The Letter

This is the goodbye letter I sent to my long-time favorite person–the one I actually sent, not the 2,200-word tome I read and burned at the river. The latter remains sealed between his highest self and mine out of respect to the 45 years we’ve shared. But below is what his waking self deserved to receive, or at least what I needed to send him. I share it as a tool of my personal accountability, with great gratitude for your forbearance.

“…available people are the ones who are dangerous, because they confront us with the possibility of real intimacy and spiritual awakening…”

I have loved you for a very long time and, this round, was more committed than I have ever been to fostering our many-tiered connection with patience, compassion, and care. But I am taken aback that you would still describe me as an ally after that April 10 weekend.

I am long accustomed to you preening for female attention, but not to you overtly neutering our relationship to maintain the appearance of your sexual viability to a pretty, young woman in my presence. I am long accustomed to your hostility when you feel threatened, but not to how incontrovertibly cruel your words and actions were over those 24 hours.

It has forced me to get more real with myself about our dynamics. And here’s what I have realized.

I do not trust that you will treat my intuition, emotions, and sexuality with the respect, appreciation, and honesty they deserve. I do not trust that you will be in relationship with me except on the vacillating, undefined terms that serve your needs at the expense of my own. I do not trust that you will privilege our highest good over your ego. I do not even trust that you crave the intimacy I crave—the sort where you sleep limbs entwined and in fact entwine your physical and erotic and creative and heart selves as you build out your life.

So as much as I mourn a future stripped of my favorite person, all we were building together was a sand castle. Sustainable structures are never built to only one person’s specifications.

Given our recent exchanges, I have no faith you will metabolize these words right now, and I accept that. After some debate, I am typing them anyway to the best self you may someday more fully embody. The stand-up friend who would never tolerate anyone treating me badly and who has given me so many tools to love myself and him. The lover who would squeeze my hand over the significance of the dove settling next to me on my fire escape as I write to you.

With that man—clear-hearted, gorgeously vulnerable, and, no doubt, furry as ever–I would be free to share all the intimacy in the world.

I will never forget the many ways you have saved me from myself, and do not doubt we’ll be in touch again. But after years of rigorous self-reckoning and healing, I am finally living with an open heart, and there is no indication you are willing to meet it halfway. That matters above all else.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy