And my craving for Sketch picks up exactly where I left it. Once more, I am multitasking, always multitasking—I am doing bedbug laundry and missing Sketch, I am practicing my handstand and missing Sketch, I am eating dinner with my friends and missing Sketch. If I am only doing one thing, it is missing Sketch.
For the next four months, we’ve decided not to talk to or text each other; no visits, no email. Only letters. There is something pleasurably deliberate and real about a letter. It’s something I am touching, which will go into his actual hands. You can spray it with perfume or anthrax and know it will be handled. I could send him blank sheets of paper and it would still feel like communication.
Letters slow the communication to a crawl, and this is a good thing. All year I have had the persistent and nagging sense that there is some right combination of words, and if I could just find them and speak them, it would guide him back home to me. All year I have felt wrongfooted; I keep making mistakes, stepping on my own tongue. 2014: Year of the Gaffe. Still, I keep trying, although talking to Sketch has come to feel like trying to run in those dreams where running is important yet impossible.
Sometimes I try to level with myself. Look, self. You weren’t this concerned with him when he lived here. All you wanted then was a little peace and quiet and privacy. Montaigne wrote: “In love, there is nothing but a frantic desire for what flees from us.” Montaigne depresses the shit out of me. Do I only want Sketch now because I can’t have him? What am I, some long-suffering troubadour? It is retarded, and I wish I could snap out of it. It makes me feel like a parasite, grasping and blind, looking for a man to attach to. I feel crazy, like I need to warn my friends. Don’t panic, but if you find me crouched in the corner talking to a sock puppet and pretending its my boyfriend, would you please lure me out with cookies? Things seem hard—my shitty IKEA furniture is falling apart, and I want to install the air-conditioner but I’m afraid I will drop it on someone five stories down on the sidewalk. A man with a socket-wrench would find me delightfully easy to seduce.
I do my level best. My favorite Ray Bradbury quote is the one about jumping off cliffs and building wings as you plummet, which sounds really inspiring, but really highlights some elevated fucking stakes as the rocks coming rushing towards you.