Tuesday, August 13

Two Weeks Later

I wrote this e-mail two weeks ago in, what you will soon deduce to be, a haggardly emotional state. Johanna told me to sleep on what I’d written before I sent it. The next evening I corrected a few typos and pressed send. In an effort to be more open and such, I shared this with Helen, who, after dispensing her advice, told me that this e-mail would fit in quite well here. And so I offer it up as both an exercise in exorcism and as a full-stop to the things I’ve been writing about my trip to the Netherlands. No-one reads this shit anymore, so to put something so personal on here—something that I never intended anyone but Johanna to read—makes no difference to me. Everything ends. Sometimes well, sometimes badly.



Johanna,—

I’m going to start writing about this weekend & wished to send you this before I did so. It seemed the polite & courteous thing to do.

How are you? I wish you could sleep better.

Thank-you for a lovely weekend.

Though that will probably read insincerely with what I’m about to tell you. I am, for want of a better phrase, totally fucked up right now. The tiredness probably isn’t helping but I was totally fucked up before the tiredness kicked in. I couldn’t sleep last night. I listened to you falling asleep (& listened to you talking Dutch in yr sleep!) & I slowly moved to the other side of the bed, away from you. I curled up there & cried. I don’t really know why, but maybe I do; I dunno.

The thing is, I don’t want you to take any of this e-mail the wrong way, but there is a strong chance you will. To me, things never seemed as good as they were on Friday night. Maybe it’s because of the hangover/lack of sleep that came after it. Everything seemed right on Friday night. If I could have just had it when we were on the bench & Sam was talking to her friends & you & I were talking & you were playing barmaid underneath the table with yr excellent beer-pouring skills... I wish it could have just ended then & then I could have been happy. Things progress, they have to. By the end of the night, you & I seemed to be very slowly separating—at least in my mind—& when I left you asleep in the downstairs doorway I knew it already.

That gap seemed to expand over the next few days. Maybe that was just something I perceived. Either way, I felt it & didn’t know what to do. I knew that I was tired & feeling ill & sometimes I can’t help how I feel, no matter who I’m with. Despite that, we shared what I thought were lovely moments: when we were talking outside of the museum about our families, & when I bought tobacco on Sunday morning (before those fucking kids came along); moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything & moments that I don’t/can’t share with other people.

I think that what it came to Sunday night, when I was listening to you fall asleep, were two things:

Firstly, I thought you became a stranger to me. It broke my heart because it seemed as if we were very distant even though we were in the same bed. Sadder still, that we had started off close and completely through a fault of my own—a fault that I constantly noticed, especially on Saturday night—were becoming strangers. It was my fault, not yours. I can’t begin to explain why, or how, but I know it because I know it in feelings that I cannot communicate to you right now. It broke my heart. It made me hate myself. So I lied there and cried as still as I could with someone sleeping next to me.

Secondly, it made me realise myself as a failure: an interpersonal failure of the highest degree. I remember how we used to be when you were with Gerard, a couple of years ago. I know I was the whole ‘grass is greener’ person, but when I remembered that & how I felt we were last night I wanted to kill myself. I wondered how I could turn things so bad. How I could put someone off me so much—not in any sexual sense, you understand, but, you know, the whole thing. It made me realise that I just don’t fit in or belong anywhere. Us, with our matching neuroses & idiosyncrasies & ambitions, & I still feel like I don’t know you nor how to relate or communicate with you. I’ve spent too much of my life alone, I suppose, & I daresay it’s irreparable now.

But I know this is my problem, Johanna. And I’m not just saying that to spare you any indignation or guilt or ill-feelings. No, this is my entire problem. I feel like I’ve been flung out into space & slowly drifting away from the world, watching it spinning, helplessly travelling farther & farther away.

Because Johanna I don’t know anyone like you. You’re an amazing human being. If I was going to rot, I’d like some of my carbon to go into making a wonderful human like you. You’ve been amazing since the first time I met you... you still are, in all the ways you behave, the things you set out do, the things you do. I’m so happy—admittedly in my own strange way—to have you in my life.

After all this, it was as lovely weekend because there were moments in it where I couldn’t have asked for anything else with/for anyone else. So, thank-you. I just need to re-evaluate my entire life again. & stop crying. I’ve been crying all fucking day: airports, planes, trains, taxis, the garden, my bed, now this desk. My t-shirt is damp. It’s like the world’s most depressing wet t-shirt competition.

Hopelessly yours,
Rhys

PS I listened to what you said. I have just written this on Monday 29th July at 23:03GMT & will probably just press ‘send’ tomorrow evening. I can go back to work tomorrow & not have to think about a single fucking thing.

PPS Walking through Eindhoven this morning at daybreak was so incredibly beautiful it took my breath away. And, yes, I listened to ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.

[I have only made tiny edits to this after reading it today. I confess perhaps I was a bit sensitive, but I shall leave it all in there. One thing I thought of today—because I have been thinking about it a lot—is that this was the longest I have spent with anyone constantly for years! I am a person who needs alone-time; to process, unwind & recollect. When I remember this, I feel not so bad, because I survived it & I don’t hate you at the end of it & I pray you don’t hate me either. I’m no good with people, I know that, but to have spent so long with someone (seriously, the longest I’ve been with anyone consecutively for years) is, in retrospect, a remarkable achievement for me. I’m done typing now. This e-mail is too long. I hope you had another lovely day today.]

PPPS I miss you, really.

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