Dear you (an open letter to the 2nd boy that broke my heart)
I can’t believe that after nearly a year of not speaking I still miss you. I think about you all the time, not in the romantic way that I once did (no more wistful afternoons spent looking into the bottom of coffee cups and whispering “what ifs”), but in the way that I did when we first met, as friends. I see things I want to show you constantly. I want to text you and say “did you see that hardcore song that an 8 year old made about her dog?” because I know you’d love it. I want to tell you the strange things people say to me at work. I want to know how all the weird things you love are doing, all your strange research: what’s the weather in New Mexico, what sort of dog breed is most hypo-allergenic?
A few weeks ago, I was standing on a corner in Chicago in a snow flurry. I was wrapped up head to toe against the cold but I was determined to get my one night of sight-seeing in. I looked up at the buildings around me, chanted the names of architects under my breath. Hands in pockets, I kept fingering at the edges of my phone, always one second away from whipping it out to send you a quick picture-text: “look, a Mies Van Der Rohe!”, “The waterworks, I am really here and I am seeing it!”. It was always your dream to go there. In some of our more optimistic moments together, we used to plan a trip where we would both go, and I would look at art and you would collect all the silly data you love from historical societies, and then we would eat all the deep-dish pizza we could. He stood next to me, smiling, happy to see me happy. He looked over at me and said, “You want to send him a picture, don’t you?”. He’s so understanding. He is everything you couldn’t be for me, and I think you know that.
In some ways, I wish I had never kissed you. I wish I had just let myself believe you when you said we could never be together. But I’m stubborn, you know that. I thought I could convince you. Two years after that kiss, I am over you, and I can say that with absolution- I really am. I am in love, completely, and I honestly think this is the man I’ll end up marrying. In fact, I never even miss that kiss, I never relive it, I don’t dwell on it. What I miss is you. What I miss is our roundabout conversations, our secret language, our quiet understanding. How we could go for months without talking and then one night we’d find each other over the soft glow of computer screens and it would be like time had never passed from the last day we spoke. Jokes and memories and self-deprecative humor passed back and forth with ease.
I think sometimes that the reason you can’t talk to me now is because you know you can’t ever fall in love. I think that you considered me so similar to you that I couldn’t be in love either. That I was stunted in the same way you are. That what we had was the closest thing either of us would ever have to love. But that’s where you’re wrong- I can love. And I do love. And I loved you.
I hope someday we can talk again, when you are ready to forgive me for not being the person you thought I was; and when I can forgive you for attempting to stop me from trying to be.