The Way We Lied

David’s Millennium Letter

Caroline has asked us all to contribute a letter to what she has called her time capsule, to be buried to mark the new Millennium. She said that we could write whatever we liked as no one is ever likely to see it. Oh my darling, if only you knew how that made me feel! When you said that I realised this was the one place in my entire life where I could be completely honest and tell the truth. And so for once I will be utterly transparent and completely candid about my thoughts and feelings on this day, the first day of the new century and a time for a new beginning. If I empty my head and my heart of all this painful desire, perhaps I will be free of her and be able to devote myself more fully to you and to my work.
But if at this moment I was now free to do whatever I liked, I would choose to run to Mary and do whatever she asked. I long to be impulsive like her, to strip naked in the woods and roll in the leaves. I risked it once and can never forget the utter liberation I experienced. But I daren’t do it again because of my position and my responsibilities. I have to consider my family, my wife and my Party.
Yet I long to be free. And I long to be with Mary, wherever she is now. I will never be able to admit to this publicly and I have never told her either, but I love her. I love her eyes, her hair, her laugh, her walk, her irreverence and her mouth. I would like to kiss every part of her from her toes to her head and taste the parts I have never seen, never will see but imagine and long to touch. I imagine them often. I know they would be beautiful, darker, moister than any other parts I have known and I would sink into them and die.
That’s just the trouble. If I have her, I will die or at least would be killing the person I am now. I would have to relinquish all that has made me who I am. I would no longer be respected, no longer be the decent family man and upholder of normal values. I would be dissolute, deceitful and detested. But I would be whole inside. I would feel again. I would never have to search for love again.
I sometimes wonder why it is that Mary makes me feel this way and Caroline doesn’t. All I can think is that Caroline defines me as a husband and a father, complete with a package of responsibilities, cares and duties, while Mary doesn’t impose any limits. There are no boundaries. She just looks at me and questions everything with her words or even just a glance of her eyes or the raising of an eyebrow. What do you want to be? What do you want to think? Why should you care what others think?
But I know I cannot be with her. I can never leave my life. But I will wonder for the rest of my days what it would have been like.

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