Theme Song: “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Second, a corrections officer who said she shuts down. I called her Aussie because she looks like that purple kangaroo I always had a crush on. We texted excessively, over 30,000 texts in 77 days. “But, we spend so much time talking about food!” Two and half months of happiness then she ended things abruptly, and completely. It was the 18th into the 19th I tried to make her cookies. Lesson learned, don’t try to give anyone cookies on the 18th and everything will be fine. I wish I was kidding, I am never trying to give anyone cookies again!
By the time we finally met, six weeks after the first text, she was already the embodiment of dependable, loyal, sane, rational and loving. She would never be mean to anyone. When she said she “shuts down” she meant she doesn’t like to fight, I don’t like to fight either. When she said she can sometimes be a “hot head” she meant she is fiercely protective of those she cares about. She broke my heart a hundred times over. That was my fault I made her up like a character in a book.
On our first date, I liked her so much more than I disliked her and it wasn’t dislike. Her energy field seemed small, as if I was standing next to a teenager. When she smiled later that evening her smile lit up the sky, her energy field wasn’t small she was just shy. A missed warning sign. Adults don’t behave the way she behaved with me, teenagers do, young teenagers who never felt the thrill of a reciprocated crush. Only a child would name a star for someone and not realize that gesture said love.
She named a star with the message “Our first kiss looked down upon the stars above.” That star, a symbol of her, impregnable. It’s not flowers that die, not jewelry that I can give away or smash. It can’t even be returned for someone else to name, I checked. It will be there for the duration of our lives. It could be there for eternity. I hate that star is there, lurking. I can feel it in the sky, mocking me, “ha-ha, I tricked you!”
I liked her so much. Loved her so prematurely I was willing to give her anything she wanted. After every time I saw her, I was exhausted, so tired for days I could hardly function. A clear sign that she was taking more from me than she was giving. I was willing to give her that energy because she made me laugh, made me happy. Should I really be willing to sacrifice that much of me for someone’s presence?
“Corrections officer are you sure?” “Of course, I am sure.” – Oh foolish, foolish me, so naive, so innocent, so reckless with my own heart and I don’t even know it. “She looks serious.” “No, she is funny.” “I mean she looks tough.” “She is tough but she won’t be tough with me, she likes me.”
Dear the Second,
On day five I said to my friends, “We are going to fall in love and get married.” Because you said, “so just yoga then,” when you were trying to figure out what skills I was going to use in the fight I challenged you to. You made me laugh. I had a childish trust in your kindness. I thought that because you were a corrections officer you have seen the darker side of life, that kindness was hard earned and lasting. I knew without a doubt that you would be kind and gentle with me because that is who you were. “I am the coolest person ever, you’ll see. With me what you see is what you get.” Those phrases, I see now, were my warning signs. These things don’t need to be stated if they are true.
Normally people overwhelm me with too much attention, but not you. I enjoyed your attention in a way that surprised me. I loved your willingness to humor me. “All the fried ice cream is mine! You can have the fried Oreos!!” You fell asleep while you were driving because you were up late text fighting with me over fried ice cream. “Sleep is overrated.” I felt so guilty I let you have my fried ice cream. This was before we met. I would have spent three hours on a train to give you a five-minute hug because of that. If I wasn’t positive you would have thought I was crazy for that action, I would have done it… and you couldn’t hug me goodbye when you were letting me go.
We had a connection. My body vibrated with joy for you. Even when I was passing through your town a few days after we started texting, I felt that vibration in my body. It was tangible and curious. I never felt that before. I wanted to invite myself to meet you on the first day, “Happy last day of 2016,” but that would have been crazy. After five weeks, I thought what we were doing was love. I stupidly trusted you to be the sane, rational, one because you had a real job and did things like meal prep.
Our first date wasn’t exceptional but that made me like you more because dating advice says don’t look for someone who sweeps you off your feet on the first date. Look for calmness, that is where the stable relationships are found. I didn’t want the date to end but it felt calm. Conversations weren’t as easy in person. That was my fault, I am an introvert and need more time to adjust to people. I wanted you to be more assertive. Within fifteen minutes of our date I wanted you to take my hand. I was waiting for you to take that action. I didn’t want you to ask if I wanted to hold your hand hours later. I wanted you to be confident enough to just do it. I wanted you to look at me and kiss me because you knew, of course you could, and you didn’t have to ask who should make the first move. I liked the feeling of wanting from you. When you did kiss me it was too soft, and I thought, “Please, just kiss me”, so I pulled you closer to me. Later you said that was the most romantic first kiss you ever had. You were always validating and encouraging of my feelings for you. Kissing you, that was magic. Once we started doing that I never wanted to stop. If you let me, I would have kissed you until the sun came up no matter how cold it was outside. I liked you right away. However, after we kissed and you smiled, I finally felt the you I knew from our texts. She was the best thing ever. In that smile, I thought you were a wish come true.
For the one-month anniversary of our first date you named a star for me. That surprised me. I thought for the first time with weight that you could be my forever. If not in a relationship, then definitely a permanence in my life, someone I could count on. When I was eleven I wished on a star, and on a green gem troll, for you. I didn’t know you were a girl. I realized how alone I was and I wished for the connection I felt with you. You reached the bullseye of my heart. No one does that, not since my first real friend when I was thirteen. I tried to tell you about this but it was too late. Three days after you named the star you were thinking you wanted to date other people and one week later you were gone, unresponsive to me. Your last text filled with anger. Your last email filled with hatred.
I felt your mood shift, but I never would have guessed that it had anything to do with me. I thought I made you happy. I felt your happiness for me and your friend validated this, “You make my friend very happy keep doing that.” In response to her, you looked at me with those same scared baby bird eyes you gave me on our first date. I should have been afraid of that look, another warning sign. Still, you could have stopped texting me completely and canceled our plans that weekend and I wouldn’t have thought any of that was about me. I would have thought you were dealing with things and would get back to me later, that is the only thing I would have needed to hear. I understand space when you are not threatening me.
On the way to see you that last time I noticed I didn’t feel that vibration in my body as the train got closer to your town. I thought that was my fault. I wasn’t feeling well and was depleted. I had no energy left to give and I shouldn’t have come. If you didn’t invite me to meet your family weeks earlier I would have canceled. I thought that was important to you. I was wrong. As soon as I got into your car you looked at me in a way that frightened me. I had unshakable faith in you, until that look. I thought “What did I do? I was so careful not to be an intrusion to you, to let time work out the details, to take things as slow as you wanted.” It wasn’t me, I didn’t do anything, that was the most painful thing you said to me that weekend. You always thought I wasn’t the one for you, that one day you were going to tell me that you wanted to date other people. You were getting drunk on my feelings until you were ready to move on.
I got that frightening look from you so many times that weekend. I don’t always feel safe with people. I thought you understood and respected that. With those looks I was afraid to kiss you, to touch you and I was not afraid to touch you since the first time you took my hand. I tried to eat left-handed so we wouldn’t have to stop touching. I was barely holding back the tears when you finally responded to my questioning of what was wrong. After sixteen hours of anxiety building I found the courage to directly ask you what was happening. Rather I said, “I am feeling insecure, but that is my fault.” You responded by saying you wanted to keep seeing me and date other people. The more emotion you saw in me the more distant and cold you became. That stranger, a foreshadowing of what a relationship with you would have been like. If I met her first I would have known to stay very far away.
“I thought we were falling in love, you named a star for me of course I thought that.” “Love?!” You looked at me as if I were literally insane, a deer caught in the headlights. Falling in love? No, I thought you already loved me. You whispered those words to me the second and third time we met, when we were kissing on your couch. That’s a thing? I didn’t know that. Those words never landed in me the way they did when you whispered them. They never pulled me in so much before you. I wondered if you meant them or if you liked the way I reacted; thrusting. Eventually tears rolled down my cheeks because I wanted to hear them for real. You brushed my tears away with your fingers and I thought, “No, she means them. It is just too soon to say them.” I had no protective barriers. I soaked everything in. You talked to me all day, every day, of course I believed those whispers. Whispering those words, I learned that from you. That’s a dangerous game.
“You must have noticed the texts slowed down.” The texts did slow down that week, but you also gave me so much more than any other week. You said you wanted to be the one I called if I was upset or needed something, that you would drive to me if I really needed your help. I said it was too soon to cry in front of you. You said it wasn’t too soon for anything. I said I didn’t want to overwhelm you and you said I couldn’t, that I would always win out with you, we were a team. I said I couldn’t image anything we would fight about. You said you couldn’t either, what would we fight about? And you said, “Don’t I hold you like I never want to let you go?” You were already letting me go when you typed those words.
