My darling,

The winter festivities are here now. I am alone. Every man walks into the court, arm and arm with the woman he loves most. Whether it’s forever or only a night, these men seem so happy with who they have beside them.

You’re not here. I wish you would come back to me. I don’t understand why we can’t make it work. I don’t understand why you think it’s so impossible. It isn’t. We love one another, and I am the king. Everyone must listen to me. If they do not approve, then they need not be a member of this city. Yes, I will banish anyone who doesn’t accept you as the one true love of my life. Damn their thoughts and fears, damn their traditions. Tradition means nothing to me. Tradition is the pursuit of men who refuse to change their sorry lives.

You don’t get how much it pains me to not have you near. You’re there, getting fat and happy, living off of my wealth. I am protecting you, and you seem as though you could care less. I don’t think you ache for me the way I ache for you. I receive your letters and I see none of the longing that I fill my words with. You don’t hurt and cry each night, you don’t pine for me. You don’t venture off to the country line that separates the two of us, and constantly entertain the idea of knocking on your door. I would give up this entire kingdom, and everyone in it, if only for the chance to be with you again. You wouldn’t do the same — I’m sure of it. You have given up nothing.

I sit at this festival, alone on my throne. Everyone passes by me, giving their winter best in my name. Then, they go off and dance with the person they love most. And while they dance, I watch their faces. I see how close they are to one another, I see the electricity between them. And when they twirl past me, I see their faces, too. They think how awful it must be for the king. They think how sad and lonely the king must seem. They regard me with honor because I am their king, but there is also such blatant pity. The king has this whole city, but he cannot find love. How sad it must be to face this land without anyone there. I am nothing to them. They see me as more than pathetic, they seem me without.

You can’t understand my pain. You couldn’t know my loss. You are so wrong in your choice to leave me. And yet, I am the one who must live the passing seasons, burdened by your mistakes. I have to say goodbye to you every moment of the day. I have to face walls where your laughter once lived. There is a bed and it has known only the ghost of you. First, our son is taken from us, and then you rip yourself from my loving arms. I have never wanted anything but to be in love with you. But you do not seem to care. You are so swept up in your own life. Me, I am sad everyday. My heart means nothing to you. I see that clearly now.

I will write back soon. I know I must. You will be angry at my words. I’m sorry. I’m drunk and alone. I’m surrounded by ghosts.