Anaïs, I don’t know how to tell you what I feel. I live in perpetual expectancy. You come and the time slips away in a dream. It is only when you go that I realize completely your presence. And then it is too late.
You numb me. […] This is a little drunken, Anaïs. I am saying to myself ‘here is the first woman with whom I can be absolutely sincere.’ I remember your saying – ‘you could fool me, I wouldn’t know it.’ When I walk along the boulevards and think of that. I can’t fool you—and yet I would like to.
I mean that I can never be absolutely loyal—it’s not in me. I love women, or life, too much—which it is, I don’t know. But laugh, Anaïs, I love to hear you laugh. You are the only woman who has a sense of gaiety, a wise tolerance—no more, you seem to urge me to betray you. I love you for that. […]
I don’t know what to expect of you, but it is something in the way of a miracle. I am going to demand everything of you—even the impossible, because you encourage it. You are really strong. I even like your deceit, your treachery. It seems aristocratic to me.”
Henry Miller responds to Anais
I often see how you sob over what you destroy, how you want to stop and just worship; and you do stop, and then a moment later you are at it again with a knife, like a surgeon. You destroy and you suffer. In some strange way I am not with you, I am against you. We are destined to hold two truths. I love you and I fight you. And you, the same. We will be stronger for it, each of us, stronger with our love and our hate. When you caricature and nail down and tear apart, I hate you. I want to answer you, not with weak or stupid poetry but with a wonder as strong as your reality. I want to fight your surgical knife with all the occult and magic forces of the world.
—I want to both combat you and submit to you, because as a woman I adore your courage, I adore the pain it engenders, I adore the struggle you carry in yourself, which I alone fully realize, I adore your terrifying sincerity. I adore your strength.
You are right. The world is to be caricatured, but I know, too, how much you can love what you caricature. How much passion there is in you! It is that I feel in you. I do not feel the savant, the revealer, the observer. When I am with you, it is the blood I sense.
This time you are not going to awake from the ecstasies of our encounters to reveal only the ridiculous moments.
No. You won’t do it this time, because while we live together, while you examine my indelible rouge effacing the design of my mouth, spreading like a blood after an operation (you kissed my mouth and it was gone, the design of it was lost as in a watercolor, the colors ran).
While you do that, I seize upon the wonder that is brushing by (the wonder, oh, the wonder of my lying under you), and I bring it to you, I breathe it around you.
Take it. I feel prodigal with my feelings when you love me, feelings so unblunted, so new, Henry, not lost in resemblance to other moments, so much ours, yours, mine, you and I together, not any man or any woman together.
The room is full of the incandescence you poured into me. The room will explode when I sit at the side of your bed and you talk to me. I don’t hear your words: your voice reverberated against my body like another kind of caress, another kind of penetration.
I have no power over your voice. It comes straight from you to me. I could stuff my ears and it would find its way into my blood and make it rise.
I am impervious to the flat visual attack of things. I see your khaki shirt hung up on a peg. It is your shirt and I could see you in it — you, wearing a color I detest. But I see you, not the khaki shirt.
Something stirs in me as I look at it, and it is certainly the human you. It is a vision of the human you revealing an amazing delicacy to me. It is your khaki shirt and you are the man who is the axis of my world now. I revolve around the richness of your being.
Come closer to me, come closer. I promise you it will be beautiful.’
You keep your promise.”
Anais Nin to Henry