I’m writing out holiday cards for the first time in years, and I am so torn over the idea of sending one to you.
Maybe it could be my way of finally putting all of this to rest. Maybe I would be able to delete your number for good this time instead of saving it and hoping for a miracle. Maybe I would finally be able to let go of this love and this longing and make peace with the fact that just because I had you does not mean that you will always be mine. Maybe the second the words leave these hands, they will no longer remember how to write about you.
They will no longer remember how they held you. They will no longer remember the day that they felt you pull away. And the day that they realized it was over. They can go back to writing about other people and other dreams. They can begin to make peace with the fact that one day, they will hold someone new. One day, they will forget what it was like to touch your skin. They will no longer remember the outline of your ear or the softness of your hair. Maybe one day, they will no longer remember you.
Some days, it feels like these hands could write an entire novel about you. This postcard could never hold all of the words I want to say to you. I don’t think there are enough words in the English language or enough time left in this year for me to ever tell you how I really feel.
I could write you a card and wish you well. I could tell you a generic “Happy Holidays” and simply sign my name, all the while hoping I’m not making the same mistake again. I’ll write, “I hope you are well,” instead of “I miss you so much.” Instead of “I love you,” I will tell you that I hope the warm weather there is treating you well. (I think Chicago has gotten even colder since you left.) My “Happy Holidays” will just be a cover for yet another, “I’m sorry,” even though I think that I could never be sorry enough to fix this.
Maybe you would check your mail and smile, remembering the short moment in time when we actually meant something to each other. You would take a moment to get lost in the memories, and maybe you too would wish for just one more day with me. One more walk through the city. One more coffee of mine that you would inevitably finish for me. One more train ride holding hands. One more goodbye to finally make things right.
What I fear the most is that this card, this love, would just be sorted into your junk mail. Just another nothing. Just like me.
What if you see my name and only feel anger? Or sadness? Or worse, what if you see my name and you feel nothing at all? What if you rid yourself of my memory years ago, and I am now nothing more than another name on a piece of paper that you won’t even think twice about?
What if you never even think of me at all?
What if you could never see the hidden feelings behind those generic placeholders? What if all I have become is another lackluster memory in a life that I will never get to be a part of again? What happened? Two strangers became two lovers, who then became distant and cold. Two strangers somehow ended up even more estranged than before they even knew each other.
How does this happen? How do two people move on so quickly and so silently? How can I forget the person that I have thought of every day since the day we first met? How can I pretend the love never happened when it is all that I can think about?
I could write you this card, and ask you these things. I could write you this card and pray that you will remember me. I could write you this card and never send it.
I could finally let you be free.
(I’m so sorry.)