Breaking up is hard to do

“As I see it now, the only thing which has kept us together for so long has been your intense desire, and a very reciprocating desire, for sexual intimacy (loathsome words). (Apart from this one thing, the whole of your instincts seem to be against a married life) – this has been all right for you so long as I was content to let things drift on and on as they were, and I’ve been for the greater part of 7 years content to let them so drift because I thought there was something at the end of it.

Always I’ve had before my eyes the picture of a home where there’d be no outside interference causing friction, and where I’d be surrounded by things which would all belong to us, for which we’d worked hard and paid for and chosen, and where there’d be children of my very own whom I’d train up so carefully, remembering all the little things I’ve grumbled about…trying to give them the advantage of my experiences. It’s so silly, but this is what I’ve always wanted so much, and you being the only man in my life, was naturally the one to whom I should look to give me these things – apart altogether from the urgent desire I’ve always had for yourself.

Now, however, I can no longer persuade myself into believing this is a possibility – it is too obvious that in every way you are getting to care less for me.”

“Always before, I’ve made many and varied protestations of my deep love for you and told you frankly how much I wanted you (not sexually as you probably thought) and how sure I was we could be happy together, and begging you to be quick to come to London etc. Now I no longer love you, I no longer want you, sexually or any other way, I don’t believe we could for a single moment be happy together, and if you came to live in London I should probably leave.

It strikes me you’ll at once jump to the conclusion that I’ve written like this because I’ve got another lover. But this is not so. I have no other men friends at all.”

No, as much as you try to fool yourself that you don’t care enough to be faithful to Hans, you just can’t do it.

“In a certain room of a certain house a beautiful fire had been kindled by a youth who lived there. It was his duty, and his pleasure, to keep it always burning brightly and this he loved to do. But gradually he got somewhat tired of always picking out the best pieces of coal and wood and he grew careless and threw on anything handy until by and by the fire grew duller and duller and got choked up by ashes. Then there came a day when it was practically out and only then did the boy grow alarmed. As he was considering what to do a voice whispered ‘Just leave it, that’s the easiest way. It will go out and if you want you can light another. But if you want this one to brighten up again you must do something at once and look after it continually. Another time it will go out more quickly’.”

In a certain time in a certain city, a beautiful soul had become entranced by her lover who was far away. It was her pleasure to always keep his desire burning brightly and she loved him. But gradually she got somewhat tired of always waiting for a future with the man she loved. The relationship became tiresome, her love and desire became duller and duller and got choked up by frustration and anger. Then there came a day when the fire of their love was almost extinguished. As the girl considered what to do, her thoughts whispered ‘Just leave it, that’s the easiest way. Your mind will eventually be free of him and one day you will find another.’

“It isn’t of course possible that I’ve totally misjudged you?”[1]

But she didn’t want another. She didn’t really want to let go at all.

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre



[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 25 March 1928


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