The last day of March,
My darling Sleeping Child, I am oddly shy about you. I still regard you as an inviolate presence. You are as secret as the mysterious processes of the womb. I’m not being fancy…I have treated women, generally, very badly and used them as an exercise for my contempt – except in your case.
I have fought like a fool to treat you in the same way and failed. One of these days I will wake up – which I think I have done already – and realise to myself that I really do love. I find it very difficult to allow my whole life to rest on the existence of another creature. I find it equally difficult, because of my innate arrogance, to believe in the idea of love. There is no such thing, I say to myself.
There is lust, of course, and usage, and jealousy, and desire and spent powers, but no such thing as the idiocy of love. Who invented that concept? I have racked my shabby brains and can find no answer.
But when people die, those who are taken away from us can never come back. Never, never, never, never, never (Lear about Cordelia). We are such doomed fools. Unfortunately, we know it. So I have decided that, for a second or two, the precious potential of you in the next room is the only thing in the world worth living for. After your death there shall only be one other and that will be mine. Or I possibly think, vice versa.
And loving Rich
–Richard Burton in a letter to Elizabeth Taylor (1973)