This is really inappropriate and I’m sorry. I am contacting you when you don’t want to be contacted, but, in my defense, that’s what you did to me when we first met. I had sworn off men, and not in a crazy-girl-hey-let’s-blast-Taylor-Swift-and-wear-those-Boys-Are-Stupid-Throw-Rocks-at-Them-shirts kind of way, but in a genuine, “I need to change things about myself and I’m on this island that has changed so many people, so why not try to change myself here” kind of way. I agreed to go to dinner with you simply because I hardly knew anyone in Manhattan and I assumed you would pay for dinner (which you did).
You were not the kind of guy I typically go for, and that put me at ease. I felt safe, like, because you weren’t type, you would be incapable of breaking down the walls I had carefully built. I was used to dating the kind of guys who owed Seth Cohen a giant Edible Arrangements basket as a thank you for getting them laid all through high school. I was used to witty banter, but you asked if I was kidding when I utilized sarcasm, to which I said, “Um, yeah. Yeah. I am.” I dated dudes, but you were a gentleman.
We didn’t go in order. Before I knew your favorite movies, I knew your mother left when you were seventeen. Before you knew if I was a dog or cat person, you knew I was considering breaking off contact from my father. Our first date didn’t consist of seeing a movie or grabbing a bite. We talked all night, looking at the skyline and eventually at the sun rising. The only time you touched me all night was when you accidently brushed my arm. Your choice not to kiss me made it easier for me to convince myself I couldn’t get hurt. We were not getting anywhere close to danger. We were just friends. Everything was fine. Will Robinson did not need to be alerted.
The first time you sent me a text saying good morning, I nearly had a full on panic attack (as opposed to just a minor, more manageable one). On our fourth date, I almost didn’t show up because I was so scared. I didn’t know the person you were turning me into. I watched Love, Actually and liked that scene with the signs on Christmas Eve. The Darren Chriss-Chris Colfer Glee plot made me emote out loud. I smiled at small children and hardly even thought about how disproportionate their heads are to their bodies. You made the girl I knew my whole life, the sarcastic, cynical one who rolled her eyes, fade away. I was a new person with you and was becoming content with who that person was. We were not getting anywhere close to danger. We were just falling in love. Everything was fine. Will Robinson did not need to be alerted.
And everything was fine. Well, right up until the moment that it wasn’t. We both knew our final destinations differed from the get go. It wasn’t something we necessarily discussed, but my departure from Manhattan come September was looming over our heads like a dark cloud and, by mid August, it was ready to pour.
We sat in a poorly lit diner in the Lower East Side and you asked me if I wanted to try long distance and I responded by asking the waitress if she could please bring a glass of ice water. I wish I had known then that sitting in the diner would be the last time I would ever see you, but, honestly, I don’t think it would have made a difference.
Two months later, I made it into Manhattan, but by then, you already had a new girlfriend. When you told me, you punctuated it by saying, “I am none the less inspired by you,” which I took to be the adult equivalent to the high school, “I still think you’re totally awesome. I just don’t want to go to Homecoming with you.” You said we could still see each other and I said that would be inappropriate and wished you good luck. I half expected you to fight for me, not realizing that our love — which felt far grander than anything I had ever experienced in my life — could just end silently.
I’m sorry for writing this letter and not letting you live a happy, peaceful life with your girlfriend who didn’t ask for a glass of ice water. I’m sorry that I wasn’t brave enough to take a risk. If this were a movie, we’d still have the third act to look forward to, but you’re no longer interested in living out our plotline and I don’t blame you. If it’s any consolation, I’ve never been that scared in my entire life. I know we’re grown-ups (or something vaguely resembling grown-ups) and I don’t get to use that excuse anymore, but I was. I was scared of getting hurt and waking up one day to find myself wishing I never met you. I didn’t want to eventually hate you, but I never even got to love you and that hurts infinitely more. That’s not my romantic act three plea in the rain while Lifehouse or Goo Goo Dolls is playing. It’s merely a moot fact.
I’m not going to say I want you to be happy with her. I want you to be happy with me. I want life to feel as grand as it did when I was with you. More than these things, I want to know that, if I ever meet another you — someone who makes love feel huge and life feel big — I will not just run under the bed.