It was a photograph that gave me the strength to write this letter.
It was late and dark, and I had just arrived from a night out with some of the friends I made here. I was feeling blue, a sadness that touched me so deeply because it inspired regret, which, along with pity, are the saddest forms of sadness. The feeling invaded the house, but not so quickly. It took its time, pervasively seeping into every corner of the place: My tidy and lonely bed, which I made this morning in an impeccable army style, the kitchen, where I was boiling water to make coffee, the living room, where dry pine wood crackled in the fireplace, everywhere blue, so suddenly blue.
I sat by the fire, and reached for the wooden photo box I keep under the coffee table. I opened it, relishing on the subtle cracking of the old metal hinges. The pictures were all crammed in the box, piled in small frail stacks, which were ready to crumble at any time, like a medieval castle under attack. I played with them for a while, reminiscing over the days when I was younger, thinner, and happier. It's strange to think that your best days are behind you. On the one hand, it gives me an unprecedented sense of early accomplishment, but, on the other, it makes me wonder how long I can live off my memories. Furthermore, it makes me wonder if I've managed to gather enough good memories to carry me through the rest of my life. I know it sounds much more dramatic than it really is. But as those thoughts crossed my mind, zinging back and forth like bugs in a summer night, I found, at the bottom of the box, a letter-size picture I took of you when we both lived in New York.
I remember the day very vividly for, as you know by now, I must preserve the good memories like the treasures that they are. It was a hot and muggy summer afternoon, and we were strolling around Washington square, near NYU. You had your hair arranged in one long braid, which was held together at the end by a red elastic band you had kept from a box full of books the post office had delivered to you the day before. Your glasses were round and large, too large for your small face. But I remember how much pride you took in that particular frame and how adamant you were about keeping it. It took a long time for you to admit it, but you finally confessed, after months, that you liked them because they made you look like Janis Joplin. We laughed so hard at your confession because we didn't live in the 60s; we weren't hippies; and all we really knew about Janis Joplin was that she was a singer, she was hip, and crazy, and, what we called at the time, "whatever else."
Just the thought of you still brings a smile to my life.
Those were good times, my dear Lisa. As I held your picture in my hands, the fire blazing next to me, a glass of red wine by my side, I wondered what had become of you. It seems so unimportant to the world what I feel, or how I feel. It must be unimportant to most people. It certainly is to many I know, work, and deal with every day. But, for some reason, I wondered if you'd still care, or, at least, if you'd care as much as I do about you now. I feel a little lost, almost nonsensical, writing this letter to you because it has been so long since we last spoke, since we last saw each other. I'm a different man now, older, tired, wearier, and clearly more skeptical, almost colder. The words that once came to me so easily, invaded my heart with meaning and purpose, now seem to have deserted me like soldiers walking away from an overthrown dictator. I don't know if I am able to rightfully convey what I'm feeling right now, this strong urge to see you once again, to talk to you, to remember with you.
I hope this letter meets you soon enough, and I hope it finds you in a similar mindset as mine. You may think I'm trying to revive something long dead because I'm feeling lonely, or cast away. But nothing could be further from the truth. I'm writing, Lisa, because I miss you. Yes, we were lovers once. But that's not the reason why I am writing. I'm writing because I miss you, I miss what you are, what you mean, what you stand for, and what you believe in. I'm writing because I'd like to tell you that when I'm with you, I'm a happier man. A month ago, Josie told me you are considering moving to town. I know I could've called, or written you an e-mail, or sent you a telegram. Maybe I should've called you right away. But I prefer the letter, the handwritten, ink-on-paper missive. I hope I was able to show you a little bit of what I am today, and who I still love. My heart, dear Lisa, does not lie on the computer programs I write every day, nor on the money they provide. As always, and that hasn't changed, it lies somewhere else.
Talk to me.
Much, much love,