“So, we have an understanding.” “No, it’s not an understanding. I don’t understand it.” You can really do what you were doing with me with multiple people? That sounds insane. From my perspective, our relationship started when you told me I had all your attention. You told me that on our first date. You said that you only had time for work, CrossFit and me. I only had time for work, my thesis, and you, and only the beginning of you. You asked for slow, and on the first day of texting I thought you were telling me that you wanted the freedom to flirt when you went on vacation in June. So, I thought perfect we can get to the middle after that. I will have time for my thesis and you will have time to feel attractive to other people. Flirting is one thing, but dating? That weekend was the first time you said or did anything that suggested you wanted something other than a relationship with me. You were careful not to say relationship while implying the importance of establishing that term. I thought that was because you wanted to enforce slow, not because you weren’t committed to that future. I thought you loved me back, that you had more feelings for me than I had for you. That is what someone like me is supposed to look for. Then, in essence, you said I was the mistake you wanted to make so you can be happy with the next person you felt a connection with, the next person you loved. You wanted to fall in love and pull yourself out of it.
Did you have any intention of following through with the plans you were making with me? Why did you let me invite you to my graduation, or invite me to your CrossFit competition? You couldn’t say, “Let’s see how things go.”? My heart breaks every time these dates comes around and I am reminded that we aren’t even on speaking terms. Were we ever on speaking terms? Did you ever hear me beyond what was beneficial to you? How could you have not noticed that I was feeling love for six weeks before you looked at me with those shocked eyes at that word? Was I just a toy to you? Something shiny, distracting you from your world until you got bored. “This thing talks back, so cool. Oh wait, it has feelings. I am getting creeped out.” How can anyone be so deceitful, so hateful, so apathic to the feelings they are creating within someone?
I thought you were the best thing that could have happened to me. That I finally found someone that was for me, who liked me, wanted me for the sake of me. You felt differently, but did you have to devastate me? You couldn’t hold me and let me cry at the loss of that? I didn’t want to get that far along with someone who wanted to date other people, that was hurtful. We only had a beginning and as soon as the beginning started to show any signs of transiting into a middle your personality changed. Are you a honeymoon dater, leaving your partners desperate for who you were? You didn’t give me any time to adjust and then you were out, inaccessible like the star you named for me. That is a form of death, the person I knew gone, without a goodbye, replaced with this ice-cold stranger. I needed her, the person I knew. I need her to say that she is sorry that she couldn’t stay in my life. It feels like I am never going to stop crying over the loss of something I never had. You lied with your attention. You don’t realize that is what you did because you say you don’t self-reflect. Or you don’t care, making the person I thought I knew even less real. You asked me, “Do you hate me yet?” as if that was your goal. That question was the only moment you showed a glimmer of the happy you that I knew, the wolf coming out of the sheep’s clothing.
When you looked at me with those distant eyes asking, “Who is this stranger in my home?” – That was my breaking point. – “You lying bitch. Get out of my life.” I knew what I was doing and I couldn’t stop myself from pushing you away. Saying things that were so twisted up they were hardly true, or the worst version of true. I would take that back if I could, that was situational not a pattern. You throw all my insecurities at me, used them against me. You’re a corrections officer, of course you know how to punch me with your words in a way no one else could. I am over-talking? No, you injured me, I am bleeding. This is me bleeding. Weeks earlier I told you sometimes intimacy makes me cry. So, you said I already had a problem with sex. “Wait, what?” You asked for patience from me, so obviously you had patience for me when it came to sex. I didn’t want to rush that because I wanted to enjoy the wanting. You asked for slow, so I thought we had all the time in the world. We only went on four dates and none of them were dates that you planned for me, outside of your apartment. We didn’t do any of the things you said we would. I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong. “You never talked this much before, I was always doing all the talking.” But we talked all the time in texts, in person I wanted to be kissing you. My body never liked anyone as much as she liked you. I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong until this stranger was telling me I did all these things.
