I’m a writer. When I’m feeling something, I write about it. I don’t know how to talk about my feelings, but I can write them down. Sometimes I can make them more poetic than they actually are. Sometimes I just let them spill out of me, chaotic and unencumbered. I’m starting a series called Letters I’ll Never Send. Most of them lean toward the latter option, and most of them are about boys.
Dear most recent heartbreak,
We exchanged pleasantries tonight. We dated for 6 and a half months. It’s been 4 months since we last spoke in person. Three months since we’ve spoken at all. I’m still in love with you. I haven’t let myself think those words in a long time, but I hate lying to anyone, let alone myself. So finally I’m admitting the truth. I’ve moved on. I’m happy. I’ve grown so much… But I’m still in love with you. It’s not an active feeling, but it’s something that lies in the deepest corners of my thoughts. When we were together, I thanked whatever higher power was listening for you every single night. I let my whole heart melt around you, and that’s not the kind of feeling that just goes away. It has stopped nagging me, but it hasn’t disappeared.
But we exchanged pleasantries tonight. It was a fifteen second conversation, and it was plenty polite. I looked at your face and I listened to your voice and I didn’t feel like you were my ex. I didn’t feel like we dated at all. I saw your face and I listened to your voice and I saw the guy who I met my sophomore year of high school, when he was in eighth grade. I saw the guy I finally went to school with my senior year, sang in the same choir with, and couldn’t stand because he was condescending and annoying. I saw your face and I heard your voice and I felt really nervous, but I didn’t feel pain.
It was all so weird, because I’m still in love with you. I know you. It’s been 3 months since we’ve spoken. I’ve changed, you’ve changed. But I know you. I know that you scream-sing when you’re alone in your car. I know that you love tortellini. I know that you put your arm around everyone when you’re sitting down because it’s comfortable for you to sit that way. I know that you hate texting, and that sometimes you just show up at people’s houses unannounced. I know what you look like completely naked. I know that you’ve made me laugh more times than I can count. I know that we’ve been to almost every restaurant in our home town together and that we saw dozens of movies together and that we’ve cuddled under the stars on multiple occasions.
But I looked at your face and I listened to your voice tonight and I didn’t see any of that. We exchanged pleasantries tonight and I didn’t feel any of that. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I’m writing this letter. I’m confused. I think I’m still in love with you, but maybe I was just in love with an illusion of you. I think I know you, but maybe I only know the parts of you that you let me know. Maybe when I looked at your face and listened to your voice and exchanged pleasantries with you tonight I was interacting with all of you, the parts I never loved or knew. Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel like you were the one I’ve been in love with for 8 months.
Tonight I realized I’m still in love with you, but I’m in love with a fictional you, a you that doesn’t really exist. And maybe, just maybe, you dated a part of me that doesn’t really exist. So when we exchanged pleasantries tonight and I felt like we never really dated it because we never really did.