Love Letters for All

Sunday mornings, you drink your tea, you stare out into the world from his double-digit floored apartment. It's like fortified bubble in a cacophony of motion, movement, and people. You think about everything. You think about love letters you write, to friends on their birthdays, to friends on the other side of the world. You don't believe in writing love letters to lovers. You believe in love letters for the moment, for the missing, for all. Sometimes you don't even differentiate the degree of love. The love is in the very act of the love letter. There do you sift and organize and aggrandize until one day you're at her wedding and you dissolve into a puddle of lonely nutrients. Once upon a time, you used to meet your former lover off the D stop on Grand. He'd get off work. You'd get off work. You'd find cheap eats in Chinatown: a bowl of pho, a dish of squid stir-fry. What you remember is not quite the food, it's that moment when your eyes met across the intersection, and he stared and smiled at you with the most exuberant, dazzling smile that you knew. You knew it would be the kindest, purest smile you'd ever get in your life. In that exact moment, when you smiled back, you also realize, with the core of your being, that this won't last. Someday you'll lose that smile. Someday it won't be for you, and maybe not because of the forces of nature, but sheerly from your own will. Years later when your mind lingers to the D stop on Grand, you write to a mutual friend, "he's the kindest I've ever known, and he will be all right." And we, whatever we were, and whatever world we constructed together, will stay with us, and shape us, and propel us to become better people. But I, I will always treasure that one moment when love touched you so deeply with a smile, a caress.

My new lover is afraid to look at me in the eyes from afar. When I asked him about this in the dark, he explained that he was cataloguing the experience of a new place - the trees, the old man with a watermelon, the kids, as if he's stitching a landscape of west side Beijing. He's inquisitive and strong and I don't really know what he's thinking behind the veil of his eyes. Some people use their eyes as window to their soul, some to put a buffer on their heart. He, he is the armor your want to embrace in your fortified bubble floating in space.