To love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
I want to be the one who calls you beautiful every day. Who texts you goodnight and sweet dreams, and then good morning and that I hope you have a great day. I want to be the one to kiss your forehead, nose, then lips. To intertwine our fingers when I grab your hand, whether were walking around on a date or sitting on the couch watching a movie. I want to make you your favorite food while you sit on the counter and talk to me. I want to open your doors, and pull out your chairs. I want to make you smile when you’re crying and it seems almost impossible. I want to talk to you until you completely forget what you were upset or stressed about. I want to take you out to lunch and on fun, spontaneous, and exciting dates, and to a nice restaurant every now and then. I want to surprise you with flowers when you least expect it. Write you notes whenever I can, and make you CDs for your car. I want to meet your family and hangout with them and be as comfortable with them as I would my own. I want to let you win at games, but pretend like I didn’t. I want to be the one to play fight with you over something meaningless, like who has to remote, until we end up wrestling on the ground. I want to get your drink for you when were at a party together. I want to be the one to give you my jacket when you’re cold, even if it means im in a short sleeved shirt in the rain. I want to be the one to make you laugh uncontrollably and I want to make you feel comfortable and indescribably happy. Most of all though, I want to be the one to sweep you off your feet and make you feel how you’ve never felt before.
Vera, was the wife of one of my favorite writers to ever exist; Vladimir Nabokov. She was also his editor, assistant and secretary, as well as a source of inspiration of many of his literary works. With Vera by his side supporting his work, Nabokov published 18 novels between 1926 and 1974 (both in Russian and English).
In July of 1923, a little more than two months after they met, Vladimir writes to Véra:
I won’t hide it: I’m so unused to being — well, understood, perhaps, — so unused to it, that in the very first minutes of our meeting I thought: this is a joke… But then… And there are things that are hard to talk about — you’ll rub off their marvelous pollen at the touch of a word… You are lovely…
Yes, I need you, my fairy-tale. Because you are the only person I can talk with about the shade of a cloud, about the song of a thought — and about how, when I went out to work today and looked a tall sunflower in the face, it smiled at me with all of its seeds.
See you soon my strange joy, my tender night.
In November, he wrote:
How can I explain to you, my happiness, my golden wonderful happiness, how much I am all yours — with all my memories, poems, outbursts, inner whirlwinds? Or explain that I cannot write a word without hearing how you will pronounce it — and can’t recall a single trifle I’ve lived through without regret — so sharp! — that we haven’t lived through it together — whether it’s the most, the most personal, intransmissible — or only some sunset or other at the bend of a road — you see what I mean, my happiness?
And I know: I can’t tell you anything in words — and when I do on the phone then it comes out completely wrong. Because with you one needs to talk wonderfully, the way we talk with people long gone… in terms of purity and lightness and spiritual precision… You can be bruised by an ugly diminutive — because you are so absolutely resonant — like seawater, my lovely.
I swear — and the inkblot has nothing to do with it — I swear by all that’s dear to me, all I believe in — I swear that I have never loved before as I love you, — with such tenderness — to the point of tears — and with such a sense of radiance.
Most of all I want you to be happy, and it seems to me that I could give you that happiness — a sunny, simple happiness — and not an altogether common one…
I am ready to give you all of my blood, if I had to — it’s hard to explain — sounds flat — but that’s how it is. here, I’ll tell you — with my love I could have filled ten centuries of fire, songs, and valor — ten whole centuries, enormous and winged, — full of knights riding up blazing hills — and legends about giants — and fierce Troys — and orange sails — and pirates — and poets. And this is not literature since if you reread carefully you will see that the knights have turned out to be fat.
I simply want to tell you that somehow I can’t imagine life without you…
I love you, I want you, I need you unbearably… Your eyes — which shine so wonder-struck when, with your head thrown back, you tell something funny — your eyes, your voice, lips, your shoulders — so light, sunny…
You came into my life — not as one comes to visit … but as one comes to a kingdom where all the rivers have been waiting for your reflection, all the roads, for your steps.
In a letter from December 30 to Vera, he writes:
I love you very much. Love you in a bad way (don’t be angry, my happiness). Love you in a good way. Love your teeth…
I love you, my sun, my life, I love your eyes — closed — all the little tails of your thoughts, your stretchy vowels, your whole soul from head to heels.
© 2015 ALIA SULTAN