Soliloquy (The Letter I'll Never Send)
In the weeks that followed your unsatisfying but allegedly typical loss of interest, I had a lot of time to reflect, to philosophize, to sort out my feelings. After a (also allegedly typical) bout of confused numbness punctuated by confused tears, I managed to determine the following:
1) I still was in love with you, but
2) That wasn't going to change anything, and
3) It was all going to be okay anyway. After all,
4) I had always known this would happen.
That last one you may be taking the wrong way. I did, indeed, always know you would be the one to end things (this is not meant to sound like melodramatic girls with teardrops balancing on their eyelashes saying "I always knew you'd break my heart!"). I only knew this, however, because I was too naïve, to enamoured with the idea of a maybe-forever, too caught up in romance to ever have the will or even wish to end things on my own. In a matter-of-fact, undramatic, unhurt way, I knew you would "dump" me from the very first summer poem exchange. We were moving too fast, and too slow. I lurched around clumsily inside your arms, bounced mistake after mistake off of your patience, and I knew there was only so much you'd take.
I know you won't want to read this. I can see by your face in my mind that you want to be past this, done, over me, friends who have forgotten being more than that. You don't want to hear about my (melo)drama, how I coped with the pain you gave me because you don't want to think you gave me pain. Listen to me: this makes you not an asshole. Anyone would be guilty. In fact, you don't have to read the rest of this if you don't want to. I'm still going to write it.
Listen to me. (or close the webpage and forget it, if it makes you feel any better.) Talking you up, convincing you there's nothing wrong. I'm fine. Nope, I saw it coming too. Had the same thoughts. Would have ended things too, but you beat me to it. No hard feelings, no hurt feelings, we were losing momentum anyway. Don't worry about it. Friends, yeah, we'll be great friends. This is complete bullshit on my part, but it's well intended. This is me being as forgiving as you'll ever see me. Me making an effort to keep you from being guilty, as a last momento of anger we constantly hid and bottled throughout our relationship to keep each other unworried.
And I don't usually forgive easily. You know I don't let sleeping dogs lie— I beat them until they're dead horses and then keep beating that.
Speaking of friends, you have no idea how many of mine have offered to kick your ass for me. Apparently this is one of the undiscovered benefits of friends— should I decide not to forgive you, I would have an entire army at my back. Fortunately for you, I've convinced them I can handle things without shedding (much) blood.
See, I'm trying to be gracious about all this. I knew for months that something was wrong, but considering the usual summer unavailability, I was going to wait until we could see each other and talk things out. Work things out. I was convinced we could save us if we started really communicating. Apparently you didn't want to wait, didn't want to tell it to my face either. I knew you'd feel bad so I filled my replies with little white lies. Or little gray lies. I know that we know each other so well, so intimately, inside and out, that we could really hurt each other, truly damage each other if we wanted to. We'd be the perfect nemeses, always seeing each other's weaknesses and vulnerable spots, continually tearing each other to pieces. I know that one perfectly aimed, bitter move will shatter the hopeful-friendship we're starting to build back up, shatter everything we've done together. So I'm being careful.
Today we finally met for breakfast. We talked about our families, about our hobbies. On our way to the café you started talking extremely fast about baseball statistics and I realized how nervous you were. Even after you losened up, it was more awkward than I'd have liked, but it was less awkward than I'd expected. We started making jokes, laughing, and occasionally you'd say something that would make me look away and down, focusing on the brightly colored pastries in the display case until the little hollow feeling under my lungs subsided, but only occasionally. I thought of things to say like "it was fun while it lasted" and "I regret nothing", but I never got around to saying them and I think you know that anyway.
I used to feel like you were worlds older than me, like I could never be as intelligent, as collected, as cool. You start using bigger, more technical words when I ask you an uncomfortable question. I notice it immediately and realize how it mimics my own behavior. You feel just as awkward, just as out of control. Just as human. How ironic that when we stopped touching, you stopped being so untouchable.
You walked me home even though you were late, out of pure habit, I think, and I offered you a "non-awkward friend-hug" that I half expected you to decline. Looking at your face, the eyes and nose and hair and mouth I know so well, I did not see an angel, nor a demon. No god, no illusion of perfection lived in you. Instead there was a boy one and a half months older than me, about a foot taller, and very similar to me. We'd make good friends, I thought. I can live with this.
People tell me they know how they feel. If I told them they didn't, they'd think I was being all melodramatic, as if no one could fathom the agony I'm in. The truth is, my pain is quite fathomable. There's no agony anymore. It hurts a little, but I know I'll get past that. This is me making peace.
I never got to tell you that I like to think you saved my life. If you're curious one day, and comfortable, you can ask why. And of course, if you ever change your mind, I'll still be here.
For now, I don't think I got to tell you that I regret nothing. And it was fun while it lasted.