I kept putting my hand over your heart, saying your name, begging for the you that I knew to talk to me, but she was gone because she was never really there, not for me. If anyone was going to end things with me it should have been her, not that echo of you that looks at me like an intruder, a burden, a mistake. “I don’t want to make the same mistakes by rushing into a relationship with the first person I feel a connection with.” A mistake? But why would knowing me be a mistake?
“I am not where you are at.” – You drunk dater! You date like a drunk driver, driving at top speeds with no concern for your passenger who has no idea you are drunk because you spend so much time talking about food! – “You gave me so much.” “That was my fault I need to learn to hold myself back.” You shrugged as you said that. You shrugged my feelings away as if they didn’t matter, never mattered. I didn’t get here on my own, you took me by the hand, lured me to the top of your mountain with your abundance of attention, and your gentle laughing at me and encouraging me forward whenever I expressed any insecurities about you. “Know this we talk every day and if a day went by without texting, I would miss it.” – That’s so sweet I guess I don’t have to tell her she doesn’t have to text me every day, she knows that, she just wants to. With that shrug, you pushed me off your cliff. You pushed me without regard for my experience of you, nor your creation of my feelings. Your feelings were all that mattered. You punched me in the heart and set it on fire.
“I am being selfish.” You were always selfish. It is not that we tried and things didn’t work out because of incompatibilities, that is not what you said. You said you wanted to date other people because you wanted a relationship with me. “I have fallen head over heels before, I have fallen in love before.” I was the mistake you wanted to make so you could be happy with someone else, just a memory, just an experience, nothing of importance. “Are you going to delete our texts?” “No. those are memories.” You sound like a child sitting in a dark corner eating stolen candy. You stole those memories from me. You stole them by withholding a few kind words. “You have been nothing but sweet to me.” It wasn’t because of me, I didn’t do anything but be sweet to you. You punched me in the heart and made a fool of me. I was already in love, so the chase was over? Am I supposed to hide my feeling? Nothing was about me. Are any of your relationships about the other person, or do they just exist besides you?
You tell the same story about an ex, an antidote. I heard it three times, at least. It sounds like you are making fun of someone you hurt, for being hurt by your actions. It sounds like you attract sensitive people into your life and are careless with them, blaming them for believing in you. Your friend said, “A month and she would have died for her.” How much did you give her in that month? The stories you tell of people from your past aren’t positive. What do you say of me? Do you even remember any good feelings? Do you care to? I can almost hear you laughing at me with your friends. Why would you rather have me remember the loss of us rather than the joy of us? Is your only remorse that your actions caused you stress?
In the last email I sent you, I told you your feelings felt so hard against me, like a cement wall. Previously, you told me you often can’t sleep well, that sometimes your heart beats fast for no reason. How many cement walls have you built in your life? A cement wall? No, a prison. I was put on trial before I got off the train. The verdict already decided. You were looking to justify your decision, a formality and there was nothing I could do, it was done. My punishment for believing your words and the future you implied we would have, not a guaranteed lifetime, but a relationship. I felt that verdict before I got on the train, but I couldn’t comprehend it. I thought I was being too sensitive and you were having a bad day. There was no way I could have fought back. If you kick someone out of your prison they are out. There is no reentry without your say so. Your last email, “Let me be clear at this point whatever was between us is gone.” And you were in fact gone, radio silent.
When I told the Third how you ended things she said that wasn’t nice but it’s normal. I must have looked as shocked as you did when I said love. I guess it’s possible you are only behaving in the manner an unwritten handbook says is appropriate, but I never read that book, and I don’t understand that behavior. I can almost hear you saying, “Well she has to learn sometime. When it’s over it’s over.” I deserve this? You stole so much from me. You stole my feelings of a first true love. “I have fallen in love before.” I haven’t, not like that. You sucked me dry and crumbled the ashes, a black widow. Even if my feelings were misguided and naive did you have to be so compassionless? Your only reaction to seeing how much I felt for you was cold hearted anger.
I am sorry I lost your respect and the protection of your warm thoughts and feelings for me. I feel like I failed you by romanticizing your life, not seeing the reality of it. My questions about you always revolved around what was safe. Are you safe at your job? Is that next car you want safe to drive? Are your other career options safer? Am I safe with you? …You taser people? That idea makes me feel nauseous. I needed you to explain things to me in a way other than saying, “Inmates are gross.” I told you I didn’t want to go to your work, you laughed, “why would you be there?” What I was really saying was that I didn’t want to know who you are there. I couldn’t image you being mean to anyone, I didn’t want to know that side of you. Then you turned that vibration on me as if I committed the crime of having feelings for you. You shocked my nervous system.
