Dear Sherlock? Dear Monster? I don’t know what it’s acceptable to call you anymore. Used to be I could call you anything. Except darling, of course, but that was fine. You were too special anyway. Now it feels like I’m invading your space or something. I’ve started to feel like we’re strangers sometimes. It makes me incredibly sad. You’re the one I want to share my life with. It hurts when you push me away.
I’m writing this because my therapist says it might help to get my feelings on paper. You’ll never get to read it, of course. I could never tell you all these things. You’d run away.
God. Even now it feels like I’m censoring myself. Or like I might write something you wouldn’t like. Dr Harold says I shouldn’t. I should come clean to you in this note. You’re not going to see this.
When we started spending time together, you made me feel like a person. Only one other man had ever made me feel like that before, and then he shot me. I was so scared to let you in because of that. But you made me feel good about myself. I remember it was like I was addicted to you. I couldn’t wait to see you. When we didn’t meet, I felt like something was missing. You spoke to me, you listened to me, you made me laugh and you told me I was clever and you looked at me like you weren’t looking through me.
I was in love with you long before I dared admit it. I made the decision to quit my work for you but it only seemed natural. My work wasn’t giving me the joy you were. Even then I wanted you to be proud of me. I remember the look on your face when I told you I was quitting. You tried so hard not to look elated. But you were. You held my hand and I knew I loved you.
You trusted me too. You let me see you vulnerable, you let your guard down. I began to see you were becoming gentler with me, softer, more compassionate. I didn’t even mind that it was only in private. It felt like our secret. It felt like I had something nobody else did. Perhaps I did. I’d like to think I do. You certainly do.
God, there are times I love you so intensely it scares me, the things I would do for you, to make you happy. I love that you are the first thing I see when I wake up. I love your hair and your face and the fact that you’re always so warm. I love your hands and your stupid skinny white arms and legs. I love it when you used to put your arms around me while I cooked. I miss that. I’m sorry I broke that. I’m sorry I did something that made you feel like you needed to pull away. I’m sorry I broke my promise. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for it, even if you ever manage to. I’m sorry I made you put me before your work. I’m sorry I’m so weak sometimes and I’m sorry I disappointed you. You couldn’t begin to imagine how small I felt when you found out what I had done. I felt like a monster.
I still do.
I forgive you for treating me the way you did when you found out. And I forgive you for hurting me when you hurt me because I know you didn’t know what you were doing. I want to be better for you and I want us to be happy. And sometimes I lie awake at night wondering if it’s even possible for us to be happy. And then I think I don’t even care as long as I have you, but I realise how selfish that sounds.
Dr Harold says I can’t give myself up for you. And maybe he’s right. My instinct is always to try to make you feel better but then I just end up smothering you and that’s fucked up. I guess I just have to understand that I need to take care of me first now. I put myself first for 30 years; it’s bizarre how alien it feels now.
I hate having to ask for permission to touch you now. And I hate that the thought of being intimate with me puts you off. It kills me. It makes me feel unclean and broken and I don’t want to feel broken. It hurts so profoundly sometimes it feels like my chest is being crushed. You said you needed time. Take all the time you need, I guess. Nothing else I can do.
When we started seeing each other and when you started to open up to me, to let me get closer to you, I confess to trying to manipulate you. I seduced you, I flirted, I made you want me.
I won’t do that now. Because I can’t. I feel the opposite of beautiful. I feel like nothing. I feel like even if you do manage to bring yourself to sleep with me it’ll be out of pity. Or it’ll just be fucking. It makes me sad because you were the one who made me understand what people meant when they talked about making love. I used to think it was all sappy bullshit. People fucked, and that’s what they did. But with you I had tenderness. I never felt like I deserved tenderness before.
Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I don’t deserve it.
And now I’m angry with you because you of all people shouldn’t make me feel this way.
Arsehole. Maybe you’ll end up shooting me too.
I don’t mean that.
I’m sorry, this is a really fucking stupid exercise.