“What cannot letters inspire? They have souls; they can speak; they have in them all that force which expresses the transports of the heart….”—Héloïse to Abelard
Over the years, I have played Cyrano de Bergerac. I have written love poems and love notes that others have given out to their intendeds and beloveds. My own love letters have always been private, for my eyes only. I refused to give the written affirmations of my heart to others. I can easily tell someone how I feel, but to see it in print, scribbled out in my own hand, is a permanent, indelible and tangible thing.
This year, I decided to share some of the Valentines I have written inspired by and about my exes, my currents, and my futures into one space. Here is a sampling of the letters I have written:
To the One Who Got Away:
I wrote this for something else (one of the many novel fragments I find myself starting but never finishing). When I re-read it, it described how I think of you:
- I crave him. The taste for him never leaves my mouth. His name is tattooed, etched onto the back of my throat so his name is the only one I know, the only one I remember to call. I love the sounds his name makes, how my tongue and lips form…He is so much, and I want so much. His body is imprinted on my body. The lines of my hands mark the paths and trajectory of our relationship. He’s a bad habit that the soul singers croon about. He is the yearning, the love that Donne, Dickinson, and others wrote about. But he is not mine. I can’t claim him, not yet. Our possibilities are limited, finite because he is not mine (not yet), yet my soul and body pant for him, my heartbeat races when I see him. Like the lover in the Songs of Solomon, he is my beloved.
Things have come and gone between us, but I am firm believer in second acts, rejuvenation, and restarts.
* * *
To He Who Shall Never Be Named:
Fuck you. Fuck your feelings. And fuck your life.
* * *
Dearest Mr. Wrong:
I really don’t miss you. I’m only saying kind words because my body has been calling out for a lovers touch. And you’re the closest thing to a lover I have had in months. Will you be my Valentines–even if it’s just for a few hours?
PS: Never mind. I found my vibrator, and that should work for what I really needed. Carry on.
* * *
A Short Memo
To: Smarty Pants
Date: Feb. 14
Re: Thanks but no thanks
You told me I smothered you. Funny, you called me for support, advice, and all-around good humor. I give and you take. You give me nothing. Thank you for teaching me a valuable lesson that what I give may not be enjoyed or appreciated. My time and attention are valuable and worth something. Thanks for helping me recognize that. And delete my number and any pleasant memories of me.
* * *
To Mr. Long Distance:
Wow it hasn’t been that long since we spoke. I appreciate what you have given me over the years. The ability to feel confident and sexy. The knowledge that someone desires me. But this won’t ever work. You have a litany of barriers school, work, exes, mama issues, etc. I am not perfect. And I am not seeking perfection. You never asked me to be. In relationship and I should not expect you to be perfect. I apologize for putting my desires and requests for a relationship into the friendship. And I apologize for trying to force girlfriend status into our friendship. I wish you all the best.
Your friend, Me
* * *
Honest to God, I need to get out of this area of the alphabet. I need to find a nice guy between the letters W through Z or Aa through Be. Men with J names only bring j-word feelings: jealous, jaded, jittery, and jinxed.
I only like my Js in Words with Friends of Monopoly now,
* * *
Dear Guy in the Corner of the Starbucks I Frequent:
Hi there. I see you too often. We bonded one day over our shared love for chai tea lattes. You’re cute. I’m cute. We flirt.
Do you like me? Check yes or no.
* * *
You are a magician with games and tricks for me. But I’m not a game to be played. I am not Terry McMillan. I don’t do disappearing acts very well. Unlike Houdini, you never broke all the locks on my heart. For that I am grateful because me completely wide open with you would have been disaster. Use your magic for good. I know you are capable of that. Thank you for teaching me a lesson: Now, poof and be gone.
All the best, Moi
* * *
To the One:
Where there is great love, there are always miracles.– Willa Cather
Here where I stand is a great love. I am hoping and wishing on the miracle that brings you here.
Trying my best to not sound like an Oleta Adams song but failing miserably, Moi
* * *
Dear Future Love:
I collect quotations, and I found this quote by Rainer Maria Rilke: ‘That’s love: Two lonely persons keep each other safe and touch each other and talk to each other.’
Are you lonely for me? I know I am lonely for you.
* * *
Dear Love: I want to make you an Easter basket. I want to make you socks and scarves and dish towels and sweaters. I want to be able to give you something out of love and kindness. I want to pamper you. I am selfish and I expect the same. But I am giver.
Slowly working on my needlecraft just for you,
* * *
Dear The One:
Where are you? Why haven’t you come? Don’t you know that I am lonely, terrified? I’ve been wanting since I was 14. Where are you?
That is my Charlotte from Sex in the City rant.
I know that I have to make myself ready.
I thought I was.
I keep finding out that I am not. I keep finding the ones who I think are the ones, but aren’t, can’t be, aren’t willing to be, who end up being lukewarm, wishy-washy, dead on arrival.
I keep searching you out. But I need to wait and be open.
I am hoping that this whole thing I am doing isn’t stupid, some new age mindfuck that will just make me more melancholy.
I need to find myself before I meet you. But damn, could I at least get someone who will spoon me at night every once and awhile on a consistent basis?
Trying to Do Better, Think Better, & Act Better, Me
* * *
Thanks for coming through. Thanks for making this belief I have in you real. Thanks for spooning me. I’m glad you’re here…finally.
All of my love, Me