Dear Paolo,

August 3, 2010

Oh my god. This is seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And please believe me when I say that the hours we spent in bed-you reading Borges and Garcia Marquez to me in the Spanish, both of us drunk on Chilean wine, the gnawed bones of pampas-fed Argentinian beef steaks in a pile on the floor-I will return to those hours, those nights, those months, for the rest of my life.

I will no doubt regret my decision to leave every time I listen to a tango or cumbia or salsa and think about how we moved together on the dance floors of the Americas, the way your body taught me to dance.

Doubtless, I will for some time (as I have done for the past week now, as I’ve wrestled with this decision) find every forkful of Mexican or Chilean or Brazilian cuisine I eat a bit lacking. Doubtless I will think, as I have thought for the past week now, the pozole or cochinita pibil like ashes in my mouth, it’s just not as good as Paolo used to make.

But. I think I am right in making the decision I’ve made. It’s not that I’m jealous of your ability to eat mountains of food and never gain weight without exercising. It isn’t that I cared that every woman we walked by nearly broke her neck ogling you. It isn’t that I feared that one day you’d leave me, maybe when you turned twenty.

It’s this: I can’t get over the sense that I’m using you, somehow. Despite your professed love and respect and admiration for me, I can’t help but feel that my being with you is something like inadvertent sexual colonialism. It’s unfortunate-deeply, deeply unfortunate-but, I think, unavoidable. All the metaphors I use in my mind when I think of you-you planting your proud flag of lust into my virgin (as it were) soil being the most recent and egregious, the tipping point, so to speak-they’re inappropriate, these metaphors and, so far as I can tell, likewise unavoidable.

And that is why, most unfortunately sweet Paolo, I must bid you Adios, Ciao, and a most sincere and regretful Buena Suerte.

We’ll always have Tikal.

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