Consider this our first letter. I’ve often wondered – either walking alongside you or standing against a railing preventing me from jumping to you – if you were a woman or a man.
When I walked next to you, you lead me on. I went where you went. You spoke. I listened. You had me by my wrist. And sometimes you walked so fast, I tripped. It was always a wild goose chase – you and me, when you made me walk next to you. Times like those when I didn’t utter a word to you but listened so carefully, devoted – I felt like your wife. Not a mistress. Not a lover. I was your wife. The ball was always in your court. I loved you more than you did me. You were a man. Your ripples were dark grey. You always looked like you were going to war. Make war. You held vessels I was incapable of estimating. Bridges majestic were necessary to trespass your air. You were Napoleon. I wasn’t your trusted horse but Keats – a poet who ruminated on you and your Waterloo.
But when I stood against a railing to watch you, you were something else. It seemed to me that you were flowing past me, showering me with repeated confessions. The more rapid you flowed past me, the more frantic your love was. Your love was that of madness. Was one which couldn’t stand still. It was one of those historical love stories – where you would do anything for me. But I just stood there and watched you. I wouldn’t jump, even if your madness subsides, even if you would love me in a less brutal way, I wouldn’t jump for you. Leaning against the Chelsea Bridge, I saw that you were a woman. If a woman were to truly love, she’d love like you. She’d love in rapids. She’d love by bearing a man’s inability to love her.
One strange August evening, days before writing this letter, when the sun was up even after seven and I forgot the time, I walked down Bankside Pier. I was trembling in the faint cold winds. There you were, Thames, quietly lapping against the sands, miniature waves one after the other approaching me. I was reluctant at first, mainly concerned by my inability to decipher our new proximity. I saw a little dog run to your palm of waves. I saw you hold him by his feet, just for a second. But for that second you enclosed him, you held him so dearly. I removed my shoes quickly and waited for you to do the same to me.
And you did. Even more passionately. You remembered me from all those days of walking alongside, all those days of standing against a railing watching you. The moment your waters touched me, you were neither man nor woman. I was neither man nor woman. And I knew that day, as you kept coming back to touch my feet, caress, kiss, and hold it in the least means possible that ours was limited love. And I was the one limiting it. If I could only jump, let myself be carried by you – away into your abysmal depths, we would be united forever.
Before leaving, I promised you. That if I ever wanted an abysmal, if I ever wanted an end or even a beautiful suicide, I’d come to you. I’d jump. And ours will be forever. With that, I end this letter.
Yours to be, the woman with the tiny feet.
Location: River Thames, United Kingdom