Then I read this, and found myself sitting and crying at the kitchen table as the kettle boiled and boiled. A break-up letter written by Simone de Beauvoir, to Nelson Algren. Maybe not a sad crying, not any more, but a recognition that still caused a physical reaction.
"...My heart is a kind of dirty soft custard inside... I am not sad. Rather stunned, very far away from myself, not really believing you are now so far, so far, you so near."
"Anyhow, you gave me so much, Nelson, what you gave me meant so much, that you could never take it back. And then your tenderness and friendship were so precious to me that I can still feel warm and happy and harshly grateful when I look at you inside me. I do hope this tenderness and friendship will never, never desert me."
This is something I have been thinking about lately, anyway - perhaps with the benefit of some distance. Perhaps feeling like this after time has passed is lucky, in which case I guess I am lucky. I have pictures on my walls to prove it, things that are only mine through a kindness that was all the sweeter for being entirely unnecessary. I still like to look at the things that made it real (was it real?), if only sometimes. Is my face still there, is that house still there, did it really happen..?
Then the post came through the front door, and with it, a card from one of my very best girlfriends. A card that made me laugh, and then made me get on with making the tea.
I'm not sure what the moral of this story is. But then as I type this, Mavis Staples just came on the radio and the irony is not lost on me. So, I guess that means it's all just a cycle. I'll sit, and listen, and get on with my work.