The Arrival of Two Letters
#1
[warning: severe internalized homophobia, antisemitism]

On Ezra's desk sit two letters, both having arrived enclosed in the same envelope. One reads:

Maksimov,

Here enclosed are my final editions to the grammar of your letter, as per your request. It is good of you to consider the seriousness of your ailment and consider the well being of Professor Chandan. I am certain you will find a place at Mr. Wundt's school along with me. I eagerly await your arrival.

Sincerely,
Ruth K. Weisse


And the other:

Chandan,

I hope you will not think less of me for arranging my thoughts in a letter, rather than trip over them with my tongue, as is my tendency. Many a time I have been driven to start it, only to have fear take over, wherein I rip the paper apart and curse myself.

You must know that I love you, and not simply as one loves his dear friend or his brother. It is the love I have tried for many years to have for a woman, the love of Aphrodite, Eros.

So often I am told this will come in due time, with marriage, with the experience of world travel. Alas, this has never been my fate.

I recall loving you from our first meeting; your luminous visage, like the sunset with the tendrils of night in your hair, your sensuous lips, your brilliant mind and charitable spirit. I would surely be nowhere without you; how you care for me like a mother does her fragile, impetuous child. Someday you will be the picture of a father I can only wish that I had for myself.

You and Weisse are my only friends, but I do not love Weisse. I only spoke of her as a substitute for your name. She now knows of my condition. She is a kind woman, rather like you, she even found it in her heart to brave the drafts of this letter to correct imperfections in my grammar. I should find it a shame that I could not love her instead. Alas, it is still you who haunts me in my sleep.

It is certain that this will destroy our friendship, and as such, my career. I cannot foist upon you the burden of my feelings, my affliction. It is not my faith that tells me this, as I have none anymore, but the science that I have learned. It is an aberrant disease over which men have no control, or so it is told to me. It is horrid, the things I imagine about you, a great perversion of your character to picture at all.

But there is hope to be found; I am leaving the project, I could not bear to force you to see me again after this confession. (For our book, I apologize endlessly, but I'm certain that it would be better written without my input anyway. I think you only humoured me in tagging along, after all.) I am going to Germany to study at Wundt's university. It is there that I may find the psychological cure for my disease. That is what Weisse has suggested.

I doubt my presence will be missed in Oxford. It was known among our colleagues that I was a fool. My students mocked me openly, did you know they called me 'Impotent Jew'? and worse, from what I deduce. Surely you did, and spared me this knowledge, so is your kind nature.

And it is with that very nature that I hope that you will find, in the vast circumference of your heart, the will to forgive me. I cannot beg nor plead for more from you, already I have taken enough.

I will write it one more time: I love you.

Your friend,
Maksimov
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