This letter comes too late, and is too little an apology for the wrongness done. But it is all I have left to give you, save my heart, but you have always had that anyway.
I never would have believed that it would be me to leave for the final time. Never would have imagined that the absence of you, that this distance, this journey, that all these roads without you would prove too much for me to bear. But there was that one day…
That one day when I awoke from the dream of us and our life together as I had always wished it had been. You, too, know the cruelty of dreams, I know. I know. But my mind gifted too much of what I had been eternally asking for — a life together.
Have you ever had a dream that begins in the middle? The one where you’re already mid-motion and all the backstory of your current reality is already known to you? You could be a baker or a spy or a diplomat, and in your memories there will be the full knowing of a life having done that. Such was the dream of you and I. It was the reality I have always wanted for us and have too-long been denied.
When I woke that morning, torn from your embrace yet again — after a million similar dreams to be cast back into the mire of mundanity — to have only just kissed you, held you, known a life with you… I was bereft.
You have seen me at my worst. You have seen me despair and cry and border on suicide. But this was something else. I had become a man who no longer wished to die, but who was trapped in an endless cycle of wanting and not having. To be eternally starving and be denied food.
But this is nothing new, I thought. It was always this way. We are absent from one another. That is our defining characteristic. It is our default state.
But on that day, I broke. It was too real, too much of what I needed. I have waken a thousand mornings with the sudden loss of you in my arms and the thought that there would be a million more was more than I could bear. I needed it to end. I needed the dreams to stop.
I was told that the ending of it was a relief to you. I had not intended for it to happen that way, but I suppose that I engineered it so. I am sorry that the final good-bye came from someone else’s lips, and that I couldn’t see you one last time. But if putting all of this to an end is a relief for you, then I am glad. I am happy that you may have found peace at last.
I am in Italy now, as I always promised I someday would be, but last month I was in Ireland and there was a night when an illness took me. I was rushed to a hospital, as I had been so many years ago in Beijing, and once again, in those moments that I thought I would live to breathe no more, my last thoughts were of you.
I am forever for you. It has, perhaps, been a year now since the last time we spoke, and the dreams still come, still grant me wishes and then take them away. But I cannot pretend to think that I am not choosing this. I am the captain of a ship who is ignoring the North on his compass and everything in me screams to bring the ship about and set sail for those horizons where you live.
We may never speak again, you and I. We may never meet on that beach and spread our toes in the sand and watch the sunrise. But I am for you. Forever. For every life I have ever lived and every life there is yet to be, no matter if we meet as man and woman, as sea and sky, as light and its reflection, I am forever made whole only when you are with me.
I pray that someday, this message in a bottle will find you and you will remember me fondly when you do.