That the letter was red didn’t phase her- after all, it was Valentine’s Day.
No- what bothered her was that it was wet- sopping, really- and that the red came off on her fingers.
But by then she already had it open, and recognized the handwriting- so she kept reading.
It’s me. I probably shouldn’t be writing, given the state of things. But I’ve been to the doctor. And I phoned my shrink, and… there really aren’t words for some things, but here’s a stab:
My brain is bleeding.
It happened this morning while I was brushing my teeth. There was a tickle in my nose and then it began to bleed. It was startling, but I’ve had them before. Back when we were together.
But you know that. Well, the next thing I could recall I was on the floor, and there was blood on my forehead and the toilet.
Now normally I hate seeing doctors. It means admitting you’re not well. But given the morning I had, that seemed to go without saying. He checked the usual culprits in the nose and nothing seemed ruptured, which depressed him some, because he has a peculiar fetish for nostril-cauterizing.
After some discussion we decided, as my insurance was about up, to be overly thorough and have a brainscan. And he discovered something he’s never heard of. My brain was bleeding; that I’ve already told you; but the remarkable thing was that that blood, and a bit of… let me see… CSF, I believe, healthy brain jelly, if memory serves… had leaked into my sinus and out my nostrils. He couldn’t understand it. I mean, medically, it’s completely unfounded. There isn’t a pathway in the human body that would carry bloody CSF out of the nostril. In near panic he drew blood, to see if somehow I’d gotten CSF into my bloodstream.
And I’ve completely botched the interesting bit about the brainscan. There was blood, but he told me he didn’t know why or how it had gotten there. He couldn’t find any kind of a puncture or a blockage. No sign of stroke. No injuries. But the bloodpool was increasing. There could be no doubts, he said, that I was still bleeding.
It was near to , now, and he was off to get a bite, but he sent me to ICU, the stroke ward, and said there would be a specialist to see me by two. I asked what for, if there wasn’t anything wrong. He wanted a second opinion, he said, but he was stalling. His earlier curiosity had faded; he didn’t understand what was going on and he desperately wanted me to be someone else’s problem.
So I left and phoned my shrink. You remember him. Little new-agey; you hated him. You hated that I was seeing him, hated knowing I had any weaknesses. Or maybe you just hated me by then, and anything I did would have been wrong. But I spoke with him. At first he thought I was hysterical, hallucinating. After that he tried to calm me down. Said it might be somehow stress related. Isn’t it funny that in a world with shrinks everything might be stress related?
So I called a priest. Well, a pastor. Pastor Smith. I don’t think you met him. He was excited to hear from me. Said that it had been too long. And when I told him everything he said that maybe it was a trial. Or a punishment. He was nice about it, more a conditioned response than condemnation. But I knew that was wrong. I may not go to church enough, or pray and read a Bible, but I live decently. But unless the real bastards of the world had started bleeding spontaneously from their cortexes, I wasn’t going to concern myself about divine wrath.
And that just left you. And it was only then that I remembered what day it was. Valentine’s. And I remembered what day that was. Our Sexiversary, you called it. And days after thinking I was finally liberated from you every day we had came flooding back more vividly than I knew I recalled. And I sat down then to write you.
I know I’ve written before. And I know that things have been tense between us, and that it’s mostly because I haven’t taken things gracefully. But while remembering, I realized something significant: every truly strong emotional moment in my life had been because of you. Sometimes indirectly; sometimes even in what seemed to be my life preparing itself for your arrival. But they were all with you in mind, if only as an afterthought. My depths and my heights were yours.
And it happened more. It seemed that the more I reminisced, the more the blood would flow. I’m writing as swift as I can, in the hopes of finishing before I can’t continue.
But it’s Valentine’s Day. And rather than say all the things I have stored, all the hopes and the dreams and the hate that is left, I will leave you with the most honest thing that I will ever be able to say about us: