Kevin Carter belongs to everyone

I hope you have the sun. I long for the sun today. Yes, I’m thinking of you. You and moonlight. You and tenderness. How you express yourself. How you make me feel from my smile to my soul. Only you know what I want the world to see. So, you took me and then you left me.

You were mentally cruel to me. I love you anyway. I accept and understand that it is part of your genetic makeup.  I accept and understand that that is just a part of your personality. You bring out the best in me. You bring out the worst in me. You’re holy even when you’re holier than thou. I accept and understand that we can’t be together. You’re not here. I’m here. The sea is here. Driftwood is here, my love, but you’re not. Are you drinking again? I know that you are. Of course, you don’t have to explain anything to me. You are my beloved. I understand. If there’s another woman, other women in your bed, you’re a man, I understand and accept that that will always be a factor in your life. I will never cut you. Understand that. I will never wound you for the sake of wounding you. You want me conveniently out of your life now. I understand and accept that. I will be writing to you to try and reach you for the rest of your life. Understand that. For you are my kind, my beloved, my kind of man. You will always be my type. Unfortunately, I will always be a stereotype. What do you see when you look at me now? Is she, your wife just a few years older than me? Both of you thought you’d be safe. That she wouldn’t fall pregnant. You did not use condoms. This is what married people do. I understand. You’re lovers. I understand you needed someone. I would not give in. I tried to tell you that I loved you. I just couldn’t put it into words, you see. Do you understand? Is it fine where you are?

What is the weather like? Is it hot there? How are you? Are you coping? I am trying to make things happen. If I was your woman, and you were my man, life would have been exciting all the time.

Interesting all the time. My sister is in Europe. That is her life now. Which is why I contacted you. I didn’t know how to say goodbye to her. I’m really in the depths of despair, which is why I tried to contact you. I wanted to hear the sound of your voice on the other side of the telephone. I wanted to hear all of your voices. I feel the ache in my lonely bones most of all. Yes, the loneliness is getting to me once again. Here I will pause; will you think my hair looks pretty like this. Do you still love me? There are bowls of fire in the linings of my heart. They are burning for you. You’re the enigma.

You’re the enigmatic prize. Other men look at you envious. Other women want to be at your side. I know you. I know you. I love you anyway.

You’re breaking my heart again. You’re walking away again. We must stop meeting as lovers. We have to meet as friends now. Friends who sleep together occasionally. I love you. I love only you. You are gone to the afterparty. The wrap parties. The social function.  I could never host anything. Just thinking about it makes me feel tired. She’s at your side. You have pulled me under again, my love. Your beautiful wife is at your side. You make quite a handsome pair. I have to let you go again. This time for good. You’re beautiful, and once you were mine. You’re not mine anymore. I will love you all for eternity. The ghost of man. The ghost of the man you were when I met you. I won’t keep you waiting. This is your time. This is the woman you have chosen to build a life with, it is her life too. She’s your human shield. I am anti-matter. I am non-existent in your world. We can pretend we feel nothing when we look at each other. But everyone can see our chemistry. How good we would be together. When I look at you, when you’re on television, all I see or feel is electricity. You’re angry at me that I can’t be more discreet. I can’t do your bidding anymore, my love, my love, my love. You’re gone. My sister is gone. Mike Murdock, American television evangelist is gone. I know the whisky tumbler is in your hand. There’s a woman lying next to you. You kiss her hard. What are you doing? You don’t love her. If I phone, you’ll answer. You’ll make me the happiest person in the world. I’ll make you the happiest person in the world. I meet so many people. All I want is you. You made your choice. You live like a family man, which is what you always wanted. You live like a free man. Perhaps one day I’ll see you again. I’ll see you and I won’t see you. You’ll see me and you won’t see me. Thanking you for your time. I can’t thank you in advance for your reply anymore. You won’t see this letter. I love you. I love you. I love you. Understand that. You’ll never let me down. You’re not going to answer the phone if I reach you. You’re gone. You hate me. I need you so much. You’re gone. I tell myself that you hate me. You loving me is impossible. Me loving you is impossible. The woman lying next to you. Well, this has always been your modus operandi. I miss you. You miss me. I don’t know how to be wife, mother, or lover. I’m sorry. I should call. I don’t have airtime. I don’t have data. Can’t give you a baby. I don’t feel that I am woman enough for you, because I can’t give you a child. There you go, you are breaking my heart again. You are my miracle. You are really gone this time. You have no need for me to substitute anything in your life. I am scared. I’m frightened. I’m running scared. I’m alone, but it is not the first time in my life that I am alone. Everything is in my head. I’m a mess.

I’m a mess. We don’t even talk anymore. Those days are gone. I wish you well, my friend. The passion is still here. What am I going to do with all this passion that I have for you? All this feeling that I have for you. You’re gone. Yes, yes, yes, I know I keep saying that. I have to remind myself of that fact as if it is alive, as if your departure it is temporary when in fact it isn’t. I’m crazy. Crazy for you. All you have to do is touch me once, and you know that what I am saying is true. My sister is such a talent. She has the potential to make it. To become an honest woman. To become lover. Somehow, she was saved from the kind of life that I live. Falling in love with emotionally unavailable men. There’s something else I wanted to speak to you about. I have to write something. Do I write something serious or light-hearted? Do I give the game away? Do I show and tell? Or let the audience in the theatre connect the dots. I trust your judgement.

