the only complaint that i wish to formally register against you is your fickleness. not that i am currently a victim of this, your one fault–in fact, just the opposite. as you well know, my life right now is absolutely blissful: i live in the constant reassurance of having found and married my soulmate, one who is more perfect for me than i could have imagined without the experience. and i never could have imagined a relationship so perfectly lovely as it actually is; we read books together aloud (having just finished dickens’ a christmas carol, we are now beginning augustine’s confessions); sit in our pajamas on autumn saturday mornings and discuss philosophy (kant and hegel, usually); confide in each other about absolutely everything, even things so trivial that it would seem the only purpose in mentioning them is to reassure ourselves and each other that we truly do share everything; i read every paper he writes for his graduate courses and he reads all of the editorials i write for my women’s foundation. we both idolize a truly good film, and will discuss at length any film that lives up to our expectations (upon which we almost always agree). for the first several months of our marriage, we rode around on his longboard–me balancing on the front tip while he held me steady with his hands and pumped with his right foot–first to the grocery store to buy snacks, then to the cemetery to sit under our favorite trees or by particularly romantic-looking headstones, where we would play card games, read books, or lie on our backs and talk while we looked at the sky, all the while jokingly wondering if we were offending the souls that rested beneath by parading our happiness on such solemn grounds (we finally drew the line at frisby). we have lived off of the wilderness together, been beach bums together, attended catholic masses and hindu festivals together, became whole-hearted trekkies together, and until our move to graduate school where neither of us has had jobs, we always found employment at places where we could work together. when sadness overwhelms me in the middle of the night, he stays up and we sob together. if i am so angry that all i can do is stand and shake, he holds out his hands until finally i give in and let him hold me. even in our differences we are the perfect couple: he prefers to cook and i prefer to clean, he is prince charming tall and i am pixie child petite, he prefers to play video games with exciting storylines and i prefer to watch video games with exciting storylines (gasping when something frightening jumps out of nowhere and cheering when he wins a battle). neither of us is willing to share his or her books, so we keep our collections separate, and count every year or so to see who is leading in the race to own the most (at last count, he was at 546 and i had 544). he’s had several years to get tired of my body, but he hasn’t yet–if i may say so without embarrassing us both, he sometimes still gets honeymoon-night excited when he catches sight of me changing my clothes. we dream of owning a cozy farmhouse with land for huge gardens; he assures me that he doesn’t regret it that i can probably never have children, and we discuss instead the two foster daughters that we will adopt and name “soren”, after our favorite philosopher soren kierkegaard; and “pascal”, after the man who was both a physicist and philosopher, thus representing our separate disciplines. we talk a lot about god. in one of my favorite memories, we sat on a bench in a beautiful park and discussed in-depth my doubts and his christianity. in times of trial, we encourage each other to have faith. and even though neither of us is entirely certain of what the state of affairs after this life will be, we know our souls will be one forever. i sometimes wonder that i didn’t know that he was my soulmate the moment we met. our first conversation took place in the spring: we talked about les miserables, a book i hold to be the pinnacle of literature, and he told me that jean valjean was his hero. then we talked about kierkegaard. but not only did i not know it then (although he knew he loved me within our second date and refused to give up ever after), i didn’t even know it when, that autumn, we were walking through a library in search of a book i needed for my research and without thinking i reached for his hand because it felt more natural to be holding it than to not (and still does). it wasn’t until that winter, as we lay drowsily by a fireplace, that it suddenly occurred to me that i was feeling for him something i had never experienced before. i have more faith in his abilities than he does (to the point of tears when something good happens that affirms how brilliant and amazing he really is), and i can tell that he believes in my potential by the way he brags about me to others, but even more so by the way he refuses to let me give up.
we were at an art museum a few weeks ago, in the gift shop. there were two prints that i really really wanted to purchase, but we don’t have a lot of money and i felt too guilty to buy them both. i told him i would only buy one, and he asked if, since i was buying something, he couldn’t buy something too. i said of course he could, and he immediately took the other print i had wanted, purchased it, and gave it to me.
so clearly i have nothing to be complaining about. you, however, have your track record. and so to your fickleness i say this: if you take this away from me, not only will i never ever forgive you, but i will hunt you down, beat the hell out of you, and hang you on a cross where you can die the most painful death imaginable.
hoping this letter finds you well,