Dear long time pen pal who lives on a different continent,
It’s been already months since we’re carrying this digital dialogue. We’ve been exchanging letters, e-mails, chat logs for a while. In the beginning I was skeptical, and I did not presume someone can touch or mend pieces of yourself you already thought you lost. In the beginning it was fun and games, it was you talking about you, it was me talking about me, yet now I feel like we’ve started to talk about each other. And I have a confession to make.
With every line I wrote, I kept undressing. Layers of fears, angers, ancient pains, patterns, solitudes, vengeances, motives, caravans of people that climbed on my back and whispered in my ears sitting on my shoulders. Layers of conventions, regulated by more conventions, misreadings, fables, tales and prescriptions, syntaxes that utterly floated around me for years and years. Layers of images, fantasies, visions of what life should have been as seen in movies, books, and pictures. Layers of fabrics and materials I used for designing who I thought I should be in order to be liked, listened to, loved. There are things I never told you about myself, although I like how you paint a vivid and colourful picture of what it would be like if we ever meet. I don’t know if it’s possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never looked in the eyes. But then there are people who wrote each other for years before they met and stepped in the same direction together.
My past is good riddance ready, and you are making me feel like myself. Is that unusual?
My past is a long list that I’m handing to you so we can tick together off all the people I’ve been and keep only what remains after all the heavy baggage I have carried all these years.
I’ve been the nice girl, the crazy girl, the adorable teenager, the girl who only dated guys in bands, and photographers, or who at least pretended to be artists, the empathetic and unsympathetic, the coward. I’ve been the girl who boards on a plane and vanishes and the woman who stays and tries to make up for the lost time. I’ve been the bitch; and the sweetheart; the selfish and the selfless.
I’ve been the fiancée who waits on a terminal without a suitcase and I’ve been the other woman. The always unimpressed, and the addicted. I’ve been the girl everyone wants to date, the stranger everyone regards as a snob because she doesn’t feel like talking when she has nothing to say; the girl who dresses up in high end lingerie under second hand attires and the one who picked up women in bars while dancing because she took sexuality seriously enough to be able to make fun of it.
And I’ll keep undressing of all of these layers, because when I’m bare, that’s the only image of myself I want you to see; and I am tired of writing, of scribbling, of typing and I would gladly shut off all instant communication just to face the same nakedness and embrace it, touch it, taste it, hold it, walk my hands through it, blend it inside and outside me, let it burn, or let it float, or let it go, because while not all passions are meant to live, their substance is meant to outlive.
So, dear long time pen pal who lives on a another continent, will you meet me halfway through? I want to meet you, and when it happens, will you spend the first 48 hours with me? Because I remember I know how to listen, and I know how to speak, and I know how to surrender, and I remember emotion is motion. And I want to kiss your face, and tie your arms with mine, and feel your measures and your weight, my own body as a scale. Spend the first 48 hours with me, because when I stop undressing, there will just be one last layer left, and I want to know you for who you really are, and the veil on my eyes will need to fall.
I once decided, midsummer, to live my life as if any day I could get hit by a bus. Because aging, I realized a few things. You can have a love affair that lasts forever, with your work, your art, the beauty of tulips in buckets or bugs raining in your watermelon plate in June. Usually, these are deep and undeniable liaisons but I could never compare them to the deepness of basic, comfortable silences between two people in the same room, the secrecy of inside jokes that are born and raised in a human relationship or with the shameless erotica that you can only get after sharing time, space and memories with a person. Aging, I realize under all these layers I haven’t changed at all since I was fifteen and that only the life has gotten weaker, wider and scarcer, like a stone beach.
Spend the first 48 hours with me. And maybe the next 48 years too.
Ioana Cristina Casapu is the Managing Director of Art Parasites Magazine. She likes Brian Eno, airports and never says no to a good old Gin&Tonic.