This is the first in a series of postcards I am writing to people with whom I am no longer in contact--people from the past; people who are estranged; people who have passed away (names have been changed where appropriate). This was inspired by a gift from my friend Natalie Gonzalez...so credit her if you like it, and blame me if you don't.
Wow, it's so great to hear from you after such a long time and distance between us. I've thought of you often on this journey. Tentatively, but often. So many things I've seen, people I've met, remind me of our love in its infancy. When I'm melting my eyes out on towering landscapes or crystal clear starlit skies, I am reminded of that perfect New England night. At least, that's how it seemed to me then. Cinematic in its timing, its scenery, its cathartic embrace. But remembering back, I celebrated our kiss like I'd won some race. It was reduced to a goal achieved, an affirmation of self. You were utterly left behind, transubstantiated into a phantom of love's ideal instead of the very solid, very present Elena who had been my friend since I disembarked from my East Coast exodus. Elena, I'm sorry. I didn't even know how to crawl, much less walk with you. I caused you a lot of pain over the next year, willfully and spitefully. Childishly. And now, regretfully. It's been over a decade since that snowy night in New England, and I don't remember the kiss anymore. The feeling of apparent victory. There is only the dull ache of love betrayed. For that, I am sorry. Love is a hard teacher. -- Ramón