Just a score of shifts plus one remain to be worked in this city, and I’ll be glad to complete them. That they are punctuated by the holidays is an incidental tragedy; we only scrape and skim what little of the old glory used to be back when life was still the way it is now and it was still okay. I feel bad for the untold thousands that are lonely this Christmas; what a sinful world it is where such emptiness persists. If you and I find our bliss and our fortunes, I would like to help some of them if I can. I see so many faces with loneliness and discontent behind their smiles. I created a page for other travelers to join in activities so they’re not as lost or alone in the city. I assume the bar scene has a greater appeal. No one has taken me up on any of the offerings I’ve suggested.
Today was dull and uninteresting. I went to sleep late, awoken early in the morning by the hospital calling to ask if I could come in and cover an employee who simply didn’t report as scheduled. I explained that I was working tomorrow night and couldn’t possibly. They understood.
I didn’t make it to church; my last chance before Christmas, as I’m working next Sunday and will be back home the Sunday after. My new computer arrived today; the old was five years old and desperately showing its age.
The snow mostly melted. Adlegwyn invited me to go bowling with her colleagues, which I accepted for want of anything better to do. They invited me out afterwards, but the restaurant was expensive, so I opted to come home and cook for myself.
Darling, do you know the cheer and comfort that can be provided by a simple meal? It astounds me how many women simply don’t make the effort to show their appreciation for their man in such a way. Didn’t the old wives say the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach? The modern woman has ventured further south to win a man’s heart, but only in token of the temporal pleasures to satisfy. Sex may keep a man around for a night; food has far better staying power. How strange, these people who announce that they can’t cook — as though announcing it dignifies the lie. Anyone can cook if they can read. What they mean is, they don’t want to spend the time. They would rather buy freezer meals or eat cereal every night, to their own nutritional depletion.
Tonight was cod, brown rice and asparagus. Now, I don’t ask for your adulation or applause simply because I chopped some garlic and turned on a gas-lit stove. It took a little time, but it was warm and rewarding, and it astounds me how few women place value on the matter. Never underestimate the value of a warm meal lovingly served.
I went for a walk again tonight, feeling either safer to do so, or otherwise just apathetic to potential hazards. These people think they’re southern, “We’re south of the Mason-Dixon line,” they protest — as though south was only a compass point. Culturally, these people may as well be Massachusetts Democrats, but the neighborhood seems quiet enough. They seem to decorate a bit more, but then again a few lights on these high-mileage row houses can go a long way.
At least out here, my heart can match the frosty air chill for chill. There’s a vacant park with walking paths that I’ve taken to walking. A stray fox made a surprise appearance and even quicker egress upon detecting me.
Even a coin held close enough to the eye blots out the sun, so I apologized to the Lord that I’m so preoccupied with my own solitary vacuity. I maintain that anyone in my position would likewise struggle, and yet be hard-pressed to choose otherwise.
I’ve been asked what I’m doing next, and I don’t yet know. Law school is just one option, and I see the path shrouded with many uncertainties. It certainly doesn’t seem to be the way to find a mate, but neither does travel, and neither did working back home. (I would be equally lost but more impoverished if I were still at home.) The highest priority has the lowest probability. If that law school offers a handsome enough scholarship to offset the costs (hedging on the score I won’t receive til early next year) then it might outweigh the liabilities. If not, continuing to travel while I apply to the in-state law school may be my best bet. After all, I would return bearing far loftier credentials than when they initially rejected me, and they have need of more students now than before, lowering their standards and doubling my odds.
Sometimes reminding myself of how I’m doing relative to my fellow man is both a help and a harm. It reminds me that things could be worse, but also that there are few with whom I could identify. “Hi, I’m a nurse with a business degree who’s probably going to law school. I’ve written hundreds of letters to my future wife. I’ve been featured in the New York Times. I interview millionaires in my spare time. I work at one of the most prestigious hospitals in the country, but just for now. I can shoot a gun, restart a heart, saddle a horse, rock a baby to sleep, cook a steak and reach the top shelf at the store. What have you been doing with your time?”
Which is worse, being proud with good reason, or humble with good reason?
I can count on one hand the number of eligible women who I thought to be of equal or greater devotion to God, who were more like Jesus than I, and who gave me the desire to be more like them.
It’s extremely rare to feel inferior to a woman, and there should be a surplus of superior intimidating mind-blowingly amazing women unpursued by the rudderless Christian men.
I’m annoyed that I’ve put this much effort and time into being a good date and most everyone else hasn’t. I told as much to a friend who tried to match me (across the miles) with his unattractive coworker. “I’ve been there,” he replied. “I agree, I don’t think the problem is you.”
But it still is a problem. “Do you think every girl is attracted to you?” someone once asked me in disdain of a moment in conversation. Not at all, I replied. But no one that I asked ever turned me down, and I’ve had to turn down a lot. However egotistical it sounds, however much it sounds like I sooth my own reputation on the matter, it’s the objective truth. I told you, I would rather mingle among people more similar to my beliefs and who value self-discipline. I would not change the Rule, nor my pursuit of it, but I would that others felt the same. I would have it that fewer souls ever felt such loneliness as I have felt these last many years.
I drove passed a wedding shop with tuxedos and dresses inside today. Fornwyn has probably already been shopping for a wedding dress. As someone who was once her friend, I am thrilled she is finally flexing the muscles every young woman should have flexed before reaching that age. There are a thousand sights and words to which I am not privy which would doubtless destroy what remains of desire for recovery, a complete and total eclipse of any which I once shared. She would not be fond of what transpired in my last relationship either. But as someone who finds himself much-changed and even still in love against the odds, it’s almost incomprehensibly tragic to miss seeing the joy on her face, or better yet, to miss being its cause. It’s frustrating to have met so many other inferior women after meeting her. If she had come at the end rather than the beginning, she would have been even more a breath of fresh air. Her memory stirs me and pains me.
The Professor suggested I drink. I’m too stubborn for that at the moment, and anyway, discipline forgone even for an evening can have ruinous consequences.
Tell me: what would you do differently? If given the choices I was given, would you act differently? Would you love differently, or travel or date or abstain differently? Would you have a man at your disposal but who was not living up to his potential? Were you to be shuttered away in a city like this, would you order your life differently?
The year is dying away. How can it already be come and gone, 2017? The days may be long, but the years are short. They take their toll on us all.
I pray this is the last Christmas without you — as I have many Christmases past, and as it will be the last lonely Christmas for many other souls.
Don’t assume that because this letter is ending, my desire to converse with you is. To draw air without you is pain; to persist in your absence seems senseless; to attend only my needs is folly. To think that somewhere you will profit from these letters across the years, and that someday men may speak of the woman whose beauty and spirit and virtue made them all worthwhile is all that gives them breath.