This letter is about a month in the making. I was sure I was going to write it then I thought better, and said ‘nah, you probably get thousands.’ Then I thought better again and decided ‘yeah, but you won’t get thousands like this, cause there’s only one of me, I’m an individual,’ and la da dee—here I am writing to Mark Rylance.
I had nowhere to go. I sat in the theatre while everyone walked out of the aisles. I waited for the trees to shake. I waited for the earth to move. I waited for the giants. I didn’t have anywhere to go anymore; there was nowhere for me to be. My girlfriend sat with me in the theatre and didn’t say anything, or maybe she did. No, she did. I distinctly remember hearing, ‘hunny?’
I thought your performance was incendiary, but there was one particular moment that cut me to the quick, and it probably has to do with what I’m going through right now with my four-year old boy, but it also has to do with the brilliant words, and your take on them.
My son lives in Manhattan with his mom (I live in Brooklyn) and he spends two days out of the week with me. I’ve been trying to get him for three, and now we’re in the hands of the New York Family Court system because my sons’ mom wishes to relocate to Texas. If she is granted this request I will be reduced to a “phone” dad, seeing him on the big holidays and a month [or two] for summer.
He sees pigs in his sleep and they give him minor distress to the point where he comes into my bed in the middle of the night; even last night when I was tucking him in he covered himself entirely in sheets leaving a small circle for his nose and eyes and I asked him why he was doing that.
I bought him a new chapter book and there’s a pig in it—a good pig—who winds up catching the thief, saving the day, but the images are sharp, the pictures scarce. It’s a chapter book, so his mind is being filled by the story, the dialogue, the action, coming from all these words [sometimes no picture on the page], and when I turn the page he focuses that much more intently on the pictures. They frighten him.
As I left the room…
“Well, good night.”
He motioned to the shrivelled up comforter next to him on the bed. I knew what he meant. It looked cold. It looked menacing. I told him that that the scariest thing in the whole room was him; and not really knowing what I meant, I went to sleep that night and saw a demon blowing smoke into the ceiling. I blinked, and it was a sweater. I blinked again, and it was a demon with huge concrete eyes.
Towards the very end of Jerusalem, when you tell your son how important it is to be a “Byron.” When you tell him how they pay you all kinds of money for your blood, and how you’re able to drink beer and smoke cigarettes inside the hospital, because your blood is so special, it literally shook my upper cheeks. You wanted him to know how special he is. How much potential he has. How important he is to the world.
So! Without further adieu, if you’re ever around the Prospect Park area of Brooklyn, I would love to meet in the park. We can have a picnic! I know you reside in London and there can’t be much good Mexican food, and mine is pretty solid (my son’s mom is half Mexican and we lived together for three years). We can meet in the great lawn and eat mexican food and drink a few beers.
You can meet my girlfriend and my son, too!