INTIMATE LETTER TO MY EX-UNGIRLFRIEND
There is more to this episode which
caused me to quit you, more than meets
the eye. You deny very human sentiments,
the very ones you seek--but which don't
quite fit your ideal, your preconceived
notions as to what a relationship is and what
it is not. All neatly defined and packaged
for instant use.
I guess it's not so much me. You would have
done the same thing to another man. Perhaps
you've done this before, or something similar:
Entice a man then pretend you did not want him
in the first place and pretend the innocent victim
You are not to be believed. And to think: I loved you.
Maybe you don't like men the way men like
and love you, "so get thee to a nunnery."
If you don't want to be a nun, be something
which will withdraw your womanness from the world:
how you walk and talk and how you hold yourself
up with dignity--destroy all of that and you
might not be bothered by a man again.
The more I think about what happened, the
less hurt I feel and the more I feel sorry
for you, the more I pity you, that when pre-
sented with goodness, the laughter of my heart,
poetry, warmth and affection and caring, which
you did everything to cultivate and encourage, you,
at the selfsame time, rejected and suspected my love,
taking it almost as an attack. Your cultivated indifference I tolerated because I loved you more than your snub.
And I kept on believing that you would change. At one point I thought you had changed--or so you lead me to believe; but you had one more personality up your sleeve, which you used to try to trample on my dignity and my manhood.
I've had to run away from you lest you poison my
life beyond cure. Somehow it caught in your craw
that you might be mistaken for my girlfriend. What
a disaster for you. You told me: "It's not true. I'm
not your girlfriend," said emphatically so. You are a foolish woman. My love is not a bitter elixir to swallow, or something to be ashamed off.
At any rate, you do not wish to be wanted. You told
me that yourself. You have lots of cheek saying that.
For if you do not want to be wanted, wear sackcloth and
wear ugly shoes and dresses. Stop wearing scent and ear-
rings, and don't do anything to your hair and become an
old hag and let poets alone, for they, too, are sensitive
beings. You and your yogis have no monopoly on that.
Do not let a man take your arm as you walk close beside him; and do not reach across the table and take a man's hands, holding them for a long time and looking deeply into his eyes and smiling at him--the way you did with me. Don't do that, and no man will ever fall in love with you again. And you shall be rid of your enemy: Men who love and desire you.
You certainly pulled me into your web, and I was fool and
innocent enough to believe there was something growing between us, that there was more to us than just Saturday excursions, something more than walks and talks over coffee.
I'm a man. I want the passionate woman of you, too. Lips that I can kiss and kiss again. Breasts I can caress and celebrate with poems and delight and enter rediscovered caverns where unknown treasures lay buried. I want that too. You want me that way, too, but you deny even that. I never pressured you for anything. I was ready to wait the rest of the year for you for a change in your heart, because I was looking beyond a fleeting summer romance to the future of us. So unless you change, there is nothing left of us except a few empty coffee cups and the residue of our shadows left on the beach.
You told me you wanted to change, and I was willing to stand by you, I wanted to help you escape from you protective tower, which you wanted to topple to be free from a flat past and profession. I was there to encourage and defend you if need be. But you did not want to change anything; you liked to be in your tower, where feelings are tightly controlled and you are safe from unknown roads of love, intimacy and lovers' joys and laughter.
This journey of our lives is for the exploration of our
selves and for the expression of love, not denial of love.
Don't reject love and its mystery. Love is love.
I want to live! I don't want to be locked up in your isolated tower. I want to be presented to the world as the man who loves you. I don't want you to pretend you are not with me when we are together. I am very real and very much a part of your life, whether you realize that or not.
This letter was written by the man who still loves you.
But perhaps you don't understand that, either.
I'll end here.
On the Feast of the Prophet Elias
7 July 1999