The 14th of March 2011 – Carson City, Nevada

(found by a boulder or something immovable like that)

Claudia,

It isn’t worth a damn to you, I’m sure, but I’m writing this with a fatal dose of contrition. You’d hear it if I were speaking – the solemnity in my voice or some kind of heaviness that’s dragging it down – but I’m writing, so I figure I should just let you know.

Whatever truth is and whether it exists ultimately – objectively, I mean – it seems pretty certain that we can’t escape certain facts. We can have arguments and debates about semantics and metaphysics, but some things are necessary for existence, and one of those things is the idea that knowledge, somehow, is possible.

We can all get our nihilist glasses on (they’re just really, really dark sunglasses) and talk about whether two plus two actually equals four or whether the sky is blue because what really is two and what really is color and all of that nonsense. At some point, those things are just facts. They can’t be changed. And to discuss them doesn’t do anything other than to observe properties of our universe. We aren’t passing judgment or making a philosophical point. We’re just stating something that needs to be stated, and no matter how many times that statement is repeated, that doesn’t change.

I’ve come to a conclusion that how I’ve spent the last month – and it’s been exactly a month since I last spoke to you – amounts to nothing. I might as well be pacing around in circles and muttering “Two plus two equals four” and scribbling “The sky is blue” on all these sheets of paper. Doing that doesn’t change this knowledge, and it doesn’t make me feel any differently about that knowledge. It does remind me, though, about that knowledge.

There are things that I know, Claudia, things like adding two and two equals four, and I know them just as much as I know that I really messed it all up. I really made a mistake, and it wasn’t just on that one night. It was a months-long mistake, years-long or maybe decades.

It’s not sad, and it’s not happy. It’s just what is. It’s an observation and it’s without judgment. Maybe it’ll motivate me to be different in the future, but who knows?

I know I messed it all up, and now it’s just a little fact in my brain, a little, unignorable fact. Even if I manage to fix this, and I really wish that I could, nothing would change that knowledge.

There’s no meaning to it, no intent – self-flagellating or not.

So why do I keep having to remind myself?

I seem to love you still,

Bertrand

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