I told myself I wouldn’t write you this time. Last time, I wrote you. But this time is not like last time. Last time, I lost you. This time I still have you. Perhaps this asylum isn’t what I expected. They’re keeping me here, you know. I used to write, “Im chill I’m chill.” How desperate I was to convince you that I didn’t care. I was mumbling in the dark, squinting at the light, pinching at the pain, and thinking words would show you. I’m chill, lover, I’m chill. I’m still here, you know. But I’m talking to people now and the Words they gave me are getting Less Scary. High Functioning is what they call me. Higher, even, than others. Higher, perhaps, than people outside these walls. Higher, Lover, than you. I’m chill, darling, and it’s killing you. You can believe that now.
Yesterday, the woman told me I had no red flags. No red flags because I put away my white flags and fight back now. I don’t run in circles anymore; Lover, I’m not spinning out. I used to write that you never read my letters. Now your letters are stacking up, and Im not sure I need them. I don’t know what happened, darling. I’m packing up my strings in brown packages, wearing colors, sharpening my pencils, and no one is telling me not to. They’re letting me out soon, I know it. They said “We don’t try to keep you from the world,” but I still need permission to see it. My gut tells me it’s all falling away soon. I see pigeons on sidewalks and conveyer belts under x-rays and expectations and I’m not scared anymore.
Does that scare you, Lover? Are you scared that I won’t be in a cage anymore? Or are you scared that my letters now sound familiar?
Lover, I never wanted to leave you. The letters in my basket were the fresh air that kept me from choking. You, lover, are man enough to cry and fall asleep and wake up with a bulldog named Winston. You, lover, have given me family and a home with bright eyes over the ocean and books on yellow walls. For the most gentle intimacy, you said we never got close. I guess, reaching through iron bars, we never had the chance to. I spent many nights dreaming about what it would be like to stand face to face– to reach out and to touch with no sirens or bells. Will we get there? Both standing? Now in my dreams, I watch you fall out of the sky and I’m running out the gates to catch you.
I can’t catch you, Lover. I never could. Because I am chill— really. I’m not running in circles around you anymore. If you land in my arms Lover, I won’t be able to bear the weight.
What, then? I don’t know how to lose you, but I don’t know how not to.