One day I’m gonna sit down and write a long letter, to all the friends I have known
– Neil Young, Harvest Moon
Sometimes the screaming in my head is so loud. I hear all the people in my life who have hated me, my parents, my ex-husband, his parents. I hear all the people I have imagined hate me or perhaps they really did; people I’ve hardly known or people I’ve known well and failed or hurt with carelessness or people who hurt me purposefully or not.
But louder still than all this noise scream the stories pleading to be told and characters yelling at me to be heard, to have their space. There are images and paintings I don’t have the skill to accomplish.
It is these who drag my darkness out of me and demand to own it, to make it visible to the world, to lay me bare. I lay awake during the lonely hours of the night shushing at them all to be quiet – to leave me alone, to let me sleep. But they don’t. They keep at me until exhaustion wins out and at 4 I finally find the peace of sleep.
Does it happen to you?
It doesn’t matter if not because I know I can tell you anyway. I can tell you my darkest thoughts and know I won’t find one spec of recrimination, not one small raise of one judgemental eyebrow hair, not one second of hesitation in your reply.
It’s not often we find people like you in our lives. I fear I give you far less than you give me.
Sometimes I have imagined us as old old women, still writing our stories, still unsatisfied, still yearning for more, still delving our fingers into life. I imagine us sitting opposite your beach, with wine, lots of wine and dolphins (for no particular reason other than that we saw one once) and sunsets and we won’t dwell on the past but will still talk about our hopes for our futures even though we are both half glass people who expect the worst and not the best.
Remember at Varuna, that first time, when we were so full of hope and so wary of possible success. We hated the food but loved the fire, we hated other people’s writing but loved each other’s and we were brave enough to admit it to each other.
I knew then that you were someone real, a velveteen rabbit. I wish you could see what I see in you. A woman who knows who she is, who has made choices that are not always easy, a woman who hasn’t been crushed into the expectations of others, someone who charts her own path, writes her own words.
But mostly you are a woman who is so so kind. Kind enough that when I bare my soul you reach out so so tenderly and wrap my soul up in your arms.