Prologue for a novel I've been toying with for the past few weeks. Tell me, would you keep reading?
I want to be very clear from the outset: You don’t exist anymore.
The girl you were disappeared decades ago, little by little, as your ideas and your dreams changed, as you read, and lived, and bloodied your heart against the world. That heart is still the same, but the scars are new. Sometimes I look at you and still see whisperings of your child’s face. But that’s all it is: whispers down the decades.
The ‘you’ I’m writing to is not the ‘you’ I sit across from at lunch, or over a cup of coffee, once or twice a year.
The ‘you’ I’m writing to is the girl, the child, those whispers that were once a full and beautiful voice.
Over the years I’ve written a dozen novels, literally millions of words, and, I’ve realized recently, you see, that I was writing them all, in a way, to you. They’re all one long love letter, one long apology, to you.
Themes, you see, that show up over and over again in my stories. The martyr castigated for love. The cruel lover who, it later comes to light, was cruel because she loved, because she was scared because she loved…
I feel the pain of the martyr acutely, but empathetically.
I am the cruel lover.
I write myself over and over again, and I write you over and over again, and I am the villain in these tales.
I was cruel because I loved you, I’m trying to explain in these novels, these long love letters, these useless apologies… I was cruel because I was scared because I loved you.
When the cruel lover lies prostrate in my novels, begging the martyr for forgiveness, trying to explain, that is me trying to tell you, over and over again, that I’m sorry.
Such insufficient words to mend what I broke so long ago. But for all the millions of words I have written, those are the only ones that matter, and the only ones, I finally realized, that I have never actually written, that I have never actually said.
I loved you.
I hated that I loved you.