I find it very strange not having you around. Disconcerting, and lonely. My life is now just monologue after monologue and nothing in between but the sense of my character rapidly disappearing. Everything I ever liked about myself has been drained out of me and the vessel where it once was, is empty. I could always communicate better on the page, but now I feel as if speech is something I can only spectate. That’s a dangerous thought to have, but there’s no one around to correct me. I’m talking shit because that’s what is in my proximity: I’m inside my own head which, if you haven’t noticed, is shoved very far up my own arse.
Alejandro is Spanish. He has a 17-year-old son with an English mother. They met when she was on an Erasmus year in North-West Spain. People take the piss out of Julio. He won “the most unnecessary use of words” award at work, but I like him. He always used to touch my shoulder as he passed me at the end of the day, saying something like “bye” or “see you tomorrow”. Until one time something happened, and he never did it again. It was about three weeks ago, and he was leaving as usual. As he was heading past me, I stopped him because I had something to say to him. Whilst I was taking a second to remember what it was, he told me he was sorry for touching my shoulder and that he won’t do it again. I said No Alejandro, it wasn’t that, that’s fine, before adding something about the meeting tomorrow. He never touched my shoulder again. He still says “bye”, as he walks past me on the way to the door, but he stops himself from fulfilling his European instinct because of the simple fact it was voiced in an up-tight English office. It’s not like I can say to him “Alejandro, please can you start touching my shoulder again, because I need the symbol of familiarity in this office of cold unfamiliarity?”. But that’s what I want.
But what about our relationship? Isn’t that most important thing here? I should be trying my utmost to put my feelings into words. The concepts of feeling and words are not in any way compatible for me, even though technically the former is the latter. It’s not an easy task. It hurt when I saw you changed you profile picture on Facebook. Because I was gone and there, staring at me from the top of my newsfeed, was the girl I love standing alone with no one beside her. And she was alone. And she was smiling, the kind of smile I know she can’t fake, because it only comes out like a ray of sunshine when she is genuinely happy. I spend so much effort making sure that everyone thinks I’m ok, that I never know if I’m happy or sad because I’m feeling nothing but self-pity. I miss your smile.
Rob’s a twat. You can tell this piece of shit hates himself too. Or he did, before he read every book worth reading on management. Now he gains a lot of self-worth from being successful in the workplace. But how successful he is in the workplace doesn’t have anything to do with how he deals with me. He looks at me like I’m a piece of shit on the bottom of his shoe. He’s just sent me an email about how we agreed I was meant to action something. Lies! It was him that was meant to action it (important: “actioning” is his turn of phrase, not mine). I hope Gary backs me up on this.
Have you ever been so lonely you get a headache? Or so lonely you can’t go home, so you cycle on one road for 10 miles, inadvertently arriving at the airport. If you have, you might imagine hopping on a plane and going somewhere just to get away, but of course you’d be as trapped there as you are here. But it would be nice if it wasn’t raining. I’m 23 and I have a libido to match. The pleasure of lying face up on my mattress alone is very short lived and incredibly depressing when I’m squeezing out the second or third helping of the day. But I like being alone. I was looking forward to having the flat to myself. There’s something I find nice about not doing the washing up, shitting when I want to and having the ability to just chill out without having to think about how it looks and whether it’s a good use of my time.
I’m a romantic. I remember with some nostalgia my teenage years. I carried with me a yearning for girls that was far from lustful but consisted of deep and meaningful crushes. They would dander through my daydreams but never escape the dreamscape. I wasn’t proactive and feared rejection more than I craved proximity. And I craved proximity like crazy. I didn’t get it until I was 18, and it wasn’t from my crushes but from whoever wanted it from me. We know men are meant to make the first move but that required a vulnerability that I never overcame so I ended up with a real “beggars can’t be choosers” mentality. But I liked it. The idea that someone wanted to get with me was exciting. It really was a beauty of youth. I’d look forward to nights where so-and-so would be there, or whatever. The future was exciting. When you’re young, you are everything you could do. When you’re old, you are everything you’ve done.
I’ve not done much. I’m 23 and I live in an office, doing work I don’t mind with people I don’t mind. I like adventure, I loved Segwaying at speed through the forest. I like running but I don’t look forward to it. I don’t look forward to anything. I love going to bed, I hate getting up. But I still think I’m a morning person. I’m not the person I wanted/want to be in my 20s. There’s so much missing. Creatively, I don’t produce. I need to. I miss writing essays, taking pride in a project. I don’t play football anymore. I love playing football. Writing helps me unwind. I barely recognise the guy from one hour ago and paragraph 1.
Maybe a break is what it took to figure all this stuff out. It’s a cliché to note that ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ is a cliché, before delivering it anyway. However, by paragraph 8, you should have realised just how me it is, and not you. I want to do the right thing by you. I want to tell you that I’m not comfortable being this comfortable. Of course, the relationship is three years old, so the passion won’t be what it was, but the less passionate side of a three year relationship is what scares me. Of course, there would be many other great things to come but I really don’t feel ready for that. I’m immature in that way. I think that’s the crux of it. Is it.
I don’t know what I want but I want to laugh a lot more than I do. I want not to see people in terms of the great social distance between us, but for who they really are. I want to feel comfortable around other people, not just you. That includes my family. I want to make more of an effort this Christmas. I think I still have a very teenage attitude towards my family, which to be fair, partly (mainly) comes from how mum treats me. I would want to be there for you a lot better than I how I have been. I think I’ve been a lousy boyfriend because I self-pity all the time. I have all this stuff floating around on my head but it’s a really fucked up and suppressed version that I’m constantly mulling over so much, that in the end, none of it really means anything. Not to me, and certainly not to you or anyone else. I’m crying all the time because I feel hopeless.
Even now, every time I bring you up in this letter, I can’t go a sentence without linking back to me. I’m lousy like that that. And to be honest you deserve better than where my headspace is right now. This letter is my life right now, but I want to know how you feel. I really want to know. If you can do it in a letter, that would be great, because I like letters. And I understand them. Ask me questions. Tell me about you. What don’t I know about you? What am I missing? What do you want me to hear, and listen to? I will.