It must be thirty years and a marriage ago, when we were returning to my lodgings in a taxi following my birthday meal, when you folded yourself into my shoulder and looked up at me in a way which could only say “Kiss Me.” It was the most powerful and romantic encounter in my life.
The driver was so taken with our closeness and the air of gentle tenderness that he refused to charge us for the journey, saying we had made his evening which became part of the magic which set that night apart. I remember how we sat on the bed and how, without awkwardness, you removed your top to reveal a picture of beautiful and naked loveliness: I could never dream of you being under the same roof as me and in this state, and yet you were.
We spent the night in each other’s arms, kissing frequently and on the edge of an intimacy which I could hardly imagine, though boundaries were observed.
That was the last and only time you shared my bed and let me kiss you. Perhaps it was your brief flirtation with reckless emotion, I have no idea, but you had that canny awareness which comes with being ambitious and a sense of who might help you on the journey: I was not one of those people.
Now you walk among the great and are decorated for your efforts while I remain lost in thought and imagination, writing books to eke out a living. Locked in a marriage held together in mutual disappointment, but without the willpower to end it, I place your person in my stories so that once again and always we may kiss, and you can look me in the eye and find fulfilment. My wife, a non-romantic who has no knowledge of the episode, shrugs at my naiveté and my appetite for sentiment, but I, and now you, know that all I’m writing is our history as I wish it might have been.
In that attic called your memory, amongst the awards and recognitions you have gained, the travels and adventures, and the causes about which you speak so passionately in the newspapers I always wondered if you ever recalled our moment together yet here I am holding a letter from you in my hand?