“The body builds up a protective shield around areas that have been vulnerable… When we bring loving attention and presence to our physical intimacy, we breathe fresh life into parts of the body that may not have experienced such energy…”
(from Sexy Spirit by Freya Watson)
5th March 2002
It’s been two weeks since we met and I haven’t heard a word. I’m not sure what to say. I’ve been trying to give you time and space to reach whatever conclusions you need to on your own, and allowing my own feelings to settle again. But I’m starting to get a little nervous in the absence of anything from you. As usual, I’m sure there’s a perfectly rational explanation for why you haven’t been in touch but I would love to hear from you – even if it’s just a few lines to let me know that everything is okay and how you feel after our few days together. We got to have time alone finally, after all this time, and they were some beautiful hours we shared – and now nothing. I’m trying not to read too much into the silence but it can be difficult trying to stop the mind from jumping to conclusions.
It was so weird to feel my knees buckle at the first sight of you at the airport and to know that all of this is a reality rather than a figment of my imagination. I don’t think my knees have ever given way like that before! It was so amazing to know that I had you to myself for a while. It was wonderful to share ordinary stuff with you – listening to music, chatting, being able to reach out and touch your face. All the things that ordinary couples do that we haven’t been able to. In the last few months, with the gap in communication between us, it had started to feel a little dream-like but now it feels real again. Thank you for letting me come visit.
The look in your eyes as we parted has stayed with me, though, and I wonder what you were thinking. You looked so desperately sad, broken almost. It has been haunting me. And now, since I haven‘t heard anything from you, I’m wondering if there was something you weren’t telling me. As I looked back at you when I drove off in a cab, it was almost as if you knew you were looking at me for the last time, although for me it felt like the beginning of something new.
See, for me, the trip was the confirmation that I was hoping for. It confirmed for me that I do want to be with you, to see if we can start a life together. I didn’t want to say anything before I came out to visit but I was hoping that meeting you would make that clear in my mind, one way or another. Now that we are both free to make that decision, I was conscious that one of us might have had a change of heart, or that the reality of meeting might have been entirely different to our emails and phone conversations. These things happen, don’t they? People sometimes have a wake-up call when they’re presented with the reality of their dreams. But I still feel as I did and I’m being honest here – putting my heart on the line and saying, if you want to take this further then I do too. I’m ready, Mark, to do whatever it takes now to allow us to be together.
The other thing the trip brought up for me, which I wasn’t expecting, was the realization that I haven’t fully made love to any man yet. It’s a slightly painful admission to make at this stage of my life. When you first re-entered my life, I was brought forcefully to a place of recognizing that I’d sold out on my dreams of what was possible in love and sex. You reminded me of how deep that connection can be and I couldn’t fail to see the contrast between what is possible and what I’ve been living. The natural consequence of that realization was also recognizing that I haven’t fully shared deep love in a physical way with another yet – not in the way that I believe is possible. Sure, I’ve had sex – but I haven’t really made love.
I think part of me was expecting our ‘first time’ to be momentous – in the same way that our kisses have been. I hope this doesn’t offend or hurt in any way, but it was anything but momentous for me. It felt as if I was numb and couldn’t really feel you properly, whatever the reason for that was. I’ve been so sensitive to you in so many other ways that I don’t understand how I couldn’t feel you inside me. It’s not something I have ever experienced before with a lover and I’m at a loss to explain why it felt that way. It was so different to what I was unconsciously expecting that it has brought up a mountain of regret for me. Regret that it hasn’t yet happened for me in the way that I know it can. Regret that I’ve been happy accepting mediocre when, deep down, I should know better. Regret that when we finally had the chance to consummate our relationship, it didn’t do justice to the strength of what we feel.
And maybe that last point is really the crux of it. Somehow we – or maybe it was just me? – were unable to translate the intensity of our love through the physical body. It just didn’t seem to happen. I feel like we let ourselves down in some way by just carrying on with sex when it wasn’t really the connection it could have been. Perhaps I should have been honest enough to say it, but I didn’t want to ruin the short time we had. I’m even partly sorry I slept with you and didn’t wait until circumstances felt right, although I think the ’teenage me’ would have wanted it so, hey, at least she’s happy!
I know that sounds a little heavy – and it’s not really meant to. I’m just honestly admitting something and I hope you can accept it from me. After us being on the same page about so many different things, I’m assuming that you probably felt some of what I felt too – though obviously not to the extent of numbness or we wouldn’t have got to have sex at all!
I guess the bright side of it is knowing that the first ’real’ time is still ahead of me. I can still look forward to the time when I do feel that total physical connection with another. Will it be with you? How could I hope for anything else after all of this. Maybe we were both just under too much pressure.
And, if I’m going to continue being honest, I have to confess a little sneaking fear under all of this. Dare I name it? I’m wondering if the flatness that I felt when we slept together, and the silence from your side since then, is an indication that finally having sex with me has released you from the hold this affair has had on you. A very quiet voice that I’m trying to ignore is whispering in my ear, saying, ‘what if all he needed to do was to finally get to sleep with his childhood sweetheart and get it out of his system?’ What if it acted like some kind of exorcism? Is this true, Mark? If it is, I’d much rather know than be sitting in silence, wondering.
I also now understand how lonely you’ve been, somewhere new without the support of any friends. I hope you don’t do anything foolish in your loneliness, leaning on some crutch to get you through when it might be more damaging in the long run. I’ve seen too many people turn to drink, drugs or sex to get them through tough times, only to end up more stuck than they would have been had they just tried to tough it out a bit longer. It’s not that I begrudge you comfort – even if it comes in the form of another pair of arms. How could I hold that against you? But I’m praying hard you don’t sell yourself short after all we’ve been through. I hope you’re strong enough to stick with it that bit longer until everything gets a bit easier.
It will get easier, Mark, I know it will. I promise you. Periods like this don’t stay forever and life as normal – whatever shape that comes in – will return at some stage. I hope when it does that I don’t forget what I’m learning through all of this. And I hope it brings us, and those close to us, the peace and happiness that we’re longing for.
(The Blog Novel of the Letters unfolds here weekly during the autumn and winter. If you’d like to be alerted as they are published, please just ‘follow’ my blog).