Pride Season: The Unsent Letter – Man In An Orange Shirt

A most heartfelt letter written, but never sent. The tender letter from Thomas to his lover Michael, written in around 1957. Taken from the brilliant ‘Man In An Orange Shirt’, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful yet tragic love stories I’ve ever seen on TV and encapsulates an era of forbidden love. A love that dare not speak (or write) it’s name for fear of imprisonment. It would be another decade before the law on prohibiting homosexual relationships would be repealed, at least in the United Kingdom.

“The love I feel for you runs through me like grain through wood.”

Think about that for a minute.

If you haven’t seen the BBC adaptation of Man In An Orange Shirt, it’s available on BBC iPlayer for the next couple of weeks.

The Unsent Letter:

My Darling Thomas,

I'm at work. Nobody knows I'm writing to you here. They think I’m drafting a long and stupefying memorandum about incremental shifts in the price of Welsh coal since the end of the war for the ladies in the typing pool to type up later.

You refuse my visits so you're probably tearing up my letters too but there's nothing else I can do but keep trying. It's beyond my control, do you see?

All those months ago, when I had nothing to lose really, I wrote to you in my head but was too cowardly to set more than lies upon paper. And now I find I no longer care. The love I feel for you runs through me like grain through wood. I love you, Thomas. Your face, your voice, your touch, enter my mind at the least opportune moments and I find I have no power to withstand them. No desire to.

I want us to be together as we were in the cottage. Only for ever, not just a weekend. I want it to go on so long that it feels normal. I think of you constantly. Your face, your breath on my neck at night. I want to do all the ordinary, un-bedroomy things we never got around to doing. Making toast. Raking leaves. Sitting in silence.

I love you, Thomas.
I’ve always loved you.
I see that now.
Tell me I'm not too late.

Michael

***

Everything in this image has been created from scratch by The Vandeput Design Co. and is copyright…

© 2017, Ryan Vandeput. Without exception, you may not use this image for any purpose in whole or part without licence from The Vandeput Design Co. Email ryan@ryanvandeput.com to request permissions.

The Last Mile, by Noah St. John

When my mommas fight, they go on long car rides, come back and I hear our car stay still. They come in and Robin goes directly to the bedroom angry. Maria will sometimes make toast or water. I sit in my room quiet, listening like a radio antenna.

My mommas drive a CRV, they bought it brand new; the car is big boned practical. It is our car. I have been one with this CRV for so long now. We used to drive for miles out on the highway until I fell asleep. It has taken me to martial arts practice, and school plays. This is the car that took me to the Gay Pride parade where I skipped through the crowd throwing mini Oreos. This is the car I’ll learn to drive in; the car I’ll remember.

Last Tuesday night my mother Maria comes into the house with a weathered smile. My other mother Robin and I are sitting in the room. Maria asks us if we will take a drive with her. So we all get in the car, our hearts thudding in offbeat unison, and as we drive, silence settles in, and I wonder. Then I know. This is it.

And I didn’t imagine it would end like this. I didn’t imagine an ending at all but if they were going to tell me about the divorce, what a way to do it. I sit in the back seat. I wonder when they’ll say it; how they’ll say it.

I think about how my time will be split between them. I wonder what will happen when they see each other afterwards. Will it feel like collisions? I don’t want to meet another girlfriend.

I can’t imagine anything but this; it’s ending is unthinkable, my heart hurts at the thought of our last miles. These miles. Who will take the CRV?

In the back seat I think about how lucky we are to have had this family. Their twenty years of marriage, my fifteen with them. I remember when Maria drove away one night without saying where. I remember when I came to them crying at the idea of separation. I remember when Robin came out sobbing. I remember when Maria whispers at Robin to be quiet, and Robin yells louder.

I feel these walls crumbling; I don’t want this life to end. Maria starts to talk. I pinch my leg and look out the window. She tells me that our car, our CRV is just thirteen miles away from reaching one hundred thousand miles now. I wonder if this is part of the divorce speech or just a distraction. I feel angry. They should just say it.

She tells me the reason we took this ride, is so that we could all be there, one hundred thousand miles together; as the people who matter in her life. Slowly, I come to the realisation that this isn’t a break-up ride; this is a stay together ride.

We’re in the car, and we’re driving on a Tuesday night, and we’re ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and eighty seven miles in. We stop for onion rings and sundaes; keep driving… ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-three miles… Stevie Nicks… ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-six miles… Elton John. When we get to ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine miles, we hold hands…blast Melissa Etheridge and sing ‘Lucky’ at the top of our lungs.

