Love

The 202nd of Spain 1A8Y – Inglaterra, Mochydochydoo

(found under the flunderdunder by the dirgus)

Rebecca,

You don’t understand. I think I say that too much. I think I say that all the time. But you don’t understand. Right?

We’ve all got our own things, and I found out – not too long ago – that my own thing was that I could tell the future. So that’s on the table now, okay? Just relax. Okay?

I mean to say that I can tell the future, but only in a specific way. When I look at a person, Rebecca, I see them totally – all of them and all possible iterations of them, whether it’s from the past, present or future.

I see them when they’re at their greatest, in that special future contained in an alternate universe where everything goes their way.

I see them when they’re at their worst, in that damned placed contained in a hell when everything just goes wrong.

The shock of this is pretty tremendous, Beccs. That’s why I wear sunglasses all the time – even in dark, seedy places – or, especially in dark, seedy places. I’ve gotten used to it, though, and I’m able to control it most of the time. And I’m able to figure out, based on how strong certain feelings I get are, some idea of what kind of person a person is going to become.

It’s amazing how good every single person could be, if you just look at them long enough, if you just gave them a chance and some encouragement. I’d say – or maybe I’m being overly optimistic – that there’s a whole lot more good than there is bad. But – again – I’ve seen good in everybody and bad in a lot less.

So that’s why, though. That’s my explanation. You think I’m too dogged. You think I’m coming on too strong. But I have a good reason for it. I have an explanation.

You are some bright and shining light, Rebecca, and I don’t think I’m even capable of explaining why or how or really anything. All I can tell you is this, and we’ll leave it there.

You’re the best.

Because for all the good I’ve seen – all the good possibilities, I mean – I have absolutely never seen an angel like you before.

So I love you for it. Can you blame me?

Huh?

Bruce

The 1st of December 1993 – Utrecht, Netherlands

(found…To be honest these get boring to write unless there’s some connection with the larger text or some foreshadowing to be done. Usually these words are random and meaningless, but that doesn’t stop the world from turning, okay? Wait…don’t leave. Here come words that aren’t italicized…)

My Good Friend Mehmet,

It was a while ago when you asked me the question, so I will not blame you for forgetting that you ever even asked it. But – understandably or no, expectedly or no – the question has hardly left my mind, even though the circumstances are long gone and should be themselves forgotten.

It was patience, Mehmet, demonstrated subtly and in the smallest ways.

I know that you will be reluctant to accept this comparison and that you will – probably with simple politeness dominating your reasons – refuse it completely. But, Mehmet, I am very much like a dog, a dog in training.

(In fact, after coming up with this analogy, I realized that it could easily have been made to involve a young toddler instead of a dog. But, listen, I prefer it with the dog somehow.)

But you’ve seen these dogs, Mehmet, these dogs from the shelters downtown, where they take in mutts from the street and hand them off to suburban families with children and barbeques and lawns to mow. I’m sure that you have. These kooky dogs that wag their tails awkwardly and shy away when the neighbors come into the yard or that bark when you hand them a treat and, in fact, seem to hate you for it. They’re weird dogs, Mehmet, just a little off.

And these dogs can be punished – they call it disciplined, they call it taught – with a boxing around the ears by a rolled-up newspaper or some harsh squirts from a bottle of cold water, and so they become skittish and shy and nervous at all hours of the day and night.

But, Mehmet, there are some people who have some special talent. It’s these who can get even the damnedest of lost souls to calm down and relax and jump onto the couch and snore as if they belonged there for their whole, entire life.

They have a naiveté, these special ones, an innocence and a patience to forgive the kookiness, let it slide by and assimilate it into the normality that we all believe should surround us.

That’s what it was, Mehmet. Patience.

Regards,

Hugh

An Astronaut and a Star – The 8th of September 2005 – Plainview, Texas

(found by the ship, in the dirt, by the bush with the green flower)

Harriet,

I want you to imagine that you’re a spaceman. You’re one of those astronauts that they’ve chosen – somehow – to get into a rocket and fly through the galaxy. You don’t have the slightest idea where you’re going. You only know that there’s a whole, great, big, wide universe out there, and it’s damn near impossible to comprehend. You only know that, wherever you end up, you’re probably never going to feel what it’s like to be outside this damn spacesuit or outside this damn spaceship.