You have to explain the situation to me now. We are not on speaking terms anymore? Can I contact you, because you said that I could?

You’re not free. You’re not available. Perhaps you’re not in the country anymore. Perhaps you’re at home with your family. This is my message to you. I love you. I inhabit you with every force. You’re embarrassed and insecure and shy. You were always shy. I loved that about you. I’m embarrassed and insecure and shy. I love how you make yourself vulnerable to me. You’re with someone tonight. It’s Saturday.

Love is just a game. And to you, loving is just a game. Call the police. Call the memory police. Gosh, you are so beautiful Robert. You still take my breath away. Be safe. You made me feel safe in your arms. No worries. Love who you want. Take to bed who you want. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t behave. Otherwise tonight, tonight, and all the nights after that we would have been together. I just wanted to say that I’m thinking of you. I just wanted to say that you were the greatest love of my life. But tonight, tonight you are on my mind. So, I relax into the dream of you. Smoke a cigarette. Pop a mint in my mouth. The sun is setting here. I know I can’t just show up again in your life. Unannounced and uninvited. You make me so happy. And all I am doing is just sitting here, thinking of you. You’re the man. You’re the man. You will always be the man in my life. I’ll go on pretending for your sake. I won’t pretend I know who you are if I ever see you again. I’ll avert my eyes and walk on by as if we never even met. I think of Brink and Jonker. How brilliant they were together. How brilliant we were together. Who is holding onto you now? Who is wrapping their legs around your waist? I’m missing you badly. Of course, I know this depression won’t last. It will pass the thought of the holy perfection of you. The man, the man, the man. You were the man in my life once. All the life in me has died. All the love that you had for me has died in you. I don’t regret anything, love of my life, light of my life. Perhaps they will say this one day, that my characters are complex. Males living in a reality of their own making.

Will they ever know how true that is? Will they ever know your potential to be both lover and husband? Will you ever know? Yes, I have no one. I always have had no one. No one is in the picture.

Except the master of the universe. Christ, the Saviour. I’m not coping. I’m waiting here for someone to take this pain away from me.

Yes, yes, yes. I know that person has to be me. I know that now. I have to save myself from this flux. You’re loving someone. Your mouth is on her mouth. Your lips are on her lips. Your warm breath is on her neck. The nape of her neck. When I think like this, I think of us. I think of us together like that. I’m a big girl now. No longer naïve ingenue. Am I confident? Looks can be deceiving. You see what you want to see. The world sees what they want to see. You don’t want me for some reason or other. You don’t want me. I accept this now. Do you understand this now? I am telling you that I accept this set of circumstances. I feel so rough, frustrated at myself because even after all this time I’ve isolated myself. I haven’t fallen in love. No one really cares about me, the way you cared about me. I can’t remember now what I was protecting you from. I was so poor. Perhaps it was my own poverty. I felt ashamed. You did everything in your power not to make me feel that shame. I absolutely hated you seeing me like that. That was not who I was. All I want to do is sit here now with you. Look at you. Look at you. Look at you. The way your eyes crinkle up at the corners when you’re thinking, when you’re laughing, when you’re with your friends. That is your life. I won’t ever be a part of that. I’ll do this any way you want me to. Now comes the leaving part again. The departure. And I know the reason why we’re not together.

You’ve got your life back in order now, you complicated, complicated man. I don’t want you to change. I know who I fell in love with. Rich man. Poor girl. Older man. Girl in her early twenties. I will love you for the rest of my life. I just wanted you to know that. I’ll go on saying that until my last breath. No answer. Silence. You wake up in the morning and greet me with silence. You go to bed. Silence. Silence is also an answer. You are saying that you don’t love me. That’s okay.

I’m okay with that. I’m scared. The demons come at night. There’s a struggle. Always this struggle. They’re calling it body dysmorphic disorder. Do you understand? You are the only one who understands me.

You are the only man who has ever touched me. I am old. Old. Old. Old.

A woman’s body falls a part when she becomes older. Oh, quite literally. There’s no getting used to that. To the fact that girls stay young and in bloom forever. Let her love you instead of me. She will love all of you in her own way. That’s the most important thing to know. That she will try. I can’t let you see all of me, but you know me so well. You’re in my head again. You’re in my head again.

You’re the only one who sees me. The real me. You’re the only one who listens. The only one who will ever understand me. I go everywhere and I see you everywhere. Oh, I know they’re just a pale version of you.

But understand this, it is my pale version of you. All that they are doing, these men, are living vicariously through you. I asked God, to give me something to remember you by, and He did. For me, you will be my reflection of eternity.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Abigail George is a researcher and historian. Follow her on Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram @abigailgeorgepoet.