To the boy of my heart,
- Because you said the world would be an easier place if it could be simplified to a list of dot points. Words, more often than not, confused you in their random collisions and duplicitous nature. You read silence like I read Calvino.
- Because we danced for hours beneath the sway of hundreds of delicate paper lanterns before you spoke to me. My heart beat in your chest as we sat side-by-side on the ancient breakwater and watched the sunrise. The briny dawn was more than a new day beginning.
- Because the salt of your skin was the same salt in the sea air, heavy on my tongue. And your absence tasted the same as your presence. It amplified an unquenchable thirst I carried half the time as longing, the other half as ecstasy. I ignored warnings that too much salt was bad for the heart.
- Because what you lacked in books, you made up for in music; a citadel of vinyl we adventured through, with you as my guide, until I almost knew the byways and hidden alleyways as well as you. So the right song, at the right time, became our most devastating weapon against each other.
- Because you forgot anniversaries and birthdays, never arrived on time and sometimes not at all. Then appeared with oriental lilies, for no reason other than you liked to watch them open in my apartment. Over the years, I came to imagine you around the corner every time I caught a hint of their perfume. But coffee is the great equaliser, olive branch, and space in silence, which does not require days to bloom ‘I’m sorry’.
- Because you pushed too hard and I pulled too hard and somehow, in the disastrous pas de deux of dissatisfaction and disaffection we thrived. Our disequilibrium a current energising our love. We cocooned ourselves with music and dancing, sheltering there from the worst tides we could inflict on each other.
- Because it is impossible to tether the sun. We did not need others’ conformity and certainty. We could not bind ourselves to each other, because I already had a ring, and paper and ink burn. We believed love transcended all if we needed it to.
- Because your ‘hello’ and ‘good night’ arrived without fail every day, at the right time, no matter where you were in the world. All those times we said it was over, and yours words kept arriving. Now I send myself ‘hello’ and ‘good night’ from your phone and pretend nothing has changed.
- Because death is simple and you are not. You hollowed to a husk in days, not over months or years. Your light faded like the sunset before me and now you sit in the flesh of a doppelganger. The endless night is a pool of tears I bathe in alone.
- Because I believe if I write a thousand letters, fold words like cranes into missives of hope, there will be a moment when you can read them and recognise me. All I have left are my time capsule words and the memories they protect.
- Because I want to believe I will once again feel the rush of you through me. Because I refuse to accept I have felt it for the last time.
- Because I am willing to bet against tomorrow, knowing I loved you then and I love you now.
- Because you have not gone and I cannot leave.
The girl of your heart
Published here for the first time.
(And for anyone with a sharp eye, yes, that’s Adam Byatt’s handwriting, and an old photo from the writing of Postmarked Piper’s Reach in 2012!)