I can’t sleep. I am permitting myself one selfish thought tonight, and I’m writing you because maybe, in the space between now and until the time you finished reading this letter, you will have permitted yourself this one selfish thought, too, and it will be enough, for both of us.
I was thinking how wonderful it would be to see you. How I should fix my life so I can come see you sometime in the future. This is me suspending reality for a moment, so don’t run away, please—and read this all the way through. It is one tiny, selfish, little wish, and in a few minutes, I promise it would all be over.
I was thinking, when I have my life sorted out, or when life has finally given me a break, I imagine packing my bags and just flying to where you are. I imagine standing in a corner, my bags in my hand, looking awkward and out of place, just like I always am with the rest of my life, scared and excited. Just standing there, really, not knowing what to do.
I didn’t make plans, and I didn’t know if you would come to find me, but for good or ill I took a risk—the gamble of my life—so I was just standing there, my heart in my throat, waiting and waiting and waiting—
And then suddenly there you are, standing a few feet away from me. We look at each other, and you have a tiny secret smile at the corner of your mouth, and I just drop my bags and run to your arms.
There I was, and there you are, and you are embracing me and lifting me off the ground, all five feet and two inches of me and you are whispering, baby, baby, baby—
You set me down, and I put my hands on your chest and I can’t even look at you. I am suddenly shy, I can’t think straight, I’m scared, I’m happy, I feel like I would fucking burst from all the emotions running through me, and you put your finger on my chin and tilt my face up and then I’m looking at the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen in my life. And you kiss me.
We kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss—
“You would never bore me and I—would I you?…I would sacrifice everything to keep you where you belong…With you, Anaïs, I could not be selfish. I want you always to be happy, to be secure, protected…I just see you in my arms, writhing, and feel myself deep in you and staying there forever. I’m hot as hell now—you’re no longer the Anaïs I wrote to from Dijon. You’re not Anaïs of the diary, either. You know which Anaïs I mean. I’m all yours.”— Henry Miller, in a letter to Anaïs Nin, 26 July 1932
“…here is the human me…If I had known then in 1914 how you would give me the world, the street, laughter, the dawn, rare books, talk, fat radium letters, your life, wine, nuits blanches dipped in Anjou, understanding, new words, new worlds. Never like this, you asked the night of the Quatz Art Ball, and I said: ‘Never like this.’”— Anaïs Nin, in a letter to Henry Miller, 28 July 1932
We are on the bed, and I am naked, and you are looking at me, and I am overwhelmed with embarrassment and start to cover myself. But you stop me, and I have doubts in my eyes, questions, and you kiss my eyelids close, and you undress, too, and you put my hands all over your body, letting me read the map on your skin, and then I am not afraid anymore, not ashamed, not embarrassed. And then we make love all afternoon.
Afterwards, I want to be like a cat, I want to purr and burrow under your skin, I want to rub my body all over you, I want to be petted and fussed over. I want to be wooed and courted and worshipped and lavished. I want to be tied to the bed and be made helpless and teased and exquisitely tortured by open-mouthed kisses. I want to be given a bath and be taken care of. I want to be looked at with such fierce longing.
I want to be the one you come running to when you feel the world is cruel. I want…I want everything. But most of all I want you.
I imagine us spending our days together, with you feeling younger each day you wake up with me beside you. I imagine you chuckling at having such a misfit in your life, at having to love someone who is half-woman, half-child. I imagine you sighing in contentment at seeing me putter about in our kitchen, or chewing my hair as I write, or rescuing another animal who has strayed by the doorstep. I imagine you feeling out of breath at thinking me gone or hurt. I imagine you feeling inner peace knowing I am just in the other room, singing off-key, not knowing you were listening.
Here is a poem:
For Grace, After A Party
You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t interest
me, it was love for you that set me
and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,
an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
the bed? And someone you love enters the room
and says wouldn’t
you like the eggs a little
And when they arrive they are
just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather
I was thinking, am I worth someone’s devotion, and how many people go to bed alone at night. I was thinking, I want somebody who would come find me when I woke up one morning and walked away from myself, who would not flinch from the intensity of everything that I am feeling, who would see the naked body underneath all the madness.
I imagine myself, fixing my life. Just the pretext of all this. But it is merely a selfish dream I am dreaming while awake. But tonight, it is enough.