Ultimate Cleanse

Dear Nate,

Enclosed please find your worn, 2001 paper-back, print-edition of the Ultimate Cleanse which I humbly return to you unread. You will find it as it was, devoid of the dog-eared, winestained pages characteristic of my favorite books.

Magical is the recollection of your gentle smile, eyes lovingly inviting, as you plucked this book from your half-empty shelf for me, placing it in my hungry hands, sealing it with yours, my disappointment yet to come. The short-lived glee I felt, dissipating like a helium balloon. How could you so misunderstand? I desire satiation, abundance, indulgence. No matter. I took the book, not meaning to offend, my frustration hidden behind a plastic gaze.

Oh Nate, do not minimize my altruistic efforts. Although unread, I am truly hopeful my unworthy hands caressed this slight but potent book in much the same manner as yours, fondling the cover, fingers tracing verdant green text set against an eggshell-blue background, the Tree of Knowledge springing forth in the center.

Please note, there is absolutely no evidence that I clasped the precious pamphlet by the spine, tightly rolling and twisting it to swat flies. Of course there isn’t.

I sincerely wish I shared your loyal, steady infatuation of the wise sage who authored this gem of a book, his sedate portrait opposite the copyright page, second edition, a fairy godmother of sorts, offering health, serenity, and mindfulness if only one consumed the brown, piss-like concoction touted within the pages creased and highlighted in orange by your knowing hands. Unfortunately, the tart, rancid mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, aloe, and lukewarm purified water, the proportions of which are listed on page sixteen, as you so kindly pointed out, never slid down my greedy throat.

You must be gravely disappointed in me for which I cannot express the sincerity of my profound apologies. It is solely my flawed character which refuses to embrace the generally accepted truth that nothing speaks more of love than the coordinated mechanics of the digestive system, the tincture on page sixteen creating a symphony of burps, farts, and shit for forty days, culminating in a state of bliss, beautifully depicted by the photograph of the enamored couple on page fifty-seven.

How bewildered and confused you must be at my nonchalance of that which you hold so dear. I must explain. I am damaged, stripped of protective power, an injured bird who flew full force into a glass pane, leaving bile, feathers, and the echo of a lingering crash like Tibetan bowls. Clearly, not your fault. No. No objective person would fault a man who abruptly ceased hurling love bombs as surprisingly as he commenced, deprivation the replacement offered. It is not you. On the contrary, the fault rests solely with me and my inability to stop wishing that circumstances were anything other than what they are, right here, right now, the necessity of which is so artfully articulated on page thirty-seven.

In closing, I must confess that the animalistic coupling enacted through the exchange of books epitomizes my eternal fantasy. Please forgive my lack of enthusiasm for your thoughtful recommendation of this exquisite book, Ultimate Cleanse. I tried. There is no mal-intent. Rather, my foolish, romantic notions childishly pine for a different kind of book.

Very Truly Yours,