Monday - Dec. 18
Have only 10 minutes to catch the last mail. So Just a word to acknowledge your long letter which just came. I am so delighted you can be here on the 21st. and 22nd. Marvelous! Shall expect you about 6 o'clock - on the 21st. Your letter was lovely - my eyes are much better, and will be all right by the time you get here. The Dr. found the right antidote, which was lucky.
Tuesday, Dec. 19
Opening my eyes on a cold, grim morning I reached for the paper hoping 2 days had skipped by in the while I slept! It was still just the 19th, 2 more days to drag along before you come.
Wish you had come Monday because putting it off until the end of the week invites catastrophe - then another week or so would drag on before we meet. I feel doubtful about your arrival; it's so close to Christmas. I had a very quiet week, I was not well enough to go out, my eyes were all bunged up - today they are fine, I can see much better, too. I am glad you were not here last week, you've never seen me disfigured, both eyes closed up with great pink swellings, covered with ointment. I looked hideous, if you had seen me you might have been repelled.
I have been feeling increasingly doubtful about having anyone so young as our new in the house. He's on trial for a week, so, I decided I would be very distant and formal with him. When I was typing to you yesterday, he knocked on my door and came in wagging his tail and holding out a paw. He prattled away with that mixture of brash confidence and fits of shyness that marks the Inferiority Complex. Seems quite an intelligent boy, but his mind is in a state of chaos and confusion, and very unsophisticated. He just doesn't know the score, poor kid.
Now, I want to respond to a few things you said in your letter. - Your early environment gave you many false values. I said a hundred times that I thought the way your father brought you up was ideal, the life you lived at home as a child was the best possible preparations for the future. I am against children living in rich and sophisticated homes. The country, or a small town, (plus enough travel to keep them lively and interested in new things) is the best possible environment. BUT after your father died you came into the orbit of people who were not good companions for an impressionable wild boy. Can you, in honesty, say you would like your son to belong to clubs where drugs are taken, with free-for-all orgies? To know gangsters with their twisted point of view; to spend time in Harlem, where life runs wild and morals hardly exist. (I am not using morals in a sexual sense but simply mean that Negroes have the point of view of children, very often, with all that that implies). When one is fully-grown one can dip into that world for short spells, finding it interesting while remaining untouched by it. You were too young to spend such a long time among such people - it affected you. Do you know how different your life would have been if your father had lived? Most normal healthy boys never have the slightest contact with the criminal world. Naturally, I know that you had many other contacts, which were wholesome and sweet, and you knew all kinds of people - fine, upright intelligent ones. But that other world has left it's mark on you.
In your letter you say: "I can't understand why you continue living with T . . . why you didn't find someone you truly loved so that your life would have had a purpose to it." My darling, the answer is implicit in what you write - yes, why didn't I find someone I could love, respect, adore truly and entirely - until I met you? I don't know why, dear one, but I just didn't. The reason I never left T. to marry someone else was that there never was anyone I wanted to marry. Could anything be simpler? Naturally, had I found the right man during the past fifteen years (when I realized T. was not right for me) I would have married him. I am not conventional, and T. would have let me go if he thought it was for the best. As I did not care deeply for anyone at all, there seemed no reason just to leave him and live alone. We respected each other, and were extremely devoted in some ways. Our life was pleasant, busy and gay - until the war. Looking back on all the men I met during that period, not one of them stands out as being a better life-partner than he. Many were rich - but I could never marry a man just for that reason. Like you I "don't want to be shackled to a beast" - and they were all beasts, rich men usually are. You are the only other man I ever lived with in a steady, continuous kind of way. The men I knew were either sweet and poor - or rich and bastards - they were brilliant, but utterly selfish.
