This all should come as no surprise; I know you’ve sensed the rumbling for the past few months. This is really my only option, although I’m surprised this final decision came so early in my life. Thirty-six is not so ‘long in the tooth’ and there will be those who’ll question, but you and I know the whys and wherefores.
If I allow myself (and believe me I only do so now I know I won’t ever see you again) I can imagine what being with me must have cost you. There are plenty of people who are the partners of cripples, the sick, but my disease (such that it is) is too unique to allow for a support group, or even be defined.
For you to have kept with me these past three years is a miracle I have a hard time swallowing. My parents gave up (I’ll be forever convinced they drove their car off the road that night; accidents are so merciful), but you hung-in and fought, a fight neither of us could ever win. You came taped-up into the ring every damn day (allow me the metaphors, it’s all I have) and I loved you back—how could I not?—while the bells kept forever ringing for another round. My deepest regret, more then never owning a computer or having to wait for you to program the TIVO (funny, the little things really do add up) was making my disease yours.
I was just selfish—God, I hate the thought—but I was. If I hadn’t wanted you so badly; if your deep brown eyes hadn’t entranced me and I hadn’t fallen so hard for your soft smile and deep laugh I could have turned away when you said you loved me and not have dragged you into the maelstrom that is my curse. But like I said, I was selfish.
For those brief seconds when you hugged me, I was a normal man.
Funny, anger hasn’t visited me in these last hours. In acquiescence I sense peace. I only really feel regret, regret for the years I bore you under the strain of my affliction (I am reminded of the doctor who called it my “power” and said I was actually better off without a cell phone). I know you stayed of your own free will, but again, if I hadn’t been so selfish I would have turned away at the first sign of your love.
I’d done so too many times before.
Next to you what I cherish is my books. I found them early on, before the world closed to me and all I could have was books, pad and paper. My life was saved because I could open a cover and travel into the words written on the page (where else could I travel to?); like the traveling I did looking into your eyes or listening to your breathing when you napped next to me. I want your brother Billy to have them. I can’t carry all those hard covers where I’m going...wherever that happens to be. He kind of likes my books, though he is too cool to admit. For you, I left that book of poetry by Rimbaud. Although dark and sad, it is one of my favorites and in a way is in perfect keeping with what I will do the minutes I end this letter and seal the envelope. Rimbaud walked out of his life into a self-imposed exile and when he was heard from again, some ten years or so later, he was embittered, brooding and drunk as when he left. I don’t have the monkey-on-my-back of alcoholism, but I do have my own monkey and God knows I am embittered.
Keep the Rimbaud so you’ll always know I am out there someplace, but unlike him, never to return.
I have considered ingratiating myself into a rural farming community, maybe ‘go Amish’, or trying to make my way to a Kibbutz, but they all have machines, quieter though their lives are. There is a lot to be said for a simple life... I just have not ever lived it, nor considered it until this moment. That’s not the truth of course. You and I both know I considered it since the first grade when the clocks in my classroom started spinning backward when I passed under them.
I wonder what I will find on my search. There has to be other people out there like me, or with afflictions close enough to mine that makes living everyday nearly impossible. Maybe I can find a bunch of like-minded folks and build a place where we can avoid all of our specific terrible reactions to the modern world. Can you imagine what a commune like that would be like?
You belong in the world of the living, not a world of plastic and glass. You need to benefit from modern life, not be afraid of electric motors or WIFI. You need to live far from a man like me who has never truly lived. I will always and forever love you, but I need go now to a quieter place. A place without buzz, a place where I won’t be a danger to myself or anyone else.
I only hope I find this place as much as I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me.