June 5th, 2002
Dearest *,
So, an explanation is in order here. Three thousand, four hundred and thirty-eight pages later, I’d feel I wasn’t giving you what you deserved if I didn’t give you, at the very least, an explanation. I feel like I owe it to us.

Yes, your name is carved on my thigh. ‘Was’ I suppose would be a more appropriate verb; it’s fading fast – like you. Yes, I did it of my own free will. Yes, I was aware of what I was doing.

You misunderstand the circumstances. I was sitting outside then, waiting. I was thinking of the next day to come, of my forays into the unsupervised, and of my lack of certainty of events. I was thinking of the current day, and the soon to occur activities. As much fun as tongues intertwining might be, when it’s no more meaningful than a way to pass the time, it doesn’t mean that much to me. As a method of prophylactics, I decided to brand myself as yours. I’ve given up on the reality, or even the dream or hope of that, long ago – months, even. It was a political statement of “hands off, emotionless hookup” as much as anything else.

As time went on that afternoon, the hand moved up down and around, but never to the thigh. My horribly twisted joke had failed. But I didn’t worry, no, there was always tomorrow. Upon returning home I looked and was put off by how quickly a few impressions of a safety pin can fade away, so I made it look more presentable. It didn’t seem as worth it when I was done – I took a picture to remind myself of the sheer stupidity and found a bandage. This wasn’t to be as funny as I’d hoped.

The next day comes, and sure enough, had it not been covered by a band-aid my plan would have worked; it would have at the very least caused pause to my unsuspecting suitor. I could have had a nice laugh at his expense – something my bitter little heart can use when I’m trying to avoid becoming attached to the bearer of another immanent rejection (what would be my third this year). I had marred my canvas not from pain or hate or obsessive love for you, it had nothing to do with you really, I branded from some cinematographic beauty I saw in the scene from a distance.

Pan in from corner.
Innocent young girl being devirginized by resident high school doormat appreciator. As man approaches ‘the goods’, he finds himself becoming increasingly aroused until – hark! What’s this? His best friends name on the girl’s leg – a sure guarantee to take some of the fun out of what he was planning on doing.
Zoom in on the name. Cut to Guy’s facial expression. Cut to zoom on in Girl’s eyes.
Fade out.

You were being used there as a tool to help me get what I wanted. If you criticize me for anything, criticize that. You’ve done the same yourself, claiming me some psycho who was stalking you so you could avoid having to explain why we could share secret hidden laughter over spilt blood. I understand I’ve been hard for you recently. I’m not the most emotionally stable person you’ve ever had cause to socialize with, and my over dramatization and emotional exaggeration can be downright frustrating at times. Even so, you kept showing up. When you’d ask me how I was feeling I wasn’t going to give you the G-rated watered down version; I knew you could take the truth. When once I offered to you escape from the truths I held, you said (direct quote) “Of course not. I'd silently murder you if I figured out you were sheltering me.” So I’d been telling you when I was upset, and you’d been helping to fix it. When it became too much for you and you retreated into your defensively bitter mode, I accepted it. I understood that sometimes people need a break, and so I tuned you out a bit accordingly once I understood.

Nevertheless, after Friday, the warning from April 22nd and the promise of a silent murder mingled and mixed until I made the decision. I figured hopefully you’d be able to understand and laugh along upon finding out; it’s the kind of dark twisted humor you’d appreciate. I hadn’t realized the ultimatum might come into play before I got a chance to explain myself. Then, of course, you ask for help the one fool I was expending so much energy ruining – of course he’d think you were doing the right thing by breaking the links.

So here I am stuck between never and a misunderstanding. If you were acting on the principles I think I saw you toying with, there’s no reason for a never. On the other hand, if I’ve been tiring you and wearing away at your newfound spiritual growth, than we can continue on our break. I only request that you take down the veil of illusion that places this decision on my head. We’re friends, you and I. (Ahh, “we’re.” So ambiguous, am I speaking presently or in passing?) Friendship of three thousand, four hundred and thirty-eight pages and countless hours isn’t as easily forgotten as the newest passing fad. I hope you can one day bring it in yourself to forgive me, or at least to listen to what I have to say here.

Never is a long time. If you want a trial separation, we can arrange that. We can stop talking for a month or two or three or nine, but I’d like it to be a decidedly finite period of time. Nothing but loss and pain comes from a never; forever silent keeps nobody happy. I honestly believe were we to sit down in person one day and have a little chat about things, we might be able to sort out some of the inherent misunderstandings I’ve found in our day to day interaction. We might be able to learn to recognize each other’s jokes, maybe even laugh at a few of them. Of course, this plea is sounded to deaf ears. I’ve found myself going through the stages of grief, but they’re interrupted each day yet; it can be hard to get over a death (even a metaphorical one) when you’re forever haunted by ghosts.

I can only pray (on my hand strung rosary no less) that one day never will be shortened and I get my life sentence changed to a parole for good behavior; until then I’ll keep appealing to an empty juror’s box.

Sometimes cutting yourself is about making a point, not about the pain. Sometimes it's viewing your body as art. That's not always a smart thing though.