So you spend all this time in space. It’s lonely inside your suit, inside your ship, with the darkness of all of the universe around you – just around you, really, and not doing much else of note or importance – and it gets quite boring after even just a few minutes or a few hours or a few days or whatever. Then, far off, you see a star. You press your face against the porthole of the ship, and you stare at the orb as it floats off in the distance – floating, really, except doing an incredible amount more than that – and suddenly the entire journey means something or matters or makes sense or something like that. Even though you press your face against the glass, even though the warmth that you feel – that starlight soft against your cheek – still seems to linger, even though you savor every second of that sight, it all goes away just a bit too quickly.

Because now you’re falling down to this planet. You’re trapped in its gravity, and you can’t get out of it, and the weight of it – your helplessness, I mean – is squeezing every part of you tighter and tighter with every second. And now you’re about to crash down on this planet. You’re screaming through the sky, and the wind is clawing at the bolts and the rivets of your steel tube, and you’re sure – absolutely sure, I mean – that nothing could have gone worse. A smile comes to your face – a true smile, I mean – because all the while, while you’re hurtling to your death, the face of that bright star is right in the front of your mind, and – in those last moments – it’s that star, not the fire of your ship’s explosion, that warms your face.

It’s a dream, anyway.

Brent

 

Check out more great posts inspire by the Tanka-themed Weekly Challenge here:

  1. http://tombalistreri.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/not-that-kind-of-haiku/
  2. http://tombalistreri.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/a-haiku-in-bad-taste/
  3. http://bumblepuppies.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/baskin-robbins-insults-my-intelligence/
  4. http://ambitiousdrifter.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/motorbike-tanka/
  5. http://gettingfitafter30.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/tuesday-tanka/
  6. http://suejutakeshi.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/lrt/
  7. http://suejutakeshi.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/nosebleeding/
  8. http://januarysdream.com/2014/09/02/christian-tanka-salvation-praise/
  9. http://tomboyforlife.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/wwc-new-shows/
  10. http://horriblyawry.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/putting-on-my-summer-tanka-top-weekly-writing-challenge/
  11. http://historyofawoman.com/2014/09/02/daybreak/
  12. http://insimplewordsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/tanka-of-love-the-greatest-challenge/
  13. http://followingmyjoy.com/2014/09/02/love-hummingbird-style/
  14. http://faithunlocked.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/comfort-in-trials/
  15. http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/full-tanka-day-one/
  16. http://pguiler.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/tanka-tales/
  17. http://maniparna5002.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/tanka-swan-song/
  18. http://emo1956.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/writing-challenge-a-tanka-in-memory-of-my-unknown-grandfather/
  19. http://meredithlbl.com/2014/09/02/tanka-to-mckinley/
  20. http://nothing.golddave.com/2014/09/02/mouse-tanka/
  21. http://hugmamma.com/2014/09/02/50-years-of-blasted-bliss/
  22. http://bagandspoon.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/full-tanka-of-love/
  23. http://worldwidesoulmate.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/wise-wednesday-haiku-and-tanka/
  24. http://diannethornton.com/2014/09/02/mid-life-tanka/
  25. http://stuffmydogtaughtme.com/2014/09/02/mom-on-first-day-of-school/
  26. http://tidlidim.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/writing-prompt-full-tanka/
  27. http://asnappshot.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/silence-two-faces/
  28. http://alotfromlydia.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/la-chute/
  29. http://artmoscow.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/is-human-hell-as-banal/
  30. http://mostlytruestoriesofkrenaep.com/2014/09/02/tanka-where-were-you-the-day/
  31. http://cxianliu.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/eye-candy/
  32. http://thehhnarrative.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/the-tanka-of-love/
  33. http://eadamsgrace.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/family-members-haiku-and-tanka/
  34. http://maggiecarlise.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/weekly-writing-challenge-tanka-for-mae/
  35. http://haikubyku.com/2014/09/02/caught/
  36. http://shortnotsosweet.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/summer-holidays-tanka/
  37. http://myauthoritis.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/not-resting/
  38. http://anewvoiceslowlyrecognized.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/writing-challenge-full-tanka/
  39. http://artmoscow.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/she-may-be-blond-you-may-be-strong/
  40. http://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/weekly-writing-challenge-tanka/
  41. http://madmeanderingme.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/weekly-writing-challenge-tanka/
  42. http://sweetykannoth.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/tanka-weekly-writing-challenge/
  43. http://finaletoanentrance.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/tiny-the-tanka/
  44. http://klamiot.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/walk-tanka/
  45. http://badosto.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/weekly-writing-challenge-tanka/
  46. http://kilatalkingstory.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/masks-abandoned/
  47. http://suejutakeshi.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/eleven-hours/
  48. http://elliottamc.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/poor-hermes-has-died-tankachoka/
  49. http://littlemomentslikethis.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/tanka-secret/
  50. http://bodhisattvaintraining.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/winds-of-change/
  51. http://faithunlocked.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/chasing-after-the-wind/
  52. http://meaningfulmommy.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/my-birthday-tanka-runneth-over/
  53. http://nitacandra.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/weekly-writing-challenge-full-tanka-his-rain-moment/
  54. http://yourblogcoach.com/2014/09/03/ending-with-a-full-tanka/
  55. http://yourblogcoach.com/2014/09/03/ending-with-a-double-tanka/
  56. http://alotfromlydia.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/sunrise/
  57. http://impressionsblog.com/2014/09/03/comfort-lamassu-tanka/
  58. http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/full-tanka-day-2/
  59. http://lifesunfilteredramblings.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/of-poems-and-pictures/
  60. http://gracednotes.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/summers-end/
  61. http://gettingfitafter30.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/tasty-tanka/
  62. http://thinspiralnotebook.com/2014/09/03/tanka-toy-box/
  63. http://guidetogettinglost.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/englishmen-in-hats/
  64. http://wordujour.com/2014/09/02/moms-keeper/
  65. http://79nexus.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/mothership/
  66. http://southernhon.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/summery-summary/

