from the love letters of Zelda Fitzgerald, Part IV
— Since you are slowly dissolving into a mythical figure over the long period of years that have elapsed since two weeks ago, I will tell you about myself: I am lonesome… Life is difficult. There are so many problems. 1. The problem of how to stay here and 2. the problem of how to get out.
— Pavements crackle under the crystalline mornings. Every day I expect the front page of the papers to burst into flames…
— I trust that life will not continue forever in the heaping of ashes.
— You were a young lieutenant and I was a fragrant phantom, wasn’t I? And it was a radiant night, a night of soft conspiracy and the trees agreed that it was all going to be for the best. Remember the faded gray romance.
— A suitcase full of happiness and a hat-box of souvenirs.
— Gusts of bottled breezes.
— Here are some titles [for her stories] — Maybe you can paste them on the unidentifiable bottles in the medicine cabinet if they don’t seem to apply. 1. Even Tenor. 2. Rainy Sunday. 3. How It Was. 4. Ways It Was.
— Pale blue crowds watched the rhododendron parade today. Under an impervious Italianate sky the blaring of the bands poured forth from the hills.
— And the afternoon sun imbedding itself in a silver tea-pot.
— The sense of sadness and of finality in leaving a place is a good emotion; I love that the story can’t be changed again and one more place is haunted — old sorrows and a half-forgotten happiness are stored where they can be recaptured. *
— Snow domesticates horizons; the world is a fine white boudoir; the world is cared-for and expensive. I hope always that you’ll show up in it soon.
— One could perform experiments in how to live.
— She wore white gardenias… and white hopes.
— The winter has grown homesick for something else, somewhere else — and seems as anxious to get away as everybody else is.
— When you leave I always look about me and catalogue your visits.
— I think the Elements resent us, and I think that They Themselves are none too well-disciplined. Any old thing ought to have better sense than to freeze people.
— The eternal hope on which life is hung.
— Woods sweet with violets and the secrets of 1900.
— Meantime: I’m painting lampshades, instead of souls; just for a little while, and meantime I play the radio and moon about considerably and dream of Utopias where it’s always July the 24th 1935. That’s my chosen happiest equipment: to be 35, in the middle of summer forever.
— What is there to say? You know how much I have loved you.
* snowglobe syndrome.
In June of 1945, Arline Feynman — high-school sweetheart and wife of the hugely influential physicist, Richard Feynman — passed away after succumbing to tuberculosis. She was 25-years-old. 16 months later, in October of 1946, Richard wrote his late wife the following love letter and sealed it in an envelope. It remained unopened until after his death in 1988.
October 17, 1946
I adore you, sweetheart.
I know how much you like to hear that — but I don’t only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you.
It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you’ll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing.
But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you.
I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector. Can’t I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the “idea-woman” and general instigator of all our wild adventures.
When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn’t have worried. Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.
I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don’t want to be in my way. I’ll bet you are surprised that I don’t even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can’t help it, darling, nor can I — I don’t understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don’t want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.
My darling wife, I do adore you.
I love my wife. My wife is dead.
P.S. Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.
Dec. 29, 1795
I awake all filled with you. Your image and the intoxicating pleasures of last night, allow my senses no rest.
Sweet and matchless Josephine, how strangely you work upon my heart.
Are you angry with me? Are you unhappy? Are you upset?
My soul is broken with grief and my love for you forbids repose. But how can I rest any more, when I yield to the feeling that masters my inmost self, when I quaff from your lips and from your heart a scorching flame?
Yes! One night has taught me how far your portrait falls short of yourself!
You start at midday: in three hours I shall see you again.
Till then, a thousand kisses, mio dolce amor! But give me none back for they set my blood on fire.