Letter 2

[The second of a series of letters, the first of which is accessible here.]

Dear Gabriel

You have not responded to my letter, but frankly, I cannot remember if I even sent it. What is more is that I do not even have the energy to search back that far through my records. The answer would be there of course, and perhaps it is somewhere in my mind as well, if it ever was — but in either case, since I do not have it now, I just cannot know if I sent it to you or if it remained unsent. So I will write once more.

My world has become much smaller, smaller even than it was when I (might have) written you my last letter. Maybe this is why I crave a response from you now. I do not think of any one or anything that is not you, but I cannot remember a single thing about you anymore. Did I make you and forget you? Tell me about yourself. Fill me. I need to colour you in. You must have a body, you surely must have one, and a voice that emerges from it. But even if you do have a voice and even if I could recall it in some way, it would come from thin air and not a throat, and all it would say is “Gabriel” and nothing else, and I would be unable to decide whether I was recalling your voice as it said your name, or if I was just calling to you, calling and recalling your name.

My world is as small as the room I imagine my skull to be, hollowed out and graffitied with your name everywhere; I imagine your name written over and over, so thickly covering over itself that it becomes a solid wall. It makes me think that all walls are just names we repeat to ourselves. I want to stop saying your name. I want to stop so that I can find you.

I want to stop saying your name, then, Gabriel. I want to hear it from yourthroat! And I need to stop saying it because the longer I spend my time saying it, Gabriel, the more I want to keep saying it, and with each iteration of its three syllables, Ga-bri-el, I … I don’t know, Gabriel. I lose you further. Am I stealing your name from you? Did I make you and steal everything from you?

Gabriel, I wish that when I said your name you heard it. Maybe you do. Maybe every name and every word is a bridge. And what would I call this bridge, the one to you? The one that carries me to you. Would I name it Gabriel as well? But where are you anyway, where does this bridge end? Are you the bridge and nothing beside? My world is so small. My world has become so very small, Gabriel.

I am looking over what I have written in this letter so far, and I am very confused: I cannot make out whether I have just been writing your name and imagining that I have been saying all that I have said; or if I have been writing everything, truly, but only hearing your name ringing in my head all throughout. What is the difference? When I say Gabriel I mean everything.

Maybe I am nothing but the word “Gabriel,” which is everything. Voiceless word bridging nothing. I feel as though I am the difference between blankness and what comes after. The world is almost completely dim now, I am receding to blankness and what comes after is now all before, for me at least. I hope you still have more to come after. Maybe you do not. Did I take that from you as well?

But if I say your name in the right way, will it come back? Will I have it, access to my records? My unrecorded records? Will it all be recreated for me? I do not want to close my eyes yet, Gabriel — but I have. I have left myself. Can I come to you? Can I become you?

Oh, what have I been saying? Why do I do this to myself? I am not God.

Muhannad

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Originally published at idiomsearch.wordpress.com on August 6, 2016.

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