By: Tim Stevens
Song: How Will I Know
Artist: Whitney Houston
Album: Whitney Houston
(Picture taken from https://www.visionpayroll.com/)
This is the letter I have no want to write. However, your behavior over the past several months have made the necessity of it undeniable. Put as simply and as clearly as possible, I’m leaving you.
I know you will parade this around as “evidence,” the equivalent of a signed confession. You will point here and there on the paper and say, “See, seeeeeeeeee?! I told you. I TOLD YOU!” So let me be as clear as humanly possible with you right now. I loved you, I still love you. I am not ending our relationship because I lost or never had love in my heart for you. Your excessive paranoia about the reality of that, however, is wholly responsible for this choice you have forced upon me.
At some point, Paul, the constant reassurance becomes exhausting. How many more ways could I tell you, could I show you that I cared. I said it, I wrote in prose and poem, I made mix CDs representing it, I serenade you about it, I texted it…short of smoke signals, I am not sure I left one approach unused.
But still persisted. “How do I know?” you’d ask me. “How do I know?” you asked my father and mother, who, frankly, were still struggling with my sexuality and my choice of a non-Jewish romantic partner and did not require their son’s needy new boyfriend begging them for validation to make it that much harder. My friends. My siblings. My damn co-workers! All were treated to the Paul Needs Everyone to Tell Him John Loves Him Show. It was annoying. It was overbearing. It was rude.
But even if I overlooked all of that, your harassment of those around me, the fatigue you inflicted upon me, there would still be this: You do not trust me. You must not. If you did, my words, my gestures would be enough. And certainly them paired with all the eyewitness testimony you assembled would be an airtight case in any court in the land. But you do not trust me to be honest with you and apparently no amount of my assurances will overcome that. I can’t be with someone I don’t trust and am now realizing I also cannot be with someone who does not trust me.
I am sorry, Paul, I truly am. I had allowed myself to imagine a wedding, a home together, perhaps adoption. I wish I could make those things a reality for us. I know now though, I cannot. I’m the only one pulling this cart, you are just sitting on it and demanding of me, “Are you sure this is a strong cart?” over and over again. My body’s tired. My heart is tired. My soul is tired. You provide no solace, only interrogations and I can live that way no longer.
I hope you can take what I am saying to heart and find help. I wish you future happiness. I want you to find someone who loves you as soon as you are ready to believe you can be loved. But that person cannot be me. Not now, not ever again.
I love you, but I cannot be with you. My heart is heavy with that truth, but I must not ignore it lest I live my life forever doubting my own sincerity.
Please do take care of yourself,
Tim Stevens is the creator of this contest and The January Project. His writing can be found all over the web including Marvel Comics website, The Living Room Times, and New Paris Press. He can be found on Twitter @UnGajje where he talks about Val Kilmer, Nic Cage, comics, movies, TV, politics, and his family just the right amount.