“I don’t want to write about you,” I said. Adding you to the narrative would make you real in a way I’m not prepared to risk or handle. This is a place that defines me, that nails my history down to the page, that makes things legitimate, that allows my future self to remember. We were wrapped together as completely as two people might be, but I was not so sure I would survive bringing you back with me, I was not sure I would survive binding you to my story. I do not want to lose myself to a fire again.
Yet here I am, three in the morning, and the edges of my heart are dripping words onto a page two hundred kilometers from where I just saw you fall asleep. You wear my name on your tongue. I am your voice on the wire. You are terrified, but you remain. I am terrified, but I fight for you. You wear a ring that belonged to my dead. I wear your care as a protective halo. I am tearing down my walls even as you held on to me so tightly an imprint of your hand lived like a welcome shadow on my skin for days.
We have saddled ourselves with a thin leather of responsibility, but somehow it will be okay. We don’t know where we’re going, but we know we’re discovering it together.
I wrote this for you in a letter, but want to keep it here in my tender on-line cottage, a decade old and counting: “In the meantime, we don’t have to go alone into the dark night of the future. We can loiter together in the parking lot awhile, get extra batteries for our flashlights, talk about music, look at the stars, make out, ask each other questions, both teach and learn. ”
So here it is, you’re real now. Welcome to the story. You’re going to like it here.