This is the last letter I will not send.
Last week I was still full of blossoms for you. I rode up on the elevator with a man who reminded me of you. How beautiful you were. Irish in part, said the man on the elevator. He said his mother’s name was Murphy. He marveled how he had never seen me before. I’ve been here all the time.
I saw him three times. Then not again. The third time, I walked behind him. He was limping. badly.
Connor, for twenty-three years I loved you. I was entranced by the beauty of your being. The wildness, the seriousness, and, I have to confess, the suffering, too. You guys do that to attract us, don’t you? Put on the suffering act. But once we are attracted, strangely enough you turn away. You choose the ones who don’t care. I guess this keeps your suffering intact.
The Christmas card I sent you came back. I am glad. I loved you so much. You and your many women. You always loved the ones who did not care.
You made me believe I was not beautiful, not as interesting as the others, those mysterious, distant, unattainable ones. It never occurred to me till now how wrong you were. I am beautiful. Very much so. I always was. Why did you never see my beauty? Why were you cold? Because I loved you?
I know you didn’t want the happiness offered.
You have colored my life. I thought I was a mouse, a Cinderella of no consequence. I thought I would never amount to anything, because you didn’t seem to think I would ever amount to anything.
How awkwardly we choose our loves. I, too, was looking to the wrong one, you.
I wanted to be loved like you loved Lily. With total longing and abandon. I remember sitting with her at the bottom of the staircase, talking of oranges and immortality. You came along and claimed her to bed and she went. Shortly after that she left for good. She was probably bored with your whiskey-drenched, soul-searching aches and your Weltschmerz.
Mostly, I guess, I too loved my own longing, for the beauty in you that wasn't entirely real. Handsome? Yes. Tall, strong, rugged, well-proportioned. Nice hair. But your eyes were small, and too often blood-shot. And lots of pock marks in your face.
How I was humbled by loving you. I am still surprised at how beautiful I am and how I still don’t believe it. I look in the mirror. I shine. But if I am so beautiful, I was certainly even more beautiful twenty-three years ago. And if I was so beautiful then, how could you not have loved me?
I walked around campus dreaming of you. How you would touch me, love me. How we would stand together in the sun of spring, your tall head bent low. I loved you so much, dear Connor. Why could you not love me?
I saw you dance once at a party at some professor's house. I wanted to dance with you. You never asked. I have come a long way. These days I dance by myself.
I have spent twenty-three years doing the most fascinating things without you.
This is my year of learning how to parallel park. This is my year of learning how to let go of you.