This is an old story. I don’t mean that in the metaphorical sense, as in this is a boy-loses-girl story as old as time, although it is that. I mean I wrote the original version of this shortly after college, while coming to terms with a break-up.
It’s changed since then. I’ve revised the story to be more playful with language, more bold in its metaphors, more focused in its theme, but its origin is that of a heartsick young man that felt like he had sabotaged himself.
With those ingredients I intended the story to explore memory–how it can change over time, how it differs from person to person. We rarely appreciate the things we have in the moment, so we’re forced to rely on our imperfect memories. There’s a lot of sadness in that perspective. How can we ever truly appreciate what we have if our only experiences of it are in hindsight, when it’s been filtered into something different?
The story also touches on inadvertently making fears real. By loving someone too hard, too fast, and thereby being afraid of losing them, you can push them away. It’s cautionary in that sense.
There is a lot going on, perhaps too much. It’s not quite focused. A little messy. But I like that about it. I think it’s an accurate reflection of relationships and, especially, those feelings after a break-up, no matter how amicable.
After writing this I had the idea of doing an entire series of letters written to different women that helped to shape some man’s identity. It’s not a stretch to say that men are shaped by every relationship they have with women. It’s probably not a stretch to say that any person is shaped by their relationships, period, but I can only speak to my truth in this regard.
The idea was that a man would write letters to every woman he’s ever loved, starting with his mother and working up to his wife, reflecting on how they shaped him into who he became. I wrote several of the letters, each based on some experience I had, but was never happy with most. I think it’s because they lacked the urgency of this particular letter. That emotion is important, but it’s hard to generate on a whim.
So, for now, this is it. Let me know what you think.