You know, my dearest,
all the world knows, how much I have lost in you,
how that supreme, that notorious betrayal
robbed me of my very self
when it robbed me of you,
and how incomparably worse than the loss itself
is the pain from the way it happened.
This greater pain must have a greater solace,
and it can come only from you, not from another.
As you alone are the source of my grief,
you alone can grant the grace of consolation.
You alone have the power to make me sad,
to make me happy or to console me,
and you alone owe me this debt,
now above all,
when I have so completely fulfilled your commands
in every particular
that, rather than commit a single offense
I threw myself away at your command.
And the greater irony is that my love
then turned to such insanity
that the one thing it desired above all else
was the one thing it put irrevocably beyond its reach
in that one instant when, at your command,
I changed my habit along with my heart
to show that my body along with my heart
belonged only to you.
Seneca teaches us by his own example
how much joy there is in letters from absent friends,
as he writes to his friend Lucilius:
'I am grateful that you write to me often,
for you show yourself to me in the one way you can.
When I receive a letter from you, we are suddenly together.
If images of absent friends bring joy,
if they refresh our memory and soothe the ache
of absence even with their false an empty solace,
how much more joy is there in a letter,
which carries the true signature of an absent friend?’