Geniuses, but impossible to live with. Beautiful, but stupid. Strong, successful - but harsh and lacking any kind of intelligence except the single-track business mind. There is not one of them that I look back on and say, "How happy I would have been with him." NO, NOT ONE. There are only two kinds of marriages I could have made. The best one for my particular temperament would have been the kind of marriage you and I could have worked out between us. Had we married in our early twenties, we would have had ten years of fun, hard work, wild ecstasy and fiery young love. Babies, struggles, learning, studying together, - then, when we were in our thirties, ten years when we would be a bit "settled down", you spending more time on your career, I on the children, wild ecstasy turned into "a friendship lit by flashes of passion" - both deeply interested in bringing up our beautiful children to be real people, not phonies. Success coming along for you, deeply in love with your own lovely Bubi, - in spite of an occasional "sleep", here and there. Then, the forties, years when I would have to face up to infidelities, because by then you would be very successful, sought after by women who naturally seek out an important man and try to get him for their own. You, with beautiful girls, snatching at youth as it was slipping away. This would not have distressed me at all! I would feel that as I was the woman in your home, in your real life, the one protected by your name, income, care, love - I would be the one who counted.
We'd have enough money to travel, and buy beautiful things. Me, still in love, you proud of my elegance and distinction and my elastic mind which never gets "set" in any mold. Both of us absorbed in the developing lives of our children. We wouldn't make love very often but when we did the same sweet warmth and natural response and feeling of "rightness" would still be there. Nor would we ever lose that delight in kissing each other, touching as we passed by, holding hands in the theatre. When we got old, we would have the comfort of enjoying each other's company. We would never be lonely because we'd have each other's love strengthened by the many years of shared memories. Inside us would be the anguished thought, never uttered or hinted at, "If only he does not die before me; I should be bereft" "If only she doesn't leave me first -"
It was my bad luck to go through my whole marriageable time without meeting you or someone like you. I just looked and looked and waited and waited - and when I met you - well, I knew you at once. Then of course, it was too late, but it was not too late to take you into my life as my family, as my son, and best friend. That had to be second-best, but in it's way, it is sweet and wonderful.
I missed that marriage. No fault of mine. I just couldn't find my man (in time). There was another kind of marriage that would have suited me. To marry a man a good bit older than me, who had already made his big success? Old enough and strong enough to take the responsibility of my entire life on his shoulders, yet young enough to be sexually attractive. Perhaps not a mad love, and perhaps not complete compatibility, but as the wife of a man with a public career I would have been in my element - able to live through his exciting and varied world of music, or politics, or science, or literature. I would have a part to play in this life, and could play it right well! Again, I had the bad luck to meet the right man at the wrong time. I was much too young to be able to pull off two divorces, while holding the interest of a fascinating philanderer, or, if you prefer it, a born cock- hound! I nearly pulled it off, young as I was! That was the only other time I was absolutely madly in love in the same ecstatic way that I was with you. 20 years in between there was just nothing which was "right" for me.
I have explained all this at some length because I want you to understand. Had the right man come into my life I would not have been timid or so conventional that I would have felt I should preserve that hollow facade which is made to appear so important just because it is labeled "marriage". There is not a timid scrap in my whole make-up. I would have gone to him at once - just as I would walk out and go to you, now, if conditions were possible for us to take this step. If T. found someone he wanted to marry, I would have done all I could to help him get his happiness. Once I asked him if he wanted to marry the blond. She was certainly potty about him, and she was very pretty. He looked utterly stricken at the mere idea and wouldn't even discuss it! I gather that he thought her a good sleep, and fun - but to have in his home - after me - no, he couldn't face that!
Now, this letter is long enough, I cannot discuss the other point you raised - about what you want to do for me. I feel that is something you should decide for yourself. I understand wishing to bind each other more closely with the ties of interlaced finances because I have the same wish. I long to share with you all that I have, when you need it. I do share what I have, if there was more to share, it would be yours without asking.
When you are like this, your true self, I love you with all my heart. I see flowering in you; the wonderful man that is to be and I adore him. You have been entrancing, and have done much, these past weeks to make up for the heartbreak of last summer. But I can't yet forget. It was like a long illness, dragging on in secret. I nearly died of it.