Continuing.

I once wrote a letter. It contained my deepest thoughts and feelings about you… and I never sent it. I wanted to, trust me, but ultimately, it’s now tucked into my journal—the pages torn from being carried around for so long—and it’s going to stay there, invisibly so.

I think I wrote it wrong. I think I was right to leave you be, but again, I was wrong to believe that letter could change something. I’m not sure what it was; that you’d finally understand why I was so hurt, that you’d empathize and feel for me, or that I’d convince you to love me.

But I couldn’t do that to you. Deep down I knew the truth—even if I couldn’t live with it. Even if they were the most powerful words I’ve written, I knew they wouldn’t move you. Maybe that’s why I stopped writing—if I couldn’t make you feel, I couldn’t make anyone feel.

Maybe that’s why it’s so hard for people to not talk after a breakup. We rely so heavily on a partner to be there, and then one day they’re not. Even when we are restricted from communication we seek that rush from our ex’s name popping up on our phones—even when we claim we don’t. We want their attention, their love, and we want their time to be our time once again, but with one slip up, we crave more.

That’s the tip of the iceberg of my fears in reaching out to you. If I told you I didn’t spend hours upon hours thinking of the right words to say leading up to that day, I’d be lying. However, that day, somehow, the words poured out of my fingertips. Completely different ones than you’d find in that letter, but ones that felt right. As always, things were so easy when it came to you.

They weren’t romantic and they didn’t plead or explain more than you needed to know, but they were honest. They told you what was going on, explaining that it wasn’t an option for me to reach out—that I couldn’t be more grateful for you to exist because of who you are and what you did for me.

I had no fear in your response—unknowing that I’d ever get one. I didn’t need one because I knew the words did nothing but good for you and me. I felt good, but I have never felt so great to read the reply. I felt pardoned of a crime I spent sentenced to for one year; a crime you now wrote that I never committed.

I tortured myself for that year. Countless time was spent wondering what I did, how things ended in that way, and how imperfect I really was, but you said it wasn’t me or anything I did. Things just had to be that way because they did and I believe you now because I’m unable to write a different reality.

On the phone we once talked for hours about space as a metaphor for relationships. I told you how gravity is my favorite force because it’s infinite. Everything is pulled towards everything, but sometimes other variables get in the way of two objects meeting.

I told you then that if you were a shooting star (which you are), that all of the objects you pass are attracted to you, as you are of them. Sometimes you’ll pass an object and feel such a strong pull that you’ll loop into it’s orbit. Sometimes you’ll pass an object and never see it again.

Life has moments that must be appreciated in the now because we’re unaware of so many of our orbits. If they’re lasting, then we must appreciate the objects that pull us so. If they’re fleeting, then that short time was an infinity among itself.

You thanked me for being who I am and helping you to see who you are. Our two-text interaction was the capstone to everything we lived—the months of sleepless excitement, the days of butterflies throughout our bodies, the hours of video chat dates—all timing down to two texts.

Just as you and I continue on, so will the words you find here. They’ll describe new eyes, serendipitous moments, and other adventures of the heart, but our gravity will always be there, shaping and moving us, even invisibly so.

Day 17

I watched the sunlight sneak around the blinds and slowly creep along the white walls beside the window. We always smiled at the way the light casts long shadows from our picture frames, like they were slowly waving at us before we woke enough to speak a word to each other. But this morning, just as the light touched a picture of us, my heart dropped.

It was you and me at your cousin’s wedding. We were “big cheesing,” as you called it, and you were holding me—exactly how you had me all night. My hands were in yours as we greeted your extended family or your hands were around my neck as we danced to every pop hit, throwback, and guilty pleasure they played. The smiles were real and the picture was no lie—it was bliss captured in one moment.

It was the future I saw because it made sense. It was your family, with me, and our happiness… I thought you framed it to remember that… to know it would happen. And now I don’t know what more you could have wanted.

I shouldn’t have watched the sun through the blinds, knowing where it shines, but I’m not sure what else to do. I don’t sleep and there’s not much else in the apartment to look at anymore. I should take the picture down. I’ll do that later today.

