Love Letters, Part Three

Dear J.,

Is it possible to love someone before we've even kissed? Even if we never end up kissing? Before we've even spent more than a few moments alone? I don't even know what it is about you that so attracts me. I get totally flustered around you. I've been told that my face gets red when I talk about you, and I'm sure it's true.

Maybe it's because for all your brilliance, you seem to have some of the same insecurities I do. When you open up to me, I feel incredibly protective. I want to wrap you up in my arms and kiss you all day and night, ply you with encouragement, make you a superstar. I find it really easy to believe in you, more than in myself. I find it infinitely cute when you talk about babies or kids; boys don't usually openly declare they've found anyone under 15 remotely adorable. I'm skittish, nervous to tell you things, yet filled with the converse desire to tell you everything because, somehow, I think you'll understand.

You're charming without trying to be. It's in part your selflessness that endears you to me. I'm shocked there aren't girls lining up around the block for the chance to talk to you. (Wait. Maybe there are.) I promised myself for New Year's I would stop thinking about you, would banish you from my mind once and for all, but I can't. The way you smile, the way you laugh, the way you manage to surprise me, whether with a tattoo or a risk, are all unforgettable. Maybe I'm totally crazy and seeing what doesn't exist, mirages spun solely from my imagination. Maybe there's a good reason I haven't been able to focus on anything or anyone else for months now. I guess that's up to you to decide. Whenever you're ready, even if that day never comes, I'll be here. R


October 2004

Hey, Caleb—

So I was walking through the Met and saw this harpsichord and thought of you. The instrument section is dusty and unloved, but then you get to this enormous, baroque bit of gold leaf decadence and it's just overwhelming. Why would anyone carve a scallop-shell chair there, at the end, and then carve a life-size god and goddess as spectators? My mind being what it is, I could only think "public orgy."

Then, drifting, I imagined myself as a nimble-fingered player, you teasing me from beneath the bench until I can no longer patter down the plectrum, while all manner of Hellenic lovelies watch, mostly in mild disbelief that such action would be unfolding there among the pianofortes. "Won't anyone else play?" I'd ask as my hand left the keyboard, and someone would take up the tune. Others would join.

There'd be that moment when another lifts his lover up onto the lid, gingerly at first, fearing that this antique won't take the weight of two or the twist of their bodies. Is it bad of me to imagine you lying next to them with some gentle boy kissing your body? I would be watching with eyes half closed, in the scallop, toes curled into the merman's back, feeling the contour of the curve hard and cool against the arch of my foot. I can just imagine myself laughing as he begins to get you off, that sly smile that would spread after you turn to me. Then again, maybe you'd forget me for a few minutes. I'd like that just as much. Just as long as you're thinking of me now.

Much love, D

PS: Almost forgot, I read that the carver charged admission to let others come see it, back in the 17th century. I'm not above making a little money with our tableaux, if you're up for a little art-napping.


Dear Ben,

I miss you so much and I think about living with you all the time—lately it's been the idea of sharing a bed, the idea that no matter how busy our days are, we'll get to sleep next to each other every night. I got used to it when we lived in San Francisco, but now I think about waking up in the middle of the night beside your body, snuggling up to you after a bad dream or resting just a fingertip on your shoulder when it was hot.

Maybe some days we'll set the alarm early and snuggle half-awake, maybe some nights we'll stay up late to make love in the dark. Other times we'll sleep like we're dead, but our bodies will know we're near each other and sleep the better for it. Going to bed is when I miss you most, when it's easiest to pretend you're there—close my eyes and feel your chest pressing against my back and your arm wrapping around me. When we first started sleeping together you used to push down on my head with your chin, our knees and elbows were always in the wrong place, I never felt comfortable relaxing the weight of my head into your arm. But now we fit together like puzzle pieces, and that's one thing we've never forgotten. However mad or unhappy we are, we can always share a bed, whether it be above the kitchen in a rickety college house, two mattresses on the floor of your dorm room, the tiny bed that seemed all springs at the little inn where we arrived at 10 to be the only guests, facing away from each other in sleeping bags on your friend's roommate's bed in L.A. . . . . There's nothing like sleeping next to you.

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