I was down at the river the other day and I ran into Z, which was a bit of a trip since the last time I saw him was when the three of us plus E did mushrooms together almost a year ago at your condo. We drank and smoked a little together and eventually he asked if you and I were still talking. We’re not really, but we have been since you, for some reason, want to commission me of all people to do your tattoo designs. I told him we don’t talk much anymore and he said “Yeah, I think he’s doing heroin with T.” My heart sank right through the rocks and into the river for a split second, but then I remembered that the last I knew T was clean off heroin and that you two didn’t speak, and I shouldn’t care anyway. Z hasn’t really talked to you much either since you moved out of the condo, so I know that whatever he says about you currently is more than likely speculation, but I know how you like to dance around with things you shouldn’t. When we were together, I was always worried that one misstep would take you somewhere I wouldn’t be able to pull you out of. I guess a part of me still is. You used to tell me I worry too much, especially about you.
Yet, here we are again. You, asking me for things I know deep down you don’t need to ask me for, and wondering why the hell you’re asking me anything anyway. I know things haven’t been good for you these last few months, I know that you and the girl you dumped me for had problems and I think you two broke up already? I’m not entirely sure but at the same time I don’t care. Yeah, I’m sorry things are rough for you because you deserve some peace from your troubled mind, but when we do have to see each other please know that I don’t want to hear about your problems. I don’t want to give a single shit about your problems and I’m scared if you tell me then I will again. I’m scared if you and her aren’t together and if for whatever reason you want me in your life I won’t be able to keep myself away. You’re unreliable, distant, narcissistic, and you can be really patronizing. But I knew a you that not a lot of people knew that was thoughtful, caring, understanding, trusting and kind.
This was going to be a short letter but here I go spilling my beans again. You and her could be happily still together, making plans, doing whatever, and you’re at a point where you’re able to separate the art from the artist and you just legitimately think my work is what you want immortalized on your body. on the other hand though, I wrote you so many letters with little doodles on them, made visual reference sheets for your characters with only your mental description to work from, agonized over filling entire pages with color for you, worked out every detail in drawing your favorite animal (now I can draw turtles like no other) and perfecting exactly how to draw the curve of your nose and the curl in your hair. You endlessly admired my art while I immortalized our relationship in sketchbooks and watercolor paints for over three years. If there was nothing else you made me feel loved for, be it my smile or sense of humor or anything else, you always loved my art. You loved it because it was mine and no one else’s.
Every time we’ve split up in the past all it took was you asking for a commission from me, then we’d hang out and talk about the commission and you’d admire my art and then we’d talk about life and bullshit and everything would go downhill/uphill/downhill from there. I remember the last time this happened, you wanted me to teach you how to paint. I made a crude joke about trying to commit suicide by ingesting turpentine and you didn’t realize I was joking at first and immediately, if only for a second before I told you I was kidding, you looked so sad, so alarmed, so scared that things had actually gotten that bad, you started to ask questions and offer comfort. If only for a split second. Do you remember that?
My letters to you always end up so scrambled and longer than I intend them to be but I guess if nothing else, they’re a perfect representation of your place in my life.
PS I think it’s really funny how “our songs” we’d picked out for one another when we first got together are both about being in love with someone and for some reason things not working out in the end.
PSS I’m a little sad that I don’t think I’ll be able to use “Honeybee” as a pet name for anyone else, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to anyway.