The 2nd of January 1949 – Weston, Massachusetts

(found in the glovebox of a turquoise Ford Vedette)

Tammy –

I hope you are well. I am not. Well, I should say that I’m perfectly fine. But what is it to be fine?

What you wrote me last week has left me rather distressed.

Tammy, I can see the darkness too. And I’m inspired by it, liberated by it too. But it’s so depressing, isn’t it? Not to see the darkness, but to see what lies on the other side of it, something that may be a mirage, but seems real enough to my mind. It’s something that catches my fancy, grabs a hold over my imagination and gets my heart thundering in my chest because I know I’ll never be as close to it as I need to be.

We may argue for some nihilistic liberation, we may crave it and we may benefit from it in some ways. But some things just stay around. Gravity will always bring us down. We’ll need food to eat and water to drink and air to breathe. We all have desire, and we can’t escape, at least I can’t escape it, the fact that – for some reason, somehow – some things really matter. And I can’t get it out of my head or out of my heart that – sometimes, most of the time, all of the time – those things just don’t work out.

Jesus, Tammy, I wish I could just let go of it. Everything else is gone, except for this one speck of light. But it has burned itself into my retina. Even when I close my eyes I can see it, flashing like a lighthouse across the bay, warning me, enticing me. I want it to stop. I want to make it stop, but I can’t. I wish I could just not care, like you, Tammy. I wish I could just be more like you.

But the fantasy still hangs in my mind. I can see my world being lit up just like everyone else’s by this thing, this love, this desire. And I want it to. I want the light, but the darkness keeps pushing it back. I want the light.

What do I do with that? What can I do except retreat back into my little cave and hope that some of my wayward desire gets leeched out of me by the darkness that surrounds me, the darkness that has become part of me.

Give Margaret my love. Let little Max know I’ve sent him a new baseball mitt. Tell Levi that the secret to my pancakes in an extra dash of baking soda and a little cayenne pepper.

– John

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