This is just too daunting a task right now and I don’t even have that much to bring, I just know I will forget stuff that I want a need, I should probably go make a list and get cracking…I wish someone could do it for me!
As I write this, I am sitting at my desk in the back bedroom looking out at your studio across the backyard full of blue evening snow, everything is slick and crusty with ice, and it is very still. It’s one of those winter evenings when the coldness nof every single thing seems to slow down time, like the narrow centre of an hourglass which time itself flows through, but slowly, slowly. I have the feeling, very familiar to me when I am out of time but almost never otherwise, of being buoyed up by time, floating effortlessly on its surface like a fat lady swimmer. I had a sudden urge, tonight here in the house by myself (you are at Alicia’s recital at St. Lucy’s) to write you a letter. I suddendly wanted to leave something, for after. I think that time is short, now. I feel as though all my reserves, of energy, of pleasure, of duration, are thin, small. I don’t feel capable of continuing very much longer. I know you know.
If you are reading this, I am probably dead. (I say probably beacuse you never know what circumstances my arise; it seems foolish and self-important to just declare one’s own death as an out-and-out fact.) About this death of mine-I hope it was simple and clean and unambigious. I hope it didn’t create too much fuss. I’m sorry. (This reads like a suicide note.Strange) But you know: you know that if I could have stayed, if I could have gone on, that I would have clutched every second: whatever it was, this death, you know that it came and took me, like a child carried away by goblins.
Clare, I want to tell you, again, I love you. Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust. Tonight I feel that my love for you has more density in this world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and surround you, keep you, hold you.
I hate to think of you waiting. I know that you have been waiting for me all your life, always uncertain of how long this patch of waiting would be. Ten minutes, ten days. A month. What an uncertain husband I have been, Clare, like a sailor, Odysseus alone and buffeted by tall waves, sometimes wily and sometimes justa plaything of the gods. Please, Clare. When I am dead. Stop waiting and be free. Of me- put me deep inside you and then go out into the world and live. Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers not resistance, as though the world is your natural element. I have given you a life of suspended animation. I don’t mean to say that you have done nothing. You have created beauty, and meaning, in your art, and Alba, who is so amazing, and for me: for me you have been everything.
After my mom died she ate my father up completely. She would have hated it. Every minute of his life since then has been marked by her absence, every action has lacked dimension beacuse she is not there to measure against. And when I was young I didn’t understand, but now, I know, how absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird. If I had to live on without you I know I could not do it. But I hope, I have this vision of you walking unencumbered, with your shining hair in the sun. I have no seen this with my eyes, but only with my imigination, that makes pictures, that always wanted to paint you, shining; but I hope that this vision will be true, anyway.
Clare, there is one last thing, and I have hesitated to tell you, beacuse I’m superstitiously afraid that telling might cause it not to happen (I know: silly) and also beacuse I have been going on about not waiting and this might cause you to wait longer than you have ever waited before. But I will tell you in case you need something, after.
Last summer, I was sitting in Kendrick’s waiting room when I suddendly found myself in a dark hallway in a house I don’t know. I was sort of tangled up in a bunch of galoshes, and it smelled like rain. At the end of the hall I could see a rim of light around a door, and so I went very slowly and very quitely to the door and looked in. The room was white, and intensely lit with morning sun. At the window, with her back to me, sat a woman, wearing a coral-coloured cardigan sweaterm with long white hair all down her back. She had a cup of tea beside her, on a table. I must have made some little noise, or she sensed me behind her…she turned and saw me, and I saw her, and it was you, Clare, this was you as an old woman, in the future. It was sweet, Clare, it was sweet beyond telling, to come as though from death to hold you, and to see all the years present in your face. I won’t tell you any more, so you can imagine it, so you can have it unrehearsed when the time comes, as it will, as it does come. We will see each other again, Clare. Until then, live fully, present in the world, which is so beautiful.
Its dark, now, and I am very tired. I love you, always. Time is nothing.