I failed us by not seeing that a friendship would have been what was right. I am too sensitive for a corrections officer, or for you. I never would have survived that relationship. One hard look and I would have been crying, likely in public, and I would have embarrassed you and you would have ended things. “Just tell when it is safe to fall in love. Is it safe yet?” The unasked question that was in my head since our first date. It was never safe, you were never safe for me. I thought the worst response if I ever voiced that concern would be you saying that it was too soon for that and then you would have kissed me, like you said you would if I ever asked you a stupid question. I believed in every little thing you offered me…custom made sweetness just for me. Before our first date I said “I am expecting a real hug from you, not a bear hug, not a nice to meet you hug. You don’t even have to say hi first.” You hugged me, in that hug I thought, “she listens to me. I can trust her.” Everything that meant so much to me, a lie. Did you know you were offering me the world?
“Why can’t you just let it go?” Because I am afraid I won’t be able to recognize genuine feelings in someone, if you weren’t honest, then who is? If I am always attracted to people who I am a little bit afraid of will I always been treated this way? I thought my fear of you was misguided, just nervousness of turning my world upside down, but no you are terrifying. Two completely different people and I can’t glimpse one in the other. Am I always going to be attracted to people who are going to intentionally hurt me? “It wasn’t intentional.” It feels intentional and I have no idea how to protect or defend myself against another you. It is as if you learned the ways someone behaves when they are offering a secure relationship and imitated them, the red flags so minor in comparison.
Why were you hiding your ambiguous feelings? How does anyone get to clarity without revealing those feelings? I tried to ask you for them, to start conversations about them, but you only left me with the impression that you were a woman who knew what she wanted and didn’t question that. “Do you know what it is like when you start to look for things you don’t like in someone?” “No.” Then you said you were rethinking getting a Tempurpedic mattress because I told you those beds hurt my back. I thought that at some point down the line, maybe a year or two, you were going to ask me to live with you, part hopeless romantic, part it felt like you were making plans that included me as part of your life. You said you were excited about the future. You said that many times and then that weekend you said you never thought about the future. Was everything a line? I thought that when you asked for slow you meant that you didn’t want to skip from step two to step ten, which the jokes about U-Haul lesbians seems to imply happens a lot. I didn’t know you were talking to yourself and not to me when you asked for patience.
I never meant to push you so far out of my life. You’re a corrections officer, impenetrable, my chance with you was over the second you decided you felt differently, if I ever had a chance with you at all. I was playing with fire and I didn’t know it. I pushed too hard. I reached out too much. I overwhelmed you. I understand that. I can’t describe how sorry I am. “I was nothing but genuine and honest with you and you couldn’t accept that.” I was emotional but I was genuine and honest with you, and you looked at me like I was an invader in your home.
Your last text, “Your behavior was over the top, concerning and way too much for me at this early stage of dating.” Early? If you were looking at me, listening to me, there was no way you didn’t know how I felt, love, and that we were already in a relationship. If I was being naive you could have told me, I would have heard that. Instead you confronted me with the one thing I asked you not to confront me with, other people. You liked when my feeling benefited you, you were getting drunk, not falling in love and I had no idea. You didn’t want me, you wanted a mistake. You ended a relationship, you ended a friendship. I hate that I felt so much for you and in the end, I was worth so little to you, underserving of a kind word or soft gesture. I was desperate to reach the kind and warm you that I knew, the part of you that liked me. I needed her one last time, to hug me one last time before saying goodbye, that hug would have been a protection when going back into this world. I wouldn’t have felt so abandoned and isolated, even if you couldn’t speak to me again I would have known that I could have thought of you and felt your warmth for me instead of this ice. It is as if you slammed the door on my finger and refuse to acknowledge me long enough to open it and free me of you. Maybe you like me caught there, it gives you the control you said you like to have. Early? The loss of you left me in so much pain that my vibration attracted someone with borderline personality disorder. That is concerning.
