SUBJECT:

I want to send you an email. Not a postage-stamped handwritten letter, my soul tucked away in a white envelope and licked shut. I can’t stand the mere possibility of you turning the key to your apartment mailbox, fully expecting nothing, yet finding a piece of me drowned in a tsunami of overdue bills and months-expired coupon books. I’d rather let my words disintegrate into oblivion in an online inbox. Or better yet, your automatic spam folder, brimming with useless junk and phishing bots hungry for identity theft. I want you to know so many things without you having to endure the trauma of reading them, lump in your throat, sick to your stomach. I know I hurt you back then and that I still hurt you now. I know my apologies are knives in wounds that still twist, months later. Would you delete it? Send me away for good? I’d understand.

Should I start with Dear [Redacted] or just [Redacted] followed by a comma, plain and painless? Does Dear leave too much to interpretation, too much “You are dear to my heart, and you still have so much of it in the palm of your hand”? Because that would be embarrassing. Should I begin with vague pleasantries– I can’t believe it’s June. I’m drowning in that Northern Virginia subtropical humidity! I know you remember how awful it feels. Anyway, how have you been coping with everything? Wild, uncertain times.

Should I dive in headfirst or dip my toe in the water? You make me want to take the plunge, to curse all possible consequences and damn them to the deep. You always have. 

The cursor tempts. I give in. No repartee, just my heart in all of its nakedness.

———————–

Dear [Redacted],

The lack of you unsettles me. Your absence is ear-splitting and all I can do is listen.

Is someone else making you happy? If so, I wonder what her name sounds like spilling off your tongue. Does it cascade like honey? Does she kiss your shoulders like it’s the last time, every time? I trust your taste. I just know she’s lovely without having to meet her.

What did you do with all of the letters I wrote you? Do they still occupy the bottommost drawer of your computer desk, still secured in that crinkly pink wrapping paper? Or, if you had to get rid of them, did you choose to recycle? That sounds like you, adorably obsessed with sustainability and being a good person. There’s a comfort in imagining my words being made new, serving some grander purpose. Cleaned and reprocessed and reincarnated into another life. I like the idea of that, another chance.

I’m reading more than usual these days. It’s a way to kill time and I’m always killing time; it’s how I cope without your help. Have you ever heard of the novel Normal People by Sally Rooney? Probably not. It’s more up my alley, but it reminds me a lot of us. Weaving in and out of each other’s timelines, stopping for a brief moment to sit longingly and absorb as much of each other as humanly possible before having to diverge again. Never a last time with you. Never a last time loving you, either. Was that too much? I’m sorry.

I shouldn’t be writing you. I have a life that needs tending to. I kiss someone else now and I fully adore him. Please try your hardest to not misunderstand. But I’m going through the motions of this strange design, this exotic geometry, and I can’t stop thinking about the second nature easiness of belonging to someone like you. Rummaging through your closet without asking to find something soft enough to sleep in. Associating skin with holy— not sin or hell. Careful back rubs when I would doze off mid-panic attack. Now all you are to me is a fleeting vision I can’t touch. Weird, right?

As much as I want you to remember me as a giggling, wavy-haired siren ogling you from across the room (and all of our seemingly endless distances) I know you probably don’t. My mind romanticizes the woman I was for you. I could’ve sworn I did everything right.

But I didn’t and no one understands that more than you. You were the target at the end of my barrel. The test drive forever. The dry run lover. The body I gave up on. I know that was what kept you up at night, your mind repeating disposable, disposable, disposable until you’d slip out of consciousness.

I wonder if your favorite tea is still chai and if you drink it with her while she sits in your lap and calls you baby (does that still make you cringe?) Do you still wash your hair in the sink because it’s more convenient? Do you still insist on the same brand of underwear and refuse to even try any other kind? That’s still the silliest thing to me.

Tell me anything or nothing. It’s alright, whichever one you choose.

Love,

Sincerely,

Yours,

Best,

Take care always,

Remember I’m always here,

Love,

M

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