There are friends, there are lovers, there are partners. And then there are those rare people who seem to somehow move fluidly between all those places in one’s life.
That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert, the American writer famous for her addiction to seduction, found with her best friend, Rayya Elias. In a message posted on Facebook today, the author of Eat, Pray, Love—who’s sold millions of books and movie tickets based on the story of her lost and found loves—announced that she has fallen in love again.
“She’s my best friend, yes, but it’s always been bigger than that,” Gilbert wrote of Elias. “She’s my role model, my traveling companion, my most reliable source of light, my fortitude, my most trusted confidante. In short, she is my PERSON.”
The author explained in the post that her amicable separation from her husband (the happy ending of her 2006 memoir) earlier this year was because she is now in a romantic relationship with Elias. A musician and the author of Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post Punk, from the Middle East to the Lower East Side, Elias was recently diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer that Gilbert described as incurable.
“I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya,” Gilbert writes. “And I have no more time for denying that truth. The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her…well, that thought was unthinkable.”
The letter will resonate with anyone who’s ever felt their “person” wasn’t someone they could or should date or be married to, and for anyone who’s ever loved.