Dear Zach

Dear Zach—Did you realize, at all, how insanely I fell in love with you? I fell hard, really hard; head over heels. And I suffered for it—bumps, aches, longing, torment, tears, ripped heart, and bruises. But it’s not your fault. I told you, it’s not even your business. If I love you, it is all my concern and responsibility; you didn’t even have to know. I can say that this is all my fault, but it is hard for me to see my feelings for you as a defect or imperfection, or an aberration. Being in love with you made me so happy, so alive, so human, so warm inside, when everything around me was really my first winter—bitter, cold, icy, and dreary. You filled an emptiness in me, a dark hole that was abysmal and profound after my husband’s sudden death. I wasn’t ready to be a widower at 46. I loved him, don’t get me wrong, but I have so much more love to give. I didn’t want to die with him. I didn’t want my love, and laughter, and lust for life, to be buried with him. I’m a certified romance junkie, everybody knows that; I am a tried and tested, fully verified, quality inspected, heart person, one whose heart falls in love like a train.

But who’s to judge me? I like my life train’s journey, and I truly believe that I have lived more interestingly, if not happier, than most people that I know. I am the great lover with full-heartedness and great passion. I feel meaningful as a human being only if I am able to love. That is my real mission, and my true vocation in life. I cannot define my happiness and existence by my work, career, or financial and critical success. I am only the great person that I am today because I am able to love grandly, dramatically, ostentatiously. And oh, how I loved you! I loved you with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my spirit, with all my might, with all my groin. I am a romance junkie, I truly am, and my heart knows what my heart desires. I follow my heart because my heart knows where to go. You did not earn my love. I don’t think anybody can. You did not deserve my love; you did not warrant it. My love is only mine to give. You cannot make me love you. I choose who I love, because I can afford it. I can choose the impossible because I know how to suffer the impossibility, the unbearable, the insufferable. I chose you. I loved you. Not because of your own doing, other than maybe the fact that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I looked, and you were there. I said “hi,” and you responded with kindness. But I loved you, even before I knew you. And I knew you! And then, I really, deeply, truly knew you.

I loved you feverishly, with burning desire, with ardor boiling over; I loved you with a passion that can only be painted by an excited fire dancing on the driest log in a bonfire on a beach one dark wintry night; I loved you with every fiber of my being, with my lungs, my pancreas, my kidneys and spleen, my intestines, and every erectile and connective tissue. But I know, even from the start, that my love for you will not be forever. I know that the love fever will break. That you will disappoint me, hurt me, bore me to death; or perhaps ignore me too long; or love me back too soon. Or maybe, at a non-specific time, for no reason at all, I’ll just turn my gaze, and find someone else. I’ll look, and he will be there. And maybe he will give himself a chance to be loved by the world’s greatest lover. Maybe he will allow himself to be loved by me in ways more than you’ve let me love you.

I’m sure that somewhere down the road, I will hurt him, because I fall in love like a train, and I’m a romance junkie. I always admit to that, and I cannot lie. I cannot lie and I cannot die. I cannot die like dying embers when the burning desire dwindles, and the love fever breaks. I can only move on to the next pyretic delirium, to the next impassioned insanity of falling madly in love again.

So, Zach, for your sake, I really hope you did not feel and recognize how crazily I loved you. How mightily I adored you, and worshipped you. Or if you did, I hope that you truly didn’t care that I loved you that very much, because it is sad when a fairy tale love story dies, and I don’t love you that much anymore. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps I have turned my gaze. Or perhaps, you took too long to stroke back the burning fire of my wild desire.

I may love with the mighty love and wretchedness of the gods, but I’m also human, and a confessed romance junkie, at that. If I love you, that is none of your business, I said that; but if you want to be loved, and loved greatly, sumptuously and magnificently, let me tell you this: that is your concern and responsibility; that becomes your business! You have to feed the fire, and stroke the embers before the flame of love dies.

Thank God that you do not believe in God, because I cannot love with the enduring and everlasting love of my Christian God. I can only love others as I love myself. That seems to me reasonable. Somebody sang and said that it is the greatest love of all. Perhaps it is. But loving you, when you could not reciprocate it—that, for me, was the greatest moment, the most challenging, the most beautiful. It made me dream that I could do something, achieve the impossible, fight the dragons, turn you around, win the battle, make you love me back somehow. Your stupid resistance to my love gave me life and inspiration, and such verve and life transformed me.

You think that because I am older, I was not good enough for you. That is, at least, a consolation for me now, because I am not going to waste my whole life proving to you that I am. I cannot. I don’t have to. I know in my heart of hearts what I am truly worth. You may not see it, if you cannot see past our age difference, but I know that I am perhaps too good for you. Too good to be real that you cannot trust it; that you need to convince yourself of cracks and limitations like my age.

Of course, you can judge me because of my age, that’s the prerogative of youth! I cannot shave off years from my calendar age; I cannot ask to be born again in 1993. But I’d be interested to see where you’d be, when you yourself are 46. And for your sake, I hope that you would have loved more than half of your whole being, and perhaps been hurt and mangled by then, and still would be capable of being insanely, madly, and luxuriously in love like me today. Love, take it from an old fart who speaks from experience, is the true elixir of life, the real elixir of youth, that keeps us forever green, forever young.

So, go, my Sweet Prince, and make your way in the world. Love, and be loved in return. And, at any point when you feel that love failed you, or when you find yourself in the dumps, remember me, and remind yourself that once, in one bitterly cold and harsh winter in Maryland, you were loved magnanimously, fantastically, very melodramatically, by someone who lives consumed only by burning love and fiery desire; by one, who, for one brief moment in the eternity of time, devoted his being, and his waking hours, suffering, perhaps sadomasochistically enjoying the pain, and the indignity, of his impossible love for you. I loved you, my dear, dear Zachary. I truly did love you!