I know you do not remember me as fondly as I do you. I know that thoughts of me are nightmares to you…
I do not know why I am writing you this letter. I will probably never mail it to you but I need some kind of release; even if it’s just this plain white paper that will hear these words, it’ll help me not to explode with the pressure of them.
I know you do not remember me as fondly as I do you. I know that thoughts of me are nightmares to you and that scar on your cheek doesn’t make it any easier to forget but still I write, because my memory of you is frozen in time. I do not see that scar when I think of you. I see the boy that you once were. I see not your wheelchair but your long limbs as you flew your kite like in that picture… Do you remember that picture I loved and still love so much? The one where your face, scarless, is smiling up at the sky as your hands wind your blue kite? I have had it made into a painting, it hangs over the table on which I write this letter and even if I hadn’t even met you then, even though it is years after that picture is taken that we are anything to each other, my memory of you refuses to update itself. The smiling boy never grows up to become an angry man.
I know you will not believe me when I say that not a day goes by that I do not think of you, but it is true. Every day something reminds me of the particulars that made you. More often than not, I smell your perfume on the street or I hear your voice from the throat of the meat seller. I see your smile on the face of the man who washes my car and I want to weep but there are no tears.
Do you hate me? What did they tell you was the reason why I left? I was still there when they amputated your left hand but when the doctor said you would never walk again, I couldn’t stay; I knew you would say it wasn’t my fault, that you didn’t blame me, but I would blame myself every day until my last day. I had to leave. I couldn’t bear seeing you that way. I couldn’t bear you seeing me see you that way and so I left the hospital and I never came back.
I have nightmares of that day, of the accident… I hear the car crash and I hear myself scream before I wake up. After these dreams, I feel so guilty that I want to desperately believe it wasn’t my fault. It was an argument, we were both at fault, but I look and see that my two hands are present, that I can walk around my room with my two legs and I can’t absolve myself.
Maybe you will not believe it, but I will say it anyway; I love you. I never stopped. I know you wouldn’t have blamed me if I’d stayed but you blame me for leaving. I am not sorry I left. We could never have been lovers after the accident. We would have just been partners in resentment. At least I know I still resent myself.
I want to write more but I don’t know what to write. Do you still butter your bread on the outside? I’m sorry, that’s a silly question but I hope it made you laugh. I hope you found love again. I didn’t. I am not lonely; I don’t even think I would be able to love someone else. If I eventually mail this to you, feel free to never reply. Goodbye.
The estranged love of your life.
I have waited for this letter since I was discharged. It is exactly three years, four months and five days. I do not hate you. The scar on my cheek has faded and I am learning to walk again. I go for therapy every week and take a few steps on my own. The doctor was wrong. After I woke up and they told me you were gone, I knew it was because you blamed yourself. I still believe it wasn’t your fault and I also still love you. I never stopped and I am not an angry man. And no, I do not butter my bread on the outside anymore. It’s really hard to do that with one hand. Come back home and help me do it.
The one-handed love of your life
Image by dellxps15 from Pixabay (modified)