The 16th of September 1973 – New York, New York

(found in an apartment, the second one, the one she didn’t know about)

Dear Trudy,

It’s hard to explain. But I have a pen, and I have a sheet of paper, so it must be worth explaining.

Do you think we all start the same way? And then, do you think we all end up, after years of maturing and growing hard in the world, the same way too?

Do you remember childhood? Not the memories or the events, not the first days of school or the lunchboxes or the games at recess, that’s not what I’m talking about. I want to know if you remember the feeling of childhood? It was, for me and hopefully for you and everyone else, a time, a rare time, when things were mystical and wonderful and fun, when – and I swear to God about this – magic felt like it was around every corner and you always expected magic to be around every corner.

There were those things that you believed when you were a child, and you believed them precisely because you were a child, and you were enveloped in the feelings that were entirely unique to a child.

There were dragons to be slain – great, big, hulking demons. There were quests to be chased, with grails and treasures at the end as a reward. There were princes and princesses, entirely perfect, with hearts – golden and overflowing with love – to be won.

Then we all grew older, and we all matured, and we all began to see things as shades of grey. No ferocious dragons with evil, black hearts existed, just as no perfect princesses with halos of pure light could ever be possible.

At this stage, life becomes a series of compromises, and – regardless of how vigorous an action is taken – decisions are always made with some sort of hollowness ringing in the belly. There is no more belief. There is no more magic. The world becomes practical, useful and uninspiring.

But there is a third stage, maybe a regression back to foolishness, maybe something only enjoyed by a few. But there is a light glowing up a head, radiating out of that grey forest of pragmatism and cool-headed calculating. So I follow the light, and I’m drawn in by it, and I stumble into a clearing.

And there in the light is one of those princesses, with one of those golden hearts, standing right in front of me.

And if that princess is really in front of me, then that world of magic and fun might exist too.

And that, Trudy, is why I have to leave you.

