Your paintings are staggeringly beautiful. Did I ever tell you that,or was I just too concerned that you weren't going to earn a living? I know the answer...I worried that the paint was so thickly applied that it might snap off and ruin someone's carpet, rather than realizing that you'd made color itself tactile.
When someone dies they can be any age you remember can't they ' she asked. As I tried to think of a reply she continued 'You probably think about the grown-up Tess because you were still close to her. But when I woke up I thought of her when she was three wearing a fairy skirt I'd got her in the Woolworth's and a policeman's helmet. Her wand was a wooden spoon. On the bus yesterday I imagined holding her when she was two days old. I felt the warmth of her. I remembered all her fingers clasped around my finger so tiny they didn't even meet. I remembered the shape of her head and stroking the nape of her neck till she slept. I remembered her smell. She smelled of innocence. Other times she's thirteen and so pretty that I worry for her everytime I see a man look at her. All of those Tesses is my daughter.
For a moment amongst the crowd, I saw you. I've since found out it's common for people separated from someone they love to keep seeing that loved one amongst strangers; something to do with recognition units in our brain being too heated and too easily triggered. This cruel trick of the mind lasted only a few moments, but was long enough to feel with physical force how much I needed you.
When I talk about unrequited love, most of you probably think about romantic love, but there are many other kinds of love that are not adequately returned, if they are returned at all. An angry adolescent may not love her mother back as her mother loves her; an abusive father doesn't return the innocent open love of his young child. But grief is the ultimate unrequieted love. However hard and however long we love someone who has died, they can never love us back. At least that is how it feels...
I don't believe outstandingly beautiful and charismatic women create obsession in what would otherwise be normal men, but rather they attract the weirdos and the stalkers; flames in the darkness that these disturbing people inhabit, unwittingly drawing them closer until they extinguish the very flame they were drawn to.
But, astonishingly, I'm not broken. I'm not destroyed. Terrified witless, shaking, retching with fear, yes. But no longer insecure. Because during my search for how you died, I somehow found myself to be a different person. ... Living my life. And it wouldn't be my grief for you that toppled the mountain, but love.