My days have felt fake recently, like I’m living the life of someone more dramatic than myself. I drag my feet to work and zone out in front of the computer. It’s not like me to realize I haven’t eaten anything… oh, well, it’s 3PM. Yeah, it’s not like me to realize I haven’t eaten anything at 3PM.

I don’t care what plans I am, or more recently, am not invited to. There are either fewer happy hours in our friend group these days or I’m just not included in them. But I get it. I’m not happy for many of my hours, sharing friends is complicated, and I’d rather not bring everyone down anyway.

I’ve avoided my phone recently, which I guess is good. There’s a sting when I look and see no notifications—not that I’m hoping to have one from you—that’d probably make me throw up. Instead, I’ve been looking around more.

Today, I noticed the full moon start to rise as I left work. I don’t know what it is about daytime moons, but they remind me of the summer from when I was little. There was no school, no work, no stress, and no plans. I was living for the day and to start anew tomorrow. I wished for a day like that.

When I get home I sit and tell myself I’m going to read or apply for jobs, but I don’t have the effort for either. Instead, I throw on a useless show meant for someone utterly addicted to television and allow my brain to rot. We used to call this place a home and now it feels like a cemetery for my former life.

I shower around 9PM, thank god, and I remember I told myself I’d take that picture down. When I walk into our room I hold the frame for a minute and wonder what thought it was behind your smile that would have you leave me like you did. I place it on the floor of the linen closet and climb into bed, anticipating the thoughts that will surround me as I try to sleep tonight.

I know I’m not okay, but I’m better than I was yesterday. Every day is easier than the last, until one day really screws with me, but I’m generally getting better. I wonder how you’re doing all the time. I shouldn’t, because of the circumstances, but I know it can’t be easy for you, even if you’re pretending to be fine.

We loved each other, and fought, and made up, and loved more. With every high was a low I knew we’d get through together, but now that we’re alone, I just want the best for you. There were secrets in our lives only we knew, and no, that shouldn’t keep people together, but that’s still sacred to me.

I’ll admit I still love you because our memories are hardest to let go of… and I’ll admit I don’t want to let go of them either—I just want them to be older memories that I can admire from afar. You were my person for so long that I forgot what it’s like to be my own and re-learning that is why I struggle.

As I lay, I look around and realize you’re not in this room anymore. I think I feel a little less haunted because of it. The moonlight is creeping across the now vacant wall we occupied like a paintbrush over canvas and I wonder if tomorrow will be good or bad to me. Just as I wish for the good, my world is swallowed by dreams of the summer and full moons rising before nightfall. I dream of your face, smiling, and suddenly, of nothing at all.

Orbits.

I wanted you to contact me. I wanted us to cave again, even if it meant distance and heartbreak and confusion again. That was better than longing for something I cannot see.

No, it’s not fair, and yes, everything would have to change, but it’d be worth every ounce of trouble for me to have you.

The way I felt about you made me question if I ever loved before. And living beyond my time with you was like watching a shooting star blaze by in the night sky and then watching the void just for a glimpse of something more miraculous to come.

I don’t know how to handle my life without the light you gave me. As my life screams signs pointing to you, I wonder if your life returns arrows in my direction.

I closed this chapter with you. I thought it was over and my lesson learned, but what if your orbit centers near me? What would we do if our star illuminated the world? What if we could see and it was all clear?

Learning

I’m learning to walk without you—and except for that night through the streets of New York—I technically always have. You were consistently hundreds of miles away, but you never failed to whisper in my ear and laugh with me wherever we were going.

You remain this phantom I’ve hosted for months—appearing on sidewalks as cars pass playing our songs. The hardest part is knowing that you’re just as close as you have always been; a movement to the device that never leaves my side, and yet, everything has changed so that you’re not.

The thing is, I walk without you when I can. There’s someone new in my ear and often by my side. Someone who listens and retorts and makes me smile. Someone who is beautiful. So why are you the one I write about in a post I’ll never send?

I wonder how you are doing in your world without me. If there’s someone you go to when you need love. Someone who looks at you as I had, baffled that a human like you exists. Someone worth the sacrifice. And even if he is in your ear, here I am, wondering if I am the phantom you still walk with.

I’ve been learning to let go all of my life. It was often the involuntary option for me, so as I grew up and with more freedom I also grew to like holding on to those in my life. Until you, I forgot what it was like to be forced out.

Light.

You have to remember the bigger things. Where were you two years ago? Who was the most important person in your life? Did you wake up early to watch the sunrise like you said you would?

I need you to do something, and it’s not for me, it’s for you. You need to wake up. Take one day, just one day, to gift yourself, and go.

Order that burnt diner coffee and drive, or take the bus, a train, an Uber—it doesn’t matter. Go to that place you last felt at peace, and sit. Get your pants wet with the morning mist by the river, lean into the rock of a subway car, or recline in your parked car in that place you call your own. Wherever you are, take it all in.

Unplug yourself and settle into your solitude. Welcome the dark thoughts that elude you all day and haunt you at night. Live. Breathe. But look at where you are and feel the life moving inside of you. That’s your momentum to survive. That’s what is telling you that you can conquer those dark shadows.

You’re stronger than you think you are. What’s gotten you here will get you where you want to be, but for right now you’re meant to be in that wet grass, or heading north through Manhattan, or staring off, out of your car, into the flashing lights that catch your attention in the place you call your own.

Neither of us knows where you’ll be in two years, and I can’t tell you who will be the most significant person in your life. But I can tell you to watch the moment light first hits the Earth. It’s like watching the planet fill with life—a refreshing breath that reminds you that you’re alive. It reminds you that this planet is as much yours as it is anyone’s, and that one properly aimed stream of light can banish any shadows of the mind.

A Letter Never Sent (#2)

Give me 40 years and I will regret every late night I spent at the office. Tell me you wish I stayed an hour longer that evening with our neighbors and I’ll wish so too. Despite anything you may think – I worked hard to give you what I think you want. I want better for our children. For our future. For us.

Give me 20 years and I’ll take my vacation time. We’ll go to all those places you dreamt of since you were a teen. We’ll see those Wonders and climb that mountain. We’ll eat those foreign foods and laugh with locals we barely understand. It will make up for what we’ve missed and we will be great again. I promise, we will.

We equate time and currency, so I always thought my earnings gave you what you wanted… but it’s not working. I knew this deep down. I can’t buy anything but objects.

So I take back my promises.

If you give me today I’ll give you what we both want. I won’t take that promotion and take me from you. I’ll give you my time – I’ll keep my true worth from my work. We’ll take weekend adventures and go out to dinner on Tuesdays. We might not have fancy cars, but we’ll have more than most people do for 40 years and more.

A Letter Never Sent

I’m dedicating a series of this blog to fictional letters. Love letters or ones related to relationships (romantic or not). I live for this.

You—

You knew to lift my hand to your chest from your thigh as we danced. You knew that even with liquor in me, I wasn’t entirely comfortable as we calculatedly swayed. You leaned in and eased my tension by letting me know you were there, for me. It’s how the electricity between us silenced the band at the bar when our faces drew closer… and how every other person vanished altogether the moment a magnetic force brought our lips to touch. And just like that – the world became still.

Kissing you forced time to accelerated and freeze in synchronicity. I know how illogical this sounds because I didn’t know you then, but I can’t describe it with any other words. It could have been seconds, minutes, or hours – all I know is that I never wanted it to end, and my warm drink hinted that I’d been apart from it for far longer than I thought.

I’ve never traveled in time before and it was an odd sensation. You smiled at me as if we shared a secret. I realized that we grew older together, despite the short time it was. A nearly visible thought dashed across my head like a static shock and I wondered if we would spend any more time together after the night ended.

I ordered us replacement drinks. We were only a quarter of the way through them before realizing we’d do much better with comfort food at a diner nearby. When we finished I walked you home. I took in every second I had with you… and that was it.

I never thought I’d give my love away so easy, but I never wanted a person to have it more than when I stood on the sidewalk outside your apartment. At the top of the stoop you opened the door and eclipsed from the light inside. You cast a shadow on me and I couldn’t make out your face when I blurted out my heart was yours.

You walked down, kissed me, turned in the light so I could make out those dancing eyes of yours, and said, “You have mine, too”.

You’ve been my time machine ever since, so I can’t tell you how long we’ve been together, only that it’s been the happiest time of my life. I love you.

—Me