Please do not be mistaken by this letter. It is not a fantasy or a proposal or even a love letter. I didn't put it under the whip to be cruel or ironic. I just knew it was the one place you would be sure to find it. And by now, you must know that this is a letter ending our time together.
How do you write a goodbye letter to someone like you? A 'Dear John' letter would provide a quicker, cleaner break. But then, the wounds I have given you were never like that. Perhaps it is more fitting this way. I would not even know where to start with a form letter like that. Cross out the 'love' with 'pain', and 'kisses' with 'cuts'? I do not even know where to begin except to tell you what you already know, so that I may tell you what you do not.
It has been my privilege to keep you as my slave. Slave, slave, how much that word lacks. But 'lover' lacks as much. You, the man who shared my bed each night, who delighted in everything I gave, be it pleasurable or painful. The honor was mine completely, and I tell you that not to dredge up bitterness, but because it is the truth. It is cliched, but I wish you only more joy. Enclosed with this note is a letter of recommendation. You may take it to any master in the city and they will gladly take you on. My word is good among them. They are far better men than I.
Do not protest or cry out as you read this of my virtues. You do not know my weaknesses. I have hidden them from you. There is something vicious about this world we play in, and it has little to do with the whips and chains and knives. It is that I cannot speak openly to you. To imagine! My arm has been as deep inside you as anyone can be. I have touched you in the most vulnerable places. We have spoken in depth about your filthiest desires, and still there are places in me that you have never seen, neither you nor any bottom. These are the topics of which I have never spoken to my colleagues, though I wonder, at times, if they share my affliction. We shall never know, for it is pride that keeps us from speaking.
You must wonder, as you read, what this horrible secret is. I have written three paragraphs yet and still I cannot find the way to write it. It is that abhorrent to me, that confusing. Shame burns in me, me, who has earned the world's shame three times over for things I have done on a weekday night. I am deficient, deficient and lacking. I feel a failure and that is why I have left you. Thomas, it sounds like a vanilla cliche, but the problem lies with me, not you. The last sort of infliction I'd wish upon you is self-doubt. I love you in a way that makes me ache, but to be with you while like this would be a lie that would destroy me. It would break my fragile core at last.
Yes, Thomas, I, fragile. The impervious master, cold, cruel, domineering. You knew me to be tender, but never could I show you the frailty. That is the sort of unveiling that would tumble walls. How could you ever keep your respect if you knew? Even now my fists ball over the paper. This is my third attempted letter; I determine it to be my last, but still I wish to destroy it. It is evidence against me. So much better to leave you without a word, to let anger at me salve the pain. But you deserve better than that. You deserve the truth.
The truth is this. I have cheated on you. We never swore to be monogamous, so such was my prerogative, but I never spoke of it, and hence, I lied. The omission came from my shame, for I sought out these other boys not for lust. Never for lust, you must understand. You were all I ever wanted, and they were disgusting things. I chose them as such. You will see in time why.
Even now I cannot help but wax sentimental over the very nature of our lifestyle. The masks that cover your faces, the blindfolds, the master always looming just out of vision, stationed behind you- are these really matters of eroticism and practicality, designed for your pleasure? Or do they betray what I wonder they do, contrivances for the master? So many times I have used your blindness to hide myself from you- for when it is your back, and not your face presented to me, my hand is free to shake and tremble before I bring the lash down. When you wore the blindfold, you could never see my fear. And suddenly, dear Thomas, I find that I have written it down, after a mere page, my secret. When I am with you, I feel nothing but fear.
It wasn't always that way. In the beginning, all I ever felt for you was lust, and then deep friendship, and then love. Until the end, now, forever, those are still all I feel for you. But there was a time when nothing more was on my mind than our mutual pleasure, borne from the pain I gave you. You were special to me- I knew that from our first introduction- but how special I could not know. Precious bottom, you were. Are. Precious species, all of you. In all my life I have never found such pleasure as with the rare breed of man who delights in submitting, in being hurt, in pleasing me. I can marvel about it now in academic appreciation, long after the novelty of discovering this community has worn away. Master-slave, the bond at once true and terribly mistaken. For who was I ever, Thomas, but a slave to you?
