Deregulation and Recovery: A Study in the Heart's Economics
Your name sculpts every breath from first light until night's last sigh, yet I can't address you. I've no right to whisper your name, much less put pen to paper and write: E, m, m, and a. What would follow? An I'm sorry I left November 27. Or the tired, damnable She meant nothing. Perhaps a beggar's plea: Forgive me. Let me come home. Please.
Days tumble in a soulless vacuum without you. Thanksgiving was spent in a Charlotte motel, with Messrs. Walker and Beam. Christmas was a grimy Wednesday in a friend-of-a-friend's sixth-floor sublet here in the city. (The car was stolen Christmas Eve.) I called on New Year's. Someone said you were celebrating in Buckhead; he called himself your friend. I greeted '75 in a sinkhole – Times Square – with strangers I don't want to know.
It's been 76 days since I left; now it's three days before Valentine's. Winter moved to town when I did, but seems more content to stay. There's no snow, but the winds are ruthless, whipping through the best coats and weakest walls. The apartment's heat isn't working, and pain cripples my fingers. Only my heart aches more, knowing that I hurt you and may never know you again. So this is my pathetic plea – my sorry: signed, sealed, and delivered.
* * *
I'm sorry I missed your call last month on the 14th. I tried calling on St. Patrick's, but the line was busy. I'm not avoiding or punishing you. That isn't to say that I haven't taken time to think – 116 days. After anger turned to grief, I found resolve and my path. I've been consumed with my research, which took an unexpected turn, driven by Thatcher's rise in the Conservative Party. My British colleagues predict she'll move into Downing Street, which would scramble my thesis on western politics. But her premiership is years away, I'm sure.
That's all I'm sure of. I'm not sure of "us," but I do miss you. Spring is tentative here: a slow, sweet rebirth of golden greens and tender hues. A sparrow called to a friend today, a welcome home ("I missed you. I missed you.") I listened for your silvery rattle of pans, the crack of eggs, the skillet's sizzle. There was nothing but the birdsongs, and I wondered if you heard them over the city's roar. Your pillow is still here -- but cold; perhaps you'll warm it by Easter.
You shouldn't miss Atlanta's spring, so I've bought two train tickets: a round-trip for me, a one-way for you. We can negotiate "us" after I arrive Friday, but know this: I want you home.
I'll call from a pay phone at Grand Central.