Sincerely,

Donald

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

The 10th of April 2012 – Rossmoor, California

(found on a stack with all the others)

My dearest,

Helen is doing quite well. We celebrated our 20th over the weekend. She doesn’t send her regards to you, babe, but she doesn’t even know. Don’t blame her.

Harold had his first Little League game last Wednesday. I was smiling almost as much watching him play as I am right now, darling, being able to share this all with you. That’s about it though. Things certainly got quiet out here in the suburbs over the last few years.

You missed out on a lot though, babe, quite a whole lot by letting me alone the way you did, but I can’t say that without knowing that I missed out on just as much without having you next to me. We could’ve been something else, darling, something absolutely else if we could’ve stuck together – if we could’ve gotten stuck together in the first place.

But now here I am, and it feels like I’m doing just a whole series of impressions – one of myself on that night, one of how I’m supposed to be right now – and it all just feels a little hollow. It’s satisfying, babe, but there’s an echoing inside my guts, and it’s telling me that something’s missing from inside of me, and it’s been echoing ever since that night at the gas station when I saw you.

I remember the freckles on your face, and I remember being able to trace out the Big Dipper between a few of them on your right cheek, and I remember all the other constellations that I could trace out underneath your curtain of silky black hair. Babe, I remember the feel of my leather jacket and how it got tight under my arms when I tried to wave at you. I remember the noise of the gasoline as it splashed on the ground at my feet, and I remember that little smile that twitched across your lips and how you tried to cover it with your hand and how your eyes kept on smiling anyway.

And, my darling, I remember having the feeling that I was forgetting something or that I was about to forget something, and I remember having that feeling come over me at the exact moment when you turned away from me, got in your car and drove off.

And, babe, that was years ago, and I’m still writing you letters. I keep writing you letters, and I keep saying the same old sorry stuff to you over and over again.

Babe, I’ll always be writing you letters.

Maybe you’ll be able to read them someday.

Remembering,

Julius

The 17th of February 1997 – Cape Cod, Massachusetts

(found on the beach where it was listening to the waves)

Roxanne –

Roxanne, please. Roxanne, just relax for a moment. It’s a more complicated issue than you’re letting it be. It isn’t just love. It isn’t just saying a word, Roxanne, and letting everything lay around it. There’s more to it than that.

In my estimation, there are four levels of love, at least when it comes to romance. There may be more than that – and there are other species of love than the romantic type, of course – but these are the ones that I’ve discovered.

There’s the first, at the bottom, but still incredibly valuable. It is – only, simply and magnificently – love.

It’s that beautiful opening of the heart between two individuals. The realization that two lowly beings can come together and, through an incomprehensible experience of emotion, become a greater whole than just the mere sum of their parts.

There’s the second, greater and more intense in its feeling. It is Love.

It is all that love is, but more important, maybe even more desperate. While love exults, Love heals. It cools and satiates the mind and the heart. It unlocks the intuition and instills an indescribable sense of understanding in the mind.

There’s the third, a volcanic eruption of expression. It is LOVE.

LOVE is the same as Love and very much similar to love, except that it demands a lot more noise. Whispered expressions into ticklish ears is sufficient, but – more often than not – LOVE is shouted about from rooftops and mountainsides. It is screamed out through poems being recited by once-lonely souls standing on chairs and tables. The exhortations of LOVE shake roofs and rafters. They scare birds out of trees and snow down from the mountains. This experience, the experience of LOVE, leaves many more than just one or two people trembling from exhaustion, glee and fright.

Then there is the fourth. I am not yet sure if it has a name.

It is a feeling found only in fleeting moments, times of peace and clarity when the mind calms and the heart relaxes almost to the point where it stops beating. Every breath, every exhale becomes a release of tension and anxiety, the kind that’s held in the gut for longer than we realize, for long enough that it becomes a part of us.

If you pressed me, Roxanne, to name this feeling, I would at first refuse. But then I would tell you that this fourth level of love can be understood as the desire to accompany that special someone to the beach and sit on the shore and watch the sun set below the water. That’s this feeling. It’s me, there next to you, and with only the waves talking.

That’s how I’d describe it.

So I’m dreaming of the beach,

Harold