No, I cannot do that, I mustn't do that, it seems as if I lay blame on you. But it is not you. It is the great and terrible way in which we live. Any man can hold a whip. That is what a teacher once told me. I didn't believe him, but now I do. That is why there are the great masters, the ones whose names precede them, for whom men and women alike would do anything to serve. Men with whom I once counted myself. It might seem to you that we men had the power of choice among those proteges, and that we held all the power because we held the whips and fastened the ropes. But I do not think you as naive as that. You must know how we depend on you. Without you, what are we? What could we do? Slave is an archaic term, one used for the quaint images it brings to mind. But you are not slaves, and were you, we would not want you. Or at least, I would not want you. You are submissive companions, and you differ from slaves by the conditionality of your relationships. Never spoken, but always there: Please me.
Oh, Thomas, I know I pleased you, and you me, and that was all. But there came a moment in time when suddenly I could not take any pleasure from what I did, for worry and fear. Searching your face for every trace emotion that I longed to rouse in you, be it pain or ecstasy or both. Every time I came before you was passionless, no matter how I tried. To see your come on the floor was like relief washing through me: that you had enjoyed it, that I was still of value to you in that much. And even then it was worse, as I wondered if even that was enough proof, or if you wished for someone else, someone more skilled, a better top. I always took such pleasure in my work, in crafting scenes, in the particular art of how to build layers of eroticism in pain and pleasure, humiliation, negligence and tender care and attention. With you it became a chore I dreaded. My creativity withered and dried up. I cursed your name.
I do not curse you now. I am far wiser now than then, for I see that it is not you but me. You have not changed, you have been unerring in your ways, as dedicated and sure as ever. It is I who became riddled with self-doubt. I could not bear the weight of responsibility that fell on my shoulders every time I stepped into the room to play out a scene with you. There was no cure; not spontaneity nor other bottoms. I sought them, yes. I found the throwaways and rejects, the newly initiated and the timelessly fascinated-but-horrified. I would not know it until far after that I chose them specifically for their flaws. I did not want to matter to them, Thomas, the way I mattered to you. They bore the brunt of my affliction, for I treated them badly. I became the sort of sadist that we insist we are not, the kind sweet suburban housewives cringe to think of. Every orgasm with them was intense, and every one, hollow.
I wonder now, here in the dungeon, surrounded by the tools of my trade, if perhaps you brought this about in me. How much of a sadist am I before I am a man? For when I think of the crippling fear I experienced with you, it is rooted in the fear of you leaving. Bottoms come and they go, but I could not bear to fail you for the thought of you going. Pride, reputation, my confidence- all swung in the balance of whether I was a good enough top. But with them, Thomas, my heart. Don't the straights, the vanilla sex couples, the rest of the world outside of us- don't they have a vision of love as a leap? That one must take the leap, fearful as it is, in order to love completely. The risk of fall is the price of landing safely. Perhaps we are not so different, sadomasochists and the rest of the world. I could not validate my fear with you. I could not leap to love, or whatever version of such that our kind share. You have been so much more than my slave, and in the end, ironically, it is the very slavery that rendered me impotent before you.
It is written here- my love, my fear- and the solution must seem obvious to you, Thomas, but it isn't. Your affirmations will do nothing for me, you see. You might assure me all you want of your desire for me, of your dedication, of your love. But it is I who stay on the other side of the cliff. To take your hand is not the same as jumping; don't you see? I would ever require your hand. The problem is mine and I cannot fix it. That is why you mustn't try to find me. By the time you read this, I'll have been gone, and you cannot try to find me. Take the letter of recommendation and find another master who can treasure you as you deserve to be treasured. Do not think of me; nothing will come of it. Every scar I have left on your body would be a reminder of my imperfection. For someone else, they will be nothing. Let them flay your flesh anew, let them anoint you with your own blood. It is my last command. Take care, Thomas.