man down to his very core. When my sister told him she was pregnant (sort of a little too young, sort of not at the right time), he just shrugged and said: Things happen. He doesn’t f***ing talk like this unless something’s really wrong. And it was.
A death in the family or within your closest group of friends always feels like a smack in the face. This one felt like being punched with a crowbar. I sat down and mumbled something along the lines of I can’t believe it, this is terrible, I don’t know what to say. Then my mom took over the phone because, clearly, my dad was in no shape to continue this conversation; especially with me being the eloquent dialog partner that I was at this very moment.
I spent the rest of the night sorting through all sorts of emotions, fairly unsuccessful. I was trying to come up with a brilliant message to send to my sister, because this terrible piece of news hit much closer to her home. I didn’t want to call her because if I could’t come up with a couple of words in writing, how was I supposed to say something remotely resembling a sentence. It took me hours and the words still felt inadequate and silly and unhelpful. I sent the message anyways because I wanted her to know that I was thinking about her. Because I was, all night.
I still am. I’m thinking about her and her husband who’ve been through so much already. I’m thinking about my two wonderful nephews, in particular the older one of the two, who’s already had so many losses to claim in his short life that it’s breaking my heart whenever I think about it. I’m thinking about my dad’s voice. I’m thinking and thinking and it all seems so horrifying that at times I catch myself wondering whether none of this has actually happened and it’s all just a terrible nightmare.
I’m thinking and thinking –
and I get it.
At the same time, I don’t feel like it. I still love Christmas. I’m dreading this year’s holidays but I’m hoping they’re going to be like a little break from the days filled with grief, confusion and anger that are lying ahead.
This is not an anti-Christmas manifesto. If anything, I hope it’s a reminder for all of you to be grateful for your family and friends, a reminder to let them know how much you care (more often, we should tell each other every single day), a reminder to be there for each other, especially during the hard times.
Have a wonderful Christmas filled with laughter and love