Letters To Boys Of Various Significance

Thought Catalog Flickr
Thought Catalog Flickr

Dear #4…

When you lift up your shirt to scratch the hard, lower part of your stomach and arch backward, I have to clasp my hands tight in my lap to keep from reaching across the table and touching the same spot. When you ask me how many hours you’ll sleep if you go to bed at ten and wake at six, I know you really don’t need me to calculate the answer, but I like that you still do this, anyway. The first morning I woke in your bed, you kissed my neck, very softly, thinking I was still asleep; I wish I’d let you know that I was not. I told you that you’d been my fifth, but really you were number four. I find it endearing how you have your own made-up vocabulary for words like elbow and cold, how you call essays poems. I think the trouble with your sister upsets you more than you’ll admit. I said what I did because I was nervous and confused, and I now realize I was mistaken. When I slept with your best friend, I imagined he was you. When you told me you weren’t angry, I almost wished you were. I don’t think she really makes you happy. You wouldn’t treat me to so many dinners and to so many drinks at so many good bars, if she really did. You wouldn’t keep boxes of Popsicles in your freezer, leaving all the best flavors for me. You would hug me harder, because it would mean less.

Dear #5…

I brought you to that bar and ordered us those drinks, because I knew exactly how I wanted the night to go. When we first met, a few hours earlier, I thought to myself that you weren’t as good looking as the friends you’d arrived with, but only by a little bit. Later, standing in your kitchen, you complimented my pedicure, hedging a guess at the name for that particular shade of pink; I thought this was just about the saddest thing a person could say. I opened your refrigerator in the morning, and was about to pour myself a glass of orange juice, but you walked in and I felt suddenly embarrassed, so I told you I was thirsty and let you fill a tumbler with tap water. I don’t know why this embarrassed me; I should have asked for juice. I’m glad our story ends here. I still look for your name on the masthead, to make sure you’re alive.

Dear #6…

You have perfect hands. When we were on the roof at your office, all I could think of was how much the potted topiaries looked like leafy, green penises. You’re my only blonde. I wish I hadn’t read that story you wrote, you know the one; it was beautiful and it made me ill. Yours were the nicest sheets.

Dear #7…

I’m sorry. I acted selfish most with you, turned you into a pawn overnight, pretended you weren’t you. Talking in bed, drowsy, I managed to bring everything back to the same other person, the one who isn’t you. You were too nice, and not perceptive enough. And you seemed not to know what I’d hoped to do. A few weeks later, in town again, you invited me to drink Bloody Mary’s at your hotel on a Sunday morning. It was the nicest thing I didn’t want. I was glad when you forgot.

But our story doesn’t end there. No, it picks up again maybe a year later. Funny – I never meant it to. I’d needed a break, needed to get out of my life a little, and there you were. It was never meant to work, but at some point early on I’d decided Oh, yes. I think I’d like this. Maybe I want this to work out after all. Silly, because just as soon as a person wants what’s on offer, the offer disappears. If at first not perceptibly, later very clearly. You can’t have this, they’ll say. The offer has expired. Or, We’ve changed our mind, were mistaken. And you’ll wonder why it took so long for this particular information to be relayed. Why had you let me believe? you’ll wonder. This is how a person can start to distrust.

Then again, maybe I owe everything to you and us and that time. Ever since you left, things with #4 have better than ever before. So, I guess, in way, you really did give me exactly what I wanted after all. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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