To The First Boy To Ever Write Me Love Letters

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I was too old to be dumped for the first time, which might explain why it felt different than it should, or at least what I had always imagined it to be. Kind of like an adult playing a child or maybe vice versa. Does it even count as a breakup if you simply fade away? The silence is so deafening that if it weren’t for the letters, the physical record, I’d wonder if it was just a dream.

It’s funny because you and I never even dated, but we used to have “define the relationship” talks all the time, never defining anything except for the empty spaces between us. But sometimes, late at night, even though neither of us treated each other like the other needed, and we weren’t ever really anything, there’s a part of me that misses you. Misses having a you. Wants to send you a text that just says “thinking of you.” Makes me want to forgive and forget all the shit and go back to when we were just a boy and a girl with no past and every possibility of a future.

But that’s not possible. Because you stopped writing letters. You stopped reading my poetry and skyping to show me the little places you had made all your own. You stopped responding because something in me made you hurt. Hurt in a way I probably won’t understand.

And you will never give me a chance to understand because you moved away and never left me the new address. Texts and facebook messages go unanswered and all I want to know is that you’re okay – because the dark circles shining through the translucent skin beneath your dark eyes, your spindly milk white limbs, calloused hands pushing the glasses up your nose – say you’re not. I cannot read between the lines because there’s nothing but blank pages and blinking cursors.

I keep sending my words off to evaporate into the thin air. I don’t want what we had back because I don’t believe in worshipping false idols, but I do hope that somewhere, in whatever far off place you landed, they rain down on you, soaking into your skinny cords, crew neck t-shirts, penetrating your bird bones and letting you know, I will always remember you.

You were the first boy to ever truly see me. Notice the little things, like the trail of black nail polish chips I left behind everywhere I went, and my extreme distaste for tomato seeds. We built an entire world out of pen and paper, embellishing details of our lives to seem more whimsical and alluring.

I guess we worked better on pen and paper. It was easier to retreat and hide behind our words. Maybe we were more in love with being poetic, than being real, or maybe we were under the impression that we could dictate our own story.

In the end, it comes down to the fact that we were never really writing love letters to each other, but to a time and place that cannot be regained. Summer is an infinite realm of possibility that exists entirely on its own plane. Different rules apply, especially when you are young, and fresh, full of ideas about what love should be and who it should be with. Pale skin, dark hair, thick-rimmed glasses and gangly limbs sure sound like the making of an indie summer romance novel. The heat can make you crazy, but you cannot fabricate love out of shared experience, mystery, and ink – no matter how talented of a writer you are.

I still have every letter, tucked away in a notebook I look at when Iʼm feeling sad and nostalgic and want to explore the painful possibility of what-ifs. They are hallmarks of a time and place long gone. But they will remain mementos of the first boy to ever see me – even if he was only looking because he thought all good writers were observant. TC mark

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