“You are the last person I would want to hurt you have been nothing but sweet to me.” I have never been so hurt in my adult life. Hot to cold? No, boiling to ice. I don’t think you realize the effect you have on people. Whoever you were that weekend was a complete stranger. I never would have talked to her if I met her before meeting you. I might have run from her if she tried to talk to me. “I am afraid of priests, so ominous.” I would have cried the first time I saw you in your uniform. Your last email, so hateful, so dismissive. I never had a heartbreak be that physically painful, it felt more like a heart shock. I have never dated anyone that left me feeling like I was hated, as you left me feeling. I never cried for anyone as hard as I cried for you when I deleted our texts and photos. It wasn’t the amount of crying, it was the depth of crying, you reached places in me that no one else could, then you threw me away. That is not a relationship wound, that is a soul wound. I had no protective layers. I was way too vulnerable with you, and I had no idea until it was too late. Even if I did pay closer attention to the warning signs nothing would have prepared me for your final words to me. I was overwhelming to you and everything that exists between us was gone. Gone for you, not for me. The feeling I thought was love was there since the first day and has never left. I would give anything to have you hear my apology, to resume the friendship that never should have left our lives. And I would give my life to never meet another you. I guess I did give my life when I let you kill the hopeless romantic in me. That was my fault. I shouldn’t have been so willing to love you without your explicit permission. I was practically begging you to kill her. I still want your kindness, your words of comfort, shame on me for wanting that.
I never felt so abused, and I have had bruises on my arms from someone telling me to leave their home and then holding my wrist so I couldn’t leave. “Everyone wants to marry with me but you.” That is what he said to me earlier that night, his excuse for being unkind. He looked at me the first time and thought “Oh boy I am in trouble,” same as you. If I knew you thought that when you thought that I would have backed off 50%. I know what those thoughts really mean. “I know I will have feelings but I don’t want them. I will fight them to the death and I will win.” It was too late for me to back off by the time I knew you thought this. I am exhausted from meeting people who punish me for their mistakes, their insecurities. I am not trouble, you’re trouble!
I lost ten pounds in two weeks, it was very hard to comprehend the total loss of you. I failed myself because I knew I needed someone permanent in my life more than I needed a girlfriend. I liked you in a relationship way. I would have adjusted with compassion and time. I loved you in a human way. For me you were irreplaceable, a rare soul that came into my life. For you I was disposable? You had no compassion for my feelings for you, feelings you directly encouraged in me? You treated me like I was acting silly when I expressed insecurities about you, as if you were saying “Of course I am here, I am not going anywhere.” You made me feel that you were a part of my life, friends or more than friends. I didn’t know there was a third option lurking behind more than friends. I told you my feelings as soon as I felt them, which was the second day we were texting, “I have a crush on you.” I told you that because New Year’s Eve I wished I was with you instead of where I was, but I didn’t have the courage to invite myself to meet you on that first day, though the thought did cross my mind. I told you all my insecurities, and it seems that you took stock and used them against me that weekend, threw them at me as reasons not to do this with me. Still, foolish me, things never changed for me, you never stop being the person I wanted to talk to. I went through an entire other relationship, beginning, middle and end, you are still the one I want to talk to when I need a genuine connection. I wanted you at the funeral. I wanted to tell you some people in my life aren’t as supportive as I thought they would be and others are calling me gross. I wanted to tell you that my advisors said some nice things about me. When I really did need someone to talk to you weren’t there. If I could fix this I would, but you are so unforgiving. No one has ever treated me the way you treated me, the good or the bad. The loss of you is nothing short of a tragedy. I would have adjusted, I would have seen the incompatibilities of us as a couple. All I needed was time, patience and kindness.
Maybe there was someone in your life before me, and I was the mistake you wanted to make so you could be happy with her. When we started talking were you avoiding having feelings for her? You could have told me that. I would have been more understanding to that possibility. There is no truth that is more painful than the deception or withholding of a truth. That puts a hologram over the experience. Perhaps, I just can’t accept the truth that you really did start this with me with the intention of hurting someone. That possible makes me feel sick, but it could be true. Maybe you wanted to get a short-term relationship out of the way so you could feel you were doing the right thing when you started things with her. But did you really have to treat me so badly to accomplish this? I would have agreed to short-term if I knew from the beginning that is what you were looking for.
