I plan never to contact you again until I’ve written something important. You will read it, and then you will come back to me.
But I’m already getting older, and it will be so long before I’ve written something important.
Of course I can write a novel about you.
I could write a tome about you, an epic, three, I could write about you until the day I die and wish in my last moment that I held a pen.
The bank of words is infinite. I will never run out of things to say to you.
Sometimes, when I look at my work and I realize how far I have to go, I think the sinews of my heart might snap. I think that I will never get this right, not in time to have you. I have to finish this project while we’re still young. Before you get engaged. Before I find someone new.
I have to finish while I still love you.
I know some writers who start writing when they are thirty years old, or forty or fifty. I know some writers who are placid about the whole business, who wait for the caprices of some muse that they would never ply or prod.
I can’t afford to deal in caprices. I have to wait while I’m writing and wait while I’m editing and wait while I’m published and wait while you read me. Only then will my waiting cease.
I can’t wait for time to refine my craft, as well. I must collect all the powers I will ever have, now, while it can help me that I have them. I must live out my whole life over the span of this project, forelearning all the wisdom I will ever acquire and all the eloquence I will ever come by.
I worry sometimes that I’m creating this for me and not for you. That I’m giving myself something to read and remember, instead of writing you the letter that will be the one to bring you back to me. In all these words, some combination may be the right one. But you’re the one to find it; I cannot.
Say it all: if I can somehow say it all, then I will be free of you.
Do you notice what I said? I wanted to be free of you, not to bring you back. Come back soon. Please, love — come back while I still want you.
When I see you, I am stymied. I am silent. I have said everything there is to say to you, and here you stand with expectant eyes as if you haven’t heard a word.
Are you still lovely? Yes, but older now. There are wrinkles beside your eyes and a sag in your cheeks. Your hair is thinning, its hairline crawling slowly up your skull.
“What is it?” you ask, and I know: you haven’t heard a word. I have written you multitudes, I have written you epics, but they have all turned out empty because you don’t read them.
There was a time I thought I would never run out of things to say to you.
But I look at you, and I feel scooped out. I try to call up anything to tell you, but it’s all been said a thousand different ways, and I’ve run out of combinations. The bank of words is finite, after all.
My mistake only proves how young I was, of course: Some forces will change, no matter how great they are, no matter how much we wish they’d stay the same; and some will never change, no matter how easy it should be or how much I believed that just a few more words would bring you back to me.