It hasn’t even been two days yet, and I miss you.
We both knew this would happen.
I listened to some of our old songs today—a hodgepodge collection of the best Andrew Bird—and I got kind of choked up. Just a little. This surprised me, because when we were together, I treated you like a burden. I complained about you. I groaned over you. I told everyone I’d be better off when you’d gone. I exploited you for my own convenience, used you as an excuse when I was feeling antisocial—“Oh, I can’t go out tonight, guys. I have to work on my SIP.” (Most of the time it was true.)
Lord, was I harsh toward you. I was an expert at finding your flaws and inconsistencies. Until the end, I flipped through your pages and thought, “Dear God. I should have said ‘bibliophilic mass’ instead of ‘bibliophilic pile.’ Who wrote this drivel?” But these were trivial things. I was probably only critical of you because I'm critical of myself.
The truth is, I loved you. I loved you not because of your pomp or your greatness—imagined or otherwise—but because you were mine. I loved you because I could hold you in the hollow of my hands and say,
I made this.
Oh, the nights that we spent together, the long nights that slipped into mornings, the nights when I forgot myself and all my trivialities. On those tender evenings, our selves fused, and parting us became impossible. I got lost in you, became swallowed up in something more beautiful and truthful than myself. On our last night together, you slept by my bedside.
Then the day came—that startling day when I had to turn you in. Hours before, I printed you, and I sat in the library and held you, and I felt your warmth against me. I realized then that I loved you. How frightened I was—frightened for myself, and for both of us—because I knew that handing you in would mean a severance. Losing you would be like losing a limb, like closing a door inside myself, never to be opened again. Losing you would mean the end of something treasured.
Still, I knew the inevitable, and you did too. I had to hand you over.
My affection does not depend on what becomes of you. Maybe you’ll become something someday. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll sit on the shelf in Humphrey House with all the other English SIPs and fraternize. Maybe another lost soul will open you in forty years, and discover something of himself inside you.
Whatever happens, you will always be mine.
I love you.