To read the handwritten letter click here.
POST MARKED: Thursday 18th September
September, 1st September
I dreamed of you last night. You were on the beach, under the sweep of the lighthouse beam writing letters in the sand at the high tide mark. You were first young, in your yellow Stussy t-shirt, and later once the letter was done, you sat watching the tide come in, now grown up, smiling as the sea dissolved the words you’d etched. The ocean promised you it was vast enough to find me, to deliver your letter, no matter where I was. And you came back each night to write. And I was on the other side of the world, the sea water sucking at my toes, knowing you hadn’t forgotten me.
I don’t want to write this letter, Jude. But I have no choice. I’ve waited all week for a letter from you and when I woke this morning, the dream lingering, I was glad for your silence. It makes this easier for me to write, to avoid stepping back into the tempest we’ve created, where I can’t think straight. You have to understand, Jude… I have to be able to think straight.
Almost twenty years ago I got on a bus and left you. It was my choice to do so. My decision regardless of the reasons. That bus took me away from you and cast me onto the path I’ve been on since. I can’t run anymore, Jude. I need to end this. As scared as I am, I must go and testify. And if that means I don’t come back then it will be an ending all the same.
The lines are so blurred… I don’t know where the good guys start and the bad guys end. All I know is I’ve always been on the right side. I want you to know this because they will say anything to discredit me when I take the stand. A witness essential to the case but deemed hostile by both sides… only because there’s good and bad in both sides.
I’ve imagined it different… that I stay here and keep on like nothing happened. But I’ve given too much of my life to bring drug scum to justice to do that. And I’ve imagined the dark terrified hours in Sydney, with the drip of the tap and the company of late night radio and a cold cup of cheap coffee eased by the letter you write from the other side. But I don’t dare take any part of you with me where I’m going. And I imagined when it was all over and they’re all in jail, you’re there on the other side waiting, because before I was no freer to love or be with you, than you were to be with me. But I expect a bullet or a blade waiting for me and even if there’s not, you will still be married. It was a fantasy drunk on ink and memories that took me in and held me… because I so desperately wanted there to be a me and you.
I leave without knowing the answers to the questions I asked… even as a thousand more flood in: where did you write your letters to me, what toothpaste do you use, what does your house look like, are your boys little versions of you, is your favourite food still hot chips, what songs do you sing along to on the radio, what are you doing at 4:00pm on a Saturday on any given week, your boss’s name… While I know what it feels like to kiss and make love to you… you’re nothing more than a collection of memories in an envelope.
Just writing to you, there is a pull like a rip dragging me back to you, when I need to swim away. That’s why I’m writing before your letter arrives. Monday I’m putting a diversion on my mail ahead of leaving. That means I will have left, I’ll have thrown myself to the lions before I can read your letter and change my mind. Lose my nerve.
In the dead of night when the fear and the loneliness threaten to eat me whole, it won’t be the static memories from twenty years ago filling the silence and all the what ifs. The silence will be filled with memories of that Sunday, of Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland’, of undressing you to ‘Voodoo Child’ and knowing for a few precious hours you loved me with the same need and passion. That’s what I’ll remember. Before regret, guilt, sadness and anger bound it in scar tissue.
I’ve always loved you, Jude. Before I realised or recognised what the feeling was. Like a child who breathes without understanding oxygen and lungs and respiration.
I forgive you, Jude. We were just kids doing our best in a grown up world we weren’t ready or equipped for. I forgive you, but you have to forgive yourself. We had a moment in time and it will help me through what comes next. And if you can’t forgive the act of infidelity, forgive yourself the act of love you gave me, because there was no selfish need driving that. It will ease the terror and darkness.
I’ve always been, and as long as I breathe, will remain, for better and for worse, always your,