A reader writes:
You ask, "Why would Gandhi destroy letters from someone he clearly loved?"
My deepest friendship in college was an intense relationship with another man. Over the course of two years, we became inseparable. We talked. We touched. He read aloud to me. He wrote poetry to me. It was very, very Romantic - the period that is. Some people thought we were sleeping together. They were certain that I had corrupted him. (This was in the mid '70s, so you can imagine how popular that made me.)
One evening, as we lay on his bed, my head resting on his chest as he read aloud, I looked up into his eyes. He looked down into mine. I raised my lips to kiss him. He continued to look down, but with a puzzled look. I confessed my love, the nature of my love, well, the nature of one aspect of my love. He said he loved me, too - my heart leapt - "but not that way". Young love dashed. You can only imagine the crying that ensued. He cried with - and for - me. It hurt him to see me hurt. He thought about it for a couple days and we had another talk.
He couldn't do it. Just didn't have it in him. But he was kind and sympathetic and supportive. I was wounded, but our friendship wasn't. Two weeks later, he went home for Spring Break to his fundamentalist, Republican parents. He came back. When I went to his place to welcome him home, he said, "Get out of here." He never spoke to me again.
Was he in denial of his own emotions? Had his parents explained how close the Devil had come to snagging his soul? I have no idea.
Do you think he kept my letters? I still have his poems.
This is not a rare story. It happened to me in college - and when it ended abruptly for the same reasons my writer cites, I cried for days on end. But in Gandhi's case, he destroyed the letters long before he and Kallenbach split up.