I looked at your Facebook. I know that is a terrible thing to do. I don’t know if I was trying to remember you or forget you. There is a photo of the two of you, at an event you were going to take me to, with a heart-eyed smiley in the corner. You look happy. I feel like this was all about her, you always wanted to be with her. When you sent me a group photo early on she made me pause, but I thought, “no they are just friends.” I picked up on everything and I dismissed it because I thought you were for me… custom made, a cosmic gift. She has a lovely energy about her, I thought that the first time a saw her picture. Are you happy? I want to be happy. I just hate that I was a casualty – your murder victim, the hopeless romantic in me is dead and gone – in the quest for your happiness. Is that why it was so easy to hurl me out of your life when the time came? You never really wanted me. Am I wrong? I can’t tell which of you is more real, the one that was with me or the one that left me. They can’t both be real, can they? I am not angry. I am hurt, sad, regretful, confused and looking for reason. The hopeless romantic in me is dead, is it my turn? Can I be loved by someone dependable, loyal, sane, rational and loving now?
I reached out to you about six times over four months trying to apologize for being emotional, and probably for falling in love before you were ready for that. After the last time, the clarity of what you do dawned on me, a corrections officer. That reality so foreign to me that I romanticized your life. If any job would allow for the mastery of dehumanizing it would be yours. A corrections officer and I thought I could reach you, I am completely naive or insane. I didn’t agree to this. Short term is not what you offered me, you offered me the world. I loved you. No, I love you, present tense. I know suppressing those feeling will only attract more people like you in my life and I am done with fake affection. You left me abandoned, isolated in this world in worse condition than you found me. You were the first woman I did this with. If I was being naive you could have said so, I would have understood that. You shut down? You’re incapable of seeing past yourself, of being there for me when it mattered?
I looked up what shut down means. You don’t know how to evaluate or process your emotions? That is an obstacle to all of life, not just relationships. Half my thesis is about the importance of understanding the source of emotions and letting go of feelings that don’t belong to you. I could have helped you, in a very non-threatened way. I failed you because I was too busy being in like with you. If you ever read this I suggest some type of play therapy because it doesn’t allow your mind to try to control your emotions. There are good games and bad games and if we don’t learn to have a curious detachment to our emotions that is like going blindfolded into a knife fight. That sounds like a very bad game to me.
After a text I sent, I felt your anger at my reaching out to you vibrating through my walls, an earthquake just for me. That was terrifying. I’m scared of you? That is confusing. I am sorry I didn’t wish you a happy birthday. I didn’t want to be a source of disruption for you on that day. I never wanted to be an intrusion to you. I was in love very early on. I thought that you knew that. I also need to think if you did know that you would have treated me differently, been more careful with me because of course you wouldn’t want to leave me in worse condition than when you found me in. Of course, you want me to be more apt for love, not less, because your kindness was hard earned and lasting. You wouldn’t be unkind to anyone, least of all me. I was nothing but sweet to you.
I hope one of two things happen, either you become the friend you were meant to be or you become so distant in my thoughts I forget to think of you except on rare occasions. Every day I pray it is the day I forget to think of you. “You know why yes, and you know why no.” was the last kind thing you said directly to me. It was after midnight at the train station and I asked if you wanted me to leave you to wait by yourself when I wanted to keep kissing you. I wanted you to ask me to get on the train with you. You wanted to know I was home safe. At that point, I still believed you wanted me safe in all ways. I never felt emotionally safe the way I felt that with you. Emotional security, what I always wanted the most and had no idea existed before meeting you. That’s why my body liked you so much. I didn’t want to experience sex, I wanted the touch of love. I never felt that before you. I never had that with you. I hope I can find that again with someone honest.
The last kind words I heard you speak echoing through me, I can’t connect them with the last you I saw. “No, I don’t understand. I can’t comprehend it.” She scares me. I am afraid of you, and that is confusing. I wish I could say I am being overly dramatic, but no I felt all these things. Am I the red flag?
I had a desperate desire to reach you. You’re the star. I don’t have a telescope. Now I have the desperate desire to be heard, by someone who can understand what I lost, even if it was an illusion, and give me a heartfelt hug.
Jules Desiree Wyble was born and raised in New Jersey. She studied Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she received her MA in August of 2017. She currently lives in New York City working as a figure model and life coach. She recently took up an interest in learning to box.