Just to warn you in advance: you’ll be shocked by this letter and the news it brings. But me being British, it just wouldn’t be cricket not to explain things to you. So here goes. (I’m not telling you anything new here, of course. I’m just stating it to bring it afresh to the front of your mind, to establish the context for what comes next.)
We’ve spoken about this a lot, but recently less so. The truth is, I loved you the moment I set eyes on you, and I loved you for most of our time together. That love changed, though. Oh my, how it changed!
Mandy’s party, when we first met. You set me alight with a single look. And then the wildfire, roaring down my body from my eyes, my brain, into my stomach and … you know. If you’d asked me, I’d have gone with you right there and then — slipped away to one of the bedrooms or something.
But you were too much of a gentleman, at least that was the image you liked to cultivate. And I went for it hook, line and sinker. The gentle reserve only fanned the flames in me. I was yours.
My love morphed over the following months and years. It was like a raging sun early on. After a while I became an obedient moon, orbiting around you, inseparable, irrevocably attracted to you but never close enough to really touch you, let alone move you. Did you ever love me, in fact?
And so we slipped into our routine — our toxic routine. (Once again, nothing new for you here, but as I said, context …)
You’d come home at the end of the day and I’d be waiting for you. Every day! You know, I think I would have made a good lawyer, but you never let me finish the Bar, and I never asked you why. Was it envy? Did you feel threatened? Or was it simply possessiveness — not wanting to share me with something as abstract as a career, and all the people that would come with it? Maybe it was a mixture of all that.
So there I’d be, wearing what you’d text me to wear … or not wear. And you’d take me to a room — a different one every evening so that it wouldn’t be such a routine — and we’d do it, again always ringing the changes.
I must admit this gave me pleasure initially; it was exciting to have someone so in charge of my body. But then I began to want to decide things sometimes. A big mistake. It was the moon wanting to shift its orbit a little, and that could not be, could it? It introduced an element of resistance, and that brought pain — physical and mental.
And so the violence began. At first, again, it was quite light, and I half-enjoyed it, if the truth be told. But there was no safe word, and like any drug (I think you became addicted quite quickly) you would only be satisfied with an increasingly stronger dose.
You were careful. You kept the beatings to my body, so that the bruises wouldn’t show if friends popped by. I wonder how you knew I wouldn’t tell them, or go to the authorities. Perhaps you were so confident of my love for you that you were sure I wouldn’t betray that love. I think that’s probably it. You were right, naturally. I did love you, and needed you. I wasn’t about to turn you in.
And so we continued. How far did you imagine you could go? Or maybe that just didn’t enter your head. Maybe your gratification blinded you to my suffering. I’ll tell you how far I could go: as far as what happened last Tuesday, with the rope. It was a new sensation for you, I know — I could see it in your eyes, even as they became a blur to me. You stopped in time … this time. But it was like the scales had fallen from my eyes, and the spell was finally and definitively broken.
I’m sure you understand that I couldn’t let things go on like that, and so I’ve made a decision, which I promise was not an easy one. To end it. This letter is my goodbye to you.
I’ve chosen to do it this way because if I were there in person, I might be tempted to stop it from happening, through the residual love I still feel for you.
Knowing you as I do, by this time you will have eaten at least one or two of the custard tarts I left next to the letter — like those delicious ones we had on our holiday in Lisbon. I remember how much you loved them. If you’re still reading this and not yet convulsing, then that will come shortly. I don’t think a call to the emergency services will do you much good, I’m afraid.
No, the deed is done. And when Matilda comes to clean on Monday morning and finds you, I’ll be thousands of miles away.
Perhaps, just perhaps, you’ll get a kick out of these last moments, seeing the irony — the reversal of roles, as it were. I’ll never know, and that’s a shame. Nor will I ever know whether you’ll actually get to read these, my final words to you. But anyway.
Adieu, (once dear) John.