A final note

I have said I won't talk to you again until you ask for that or I'm dead, and I won't. I wanted to talk to you and tell you properly how much I love you in a way that isn't pressured for you before I go. I'm sorry I tried to talk to you so much. Each time maybe it was the last time we'd ever talk and maybe it wasn't so I never really got to say goodbye and tell you I love you properly in a way that isn't pressured for you. Every time I talked I knew that might be it, but I also knew that it might not be and so I never really got to say goodbye. It always felt like goodbye for now. I wanted to fix things but whenever we talked things got worse. I'm sorry. Knowing every time we talked that it might be the last time I tried to hide my heart breaking but felt this incredible pressure to tell you how much I love you that I tried to resist. I'm sorry that it hurt you. I was in a place where I never believed we would actually not know each other until yesterday. I think I'd been trying to hold my heart open this so the uncertainty so that it could be good if we talked again. I understand now that it means you'll never want to know me again, and it turns out I don't love you any less for that.

I remember the last time we talked on the phone. I heard you say "I have nothing for you there", and I heard your voice shake. I wondered what you meant. Love? Romance? Pleasingness? Friendship? I don't know. But I felt you run, then, just in the shiver in your voice, like hearing branches crack under a skittish deer as it turns, heedless and driven by fear.

I wonder what I am to you now, and I look at myself with shame through your eyes, a monster to be kept at a distance. I feared I understood then what you wanted to explain even outside of your words, because it felt like the death of all things. Even loving you felt like a threat. What does it mean to have the person who knows me the most see me this way? Maybe this is how I will be remembered, once the story is retold.

It is strange to think of being forgotten by you, and to think of the contours of that. I have wondered while we don't talk what each moment of forgetfulness is. Is it the first time that I am missed from a memory? I think not. Not even, maybe, in the loosening of association from normal things, or the knowledge that we are no longer the chosen vector for the excited chatter of tiny triumphs and disasters, of shared beauties that are instantiated and intensified by the intimacy of sharing the joy of them. I think it's the first time that my name is said without emotion, in a sadly irrelevant past tense.

I feel the distance between us as I am forced from your life. I feel myself moving from the text to the footnote, lonely and unread on the bottom of the page. I don't know what to do with that other than to end things, because your book is the only story I have so wanted to share.

I'm sorry you felt you had to run away from me. I want you to know that when I look back the happiest times of my life have been with you. Not just the copse and the island, but also that. All the times that we shone so hard for each other. When we loved, we loved so hard. I think of descending through the mountains with you, and it felt like flying. I wanted to fly with you forever. I think back to the lockdown, and how it felt to spend time in the sun with you and your sister, and I want you to know that it and my time with you was the happiest time of my life. We've had so many days and moments where we saw infinity in each other and cherished that so much.

I have always adored you, however much I was capable of saying so. I still do.

I've always hoped that was true for you with me too, at least once. I tried so hard to make you feel happy, and the most loving thing I can say is that your happiness has and always did bring me profound joy. After you left I watched Grave of the Fireflies and cried hard because for the very first time I truly felt what it is to be unable to protect the person you love from harm and feeling the death of the beautiful person you love more than all things. To not be enough to protect them. I think I understand why you felt you had to leave, and I want you to know that you were always the most amazing person I have ever known.

I think what I've realised is that before I met you I was so very lonely and sad. So very, and I didn't know because it was all I'd ever known. So much that as we became closer and closer I broke from being scared of losing you and not being enough. It's so much harder to live knowing what I won't have, but I don't want to live without the emotive part of me that you made even if it means the death of all of me. It is the most beautiful part of me by so far. I was desperate to not be apart from you because you are the only person that has ever truly felt like home. You were and are immense, and so much so that I'm not sure I even have the words to express it. You made me the best version of me and an emotional me I'd never been. I think for a while I helped you be the best version of you too, and I'm glad.

I know you don't feel I can have loved you fully, but I always did. I guess I have nothing left to show you that I meant it outside of my willingness to sacrifice a life without you. I accept that.

I wish I could have been the person you wanted and that I hadn't hurt you as much; not having you here is like a constant open wound in my chest. Everything seems pointless without you here. When I succeed I want to tell you but can't, and when I'm alone with my thoughts the absence of you floods into me.

I miss you in so many ways, and most of all I miss the moments of mutual happiness at just the priceless moments of being close to each other. You once wrote this, and I have always held it close to my heart:

"But their confusion just confirms how little they comprehend. Because when I was a passionate, loving twenty four year old I promised to give him my life and I meant it. I meant every word of everything I said and in truth I would rather have given him my all, than lived a life knowing there were parts of me he never had.

They tell me I will die soon. They are confused to why I still sing for a man that died six months ago, they urge me to stop. But I don't need them to understand.
I don't regret a thing."

For me, it was always the best of us. I'm so sorry for making you feel like you couldn't feel like that any more, but it's exactly how I feel about you. It's why I can't live knowing that the person I love most in the world now thinks I'm not worth knowing or having contact with at all. I can feel your story starting to shift, and I don't want to know how reviled I eventually become. I choose to go now. Thank you for the most beautiful things any man could want to be written or felt about them. Our mutual love was and is a privilege and an honour, and I choose to hold that feeling and commitment even in your absence.

I think fundamentally I can't or don't want to go though life without the only person who has ever made me feel like that. The weight of a life without you is added to the tragedy of losing so many years together and I just don't want to confine myself to that horror. I want to go with that song still so strong inside of me.

I don't know if you'll find this hard to believe even now, but I really do love you more than you can imagine. Always have, always will. I never wanted to hurt you. I was desperate to have you close, and so scared at it not being possible that I acted with terror and sadness. I wish I could have relaxed and let us be happy. You were and are all I have wanted. My only request is that you also try to remember the parts of me that were beautiful. Sing of me just sometimes, and of how we once were. I know how you think of me now, and I hope you remember that's not all I was or that we were. That at one time we blazed with love, and the world disappeared from outside the room where we were in, a tiny universe where we could delight in being together. That's how it was for me, and that's how I choose to remember us as I go.

Even my death will be part of my song to you, the us and the me that once was, and whatever parts of that tenderness and love still live in you now. I don't regret how I feel either, even now at the end. I sing my song of you even through the end of my life, and I would rather die than stop singing.

I will die, as promised and as I always knew I would, with your name on my lips. I adore you, I love you, and you were always enough. So much more than enough. Wherever you are, whoever you're with, please know that at the very last my heart was full of you.

I love you, and I sing for you. The you that you were, the you that you are, and the amazing person you'll become. Our song is still the most beautiful thing I have ever known.

Your James

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