There are too many reasons that my mommas found love in each others presence. There are too many moments when we are unbreakable, and in this moment we are one family, constructing road as we go; burning bridges behind us, adding mileage like graceful ageing… driving in our CRV, towards moonlight.

Lyrics: Sunshine on Leith

My heart was broken, my heart was broken
Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow,
My heart was broken, my heart was broken…

You saw it, You claimed it
You touched it, You saved it…

My tears are drying, my tears are drying
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,
My tears are drying, my tears are drying…

Your beauty and kindness,
Made tears clear my blindness,
While I’m worth my room on this earth,
I will be with you,
While the Chief, puts Sunshine On Leith,
I’ll thank him for his work,
And your birth, and my birth…

My heart was broken, my heart was broken
Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow,
My heart was broken, my heart was broken…

While I’m worth my room on this earth,
I will be with you,
While the Chief, puts Sunshine On Leith,
I’ll thank him for his work,
And your birth, and my birth…

I’m going to smile and make you think I’m happy,
I’m going to laugh,
so you don’t see me cry,
I’m going to let you go in style,
And even if it kills me,
I’m going to smile.

It Happens Everyday

It happens everyday
Two lovers with the best intentions to stay
Together they decide to seperate
Just how it happens
neither is certain
But it happens everyday
It happens everyday
After you break up
You say these words to your friends:
“How could I have loved that boy?
He was so bad to me in the end”
Well, you make him a liar
turn him into a robber
Well, it happens everyday.
But I don’t regret that I loved you
How I loved you I will never forget
And in time I’ll look back and remember
The boy that I knew when we first met.
Still it happens everyday
Two lovers turn and twist their love into hate
But am I so different
From the ones you used to date?
You used to adore me
You used to adore me
Still it happens everyday

Maybe Together, We Were Not for This World

You were the only one,
Who was still holding a light
,
And I’ve always been 

Afraid of the dark,

Afraid of being alone
,
I think that’s how I wound up here,
But now I’m left wondering,

What happened to the spark,

And how it got so lonely.

I was lost,
but now I’m finding myself,

I was blind,
of which I now begin to see
,
Seems the darkness made me stumble

And sad as it seems,
Your light was never made for me

.

POETRY: I AM STILL HERE

Once, my tortured tangled heart,
Ached alone, hurt and weeping,
Yearning for the company I was seeking,
Pushed away by the one I was keeping.
He walked out on me without a clue,
And summer lost its brightest hue,
No explanation, just desperation,
To return to a life he once knew. 

Autumns day was short and fast,
His pseudo-love for me would not last,
Yet still I kept and provided for him,
Even when winters evening grew so dim.For him the grass was always greener,
His desire for a greater life now keener,
I fought too hard and bore the scars,
To keep a man already lost, in eternal spring.

I feel no pity for this man,
No longer do I love or hate him,
Indifference is now my only feeling,
My beating heart no longer reeling.The light of a clear blue morning beckons,
In this life I’ve learned many lessons,
The sun again has shown to me its face,
And now no longer will I fall from grace. 

He is gone but I am still here,
Yet no care nor anything do I now feel,
All he left was a comma, on a blotted page,
In a fairytale chapter of a long ago age. 

~ Ryan Price
© 2013 Ryan J. A. Price (11/01/2013)
all rights reserved. No copying or reproduction in whole or part without the express written permission of the author. 
Contra Omnia Discrimina 

Kahlil Gibran: On Reason and Passion

Posted from: Vale of Glamorgan CF61 1ZH, UK

Your soul is often at times a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both. Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows – then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky – then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.”
And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

Khalil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran: On Pain – “Much of your pain is self-chosen…”

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, 
even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. 
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, 
has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

– Kahlil Gibran
Image © Dr. Franky Dolan

Khalil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran: On Joy & Sorrow [with a personal reflection]

Posted from: Vale of Glamorgan CF61 1ZH, UK

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Khalil Gibran

• • •In this poem ‘Joy & Sorrow’, Kahlil Gibran likens the two as being inseparable. He beautifully encapsulated this conflict so wonderfully and succinctly. Even in this pain, there is a sense of wonder and bewilderment that the heart can feel a depth of sorrow by the very same instrument that delivered the sense of abounding happiness in the first place. 

It is a curious, baffling sensation. Where he used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly wandering around in lost the daytime, and falling into its depths at night. My knees are skinned from falling down into the unforgiving, cavernous abyss which he left behind.When hearts break, the scar-tissue and calluses on the heart amount to wisdom with time, or so we are told… If only that time would come sooner for healing to begin. Until then, I rest, and I hope that there really is hope, and I try… and I wait…

Contra Omnia Discrimina