My Dear Simon,
It was good to see you again the other night. It has been such a long time. I can’t remember how long it has honestly been since we last spoke.
You have changed some – you seem darker, less present than you once were. Surprisingly though, I felt a touch of peace in you that I did not remember from before. I read some of your older work, and perhaps I can see some inkling of that peace in your words. It’s so hard to say though. I suppose you’ve seen so much since we last spoke, since the last time I read one of your pieces. I was more than a touch melancholic in wondering what we might have seen together, had things worked out differently. Looking back now, I am not sure I would have endured traveling through the places you’ve been in the recent past. Yes, you have most definitely changed. You are aged like wine, or more aptly, like an iron rod tempered through the heat.
As to the idea of another visit? I am not sure. I think you were right in your perception that my hold on reality, and on sanity, is not the strong, rooted grip that I had believed. With the girls gone, and your recent words echoing in my mind, I can see the veil thinning. It is more than a little terrifying.
I have become complacent here, at ease in the struggle for normalcy that fatherhood and married life bring. This career, the continual chewing up of the physical world in piecewise puzzles, the poor sleeping, the dearth of spare time – all of these ‘problems’ have only reinforced the mists obscuring who I am. When you asked me who I was now, I suppose we both saw that doubt. It was momentary, but it was real nonetheless. I knew you weren’t belittling what I have earned here, even though it is something that you will never comprehend. That was generous of you – another badge you’ve earned on this journey? Even though you weren’t trying to insinuate anything, I took your point to heart. And I have the answer for you now. Who am I now? I have no idea. I honestly have no idea. That is my answer.
You’ve had this time to be, to explore and witness. But I have become convinced that we are not alone. I can no longer afford to live as you do – an island of thought and consciousness in a vast sea of Everything. I have become a device, a tool for consciousness to develop itself. I know that you don’t accept that, that you can’t accept that. But even you, especially you have to understand this. What you live, those thoughts and dreams – those are not free. Each quanta of your consciousness has been bought and paid for through the life, death, and suffering of another being. Even as the stones cry out their names, crushed under the immeasurable weight of time – those names have built that island of your identity. Perhaps that is who I am now. I toil for that consciousness. I am working to transcend these boundaries – and for that reason, sharing thoughts with you is painful. I am building something, laying structures and foundations upon which your freedom will be established, and that of my children.
No Simon, I have not diminished. I have not stagnated. I have simply built a chrysalis, and the beast that emerges will be less recognizable than you have become.
I am not angry with you, any more than you are with me. And yes, now that I consider it, I agree – we should get together again soon. We should collaborate again. We would both benefit from it, although the sacrifice is honestly all mine. I don’t begrudge you this – as I said, it is now become my duty to lay such foundations. It is a part of the growth that has been required of me. And, like the scaffolding left after renovation, my support shall diminish from those who need it so now. And then we shall shine together – though that reunion terrifies me.
You remain the largest enigma I have ever encountered. I cannot reconcile your cruelty with your selflessness. And, sometime, indeed I do yearn for your freedom. Though I would never pay what you have paid for that understanding. I will not again pass through that darkness voluntarily. Perhaps you have already made the larger sacrifice.
I must leave you with these thoughts. I will call upon you again soon, when Duty allows. I believe we have ears that want to hear, and eyes that are eager to read. I personally am ready to drink of that cup of wisdom that you have been filling so diligently these so many years.