A Letter to the Boy I Love That I Will Not Send

Dear You, I woke up this morning thinking about you. And it wasn't by choice, at least not by my conscious choice. I guess my brain likes to do these funny things where it takes everything that it knows about you, and everything that it knows about us, and it takes ahold of both of these things and choreographs an intricate dance, part reality and part fantasy. I have my pesky, vibrant cellular memories to thank for the way my brain was able to reimagine the actual feeling of your lips on mine, and my conscious visual memory to thank for the way I knew exactly how your brow furrows when tears start to creep into your eyes. To say I miss holding you by the waist and resting my head against your chest would be an understatement. Do you remember falling asleep together on the yellow couch in the guys' lounge? I remember that I was so sweaty and so uncomfortable in that tiny, 90 degree room with the broken AC, yet I wouldn't have left that moment for the world. Being close to you, being able to tuck into your body and smell the scent of your skin, that was all the security I needed. Do you remember falling asleep together that first night in chapel? That was the first time I saw you sleep. You always asked me why I didn't wake you up. How could I? You were so peaceful, so gentle, so vulnerable. That was before everything, before you kissed me and before we hugged, before I loved you, and before those beautiful blue eyes were mine. I never understood the blue eye craze till you. I don't know why I'm writing this letter. I thought maybe it would help get things out of my head, but this is all stuff you already know, and it's all things that I've thought so often that the thoughts are just all worn out. What I really need to say is, that every morning when I make my coffee, all I can think about is sitting with you at that dirty, Cheez-it-covered dining table, wearing your faded-black long sleeved NF shirt, each of us with our respective coffees–yours black, in a heavy mug, and mine iced with almond milk in a mason jar. I want to say that every time I drink out of my Hydroflask I wonder if yours is full, and if you're drinking from it, and if whoever filled it up made sure not to get any water drops on the outside of the bottle. I need to tell you that if you visited my school you might understand why I'm as crass and cynical as I am, and that you would really like my English teacher, and that all the girls here would be obsessed with you. I'm writing this because every child I see makes me cry, because you're the one that showed me how to love kids, and the image of Pearl's tiny fingers fitting perfectly into your palm along with mine is burned into my head. I'm telling you that I can't stay up at night because the nights were ours, and all I want is to lie down and stop thinking, but when sleep comes I dream, and I dream and wake and it's like I lose you all over again every single morning. I'm writing to tell you that my heart leaps every time you respond to the group chat, and breaks every time I open it, because you're fine, and you're not mine, and I think you might be forgetting me. I'm writing this letter to you because my love for you is so intense and bountiful that I don't think there's an end to it. You moved my heart in a way that I didn't think was possible. You helped me see the true, serious value in things, like the words that I say or the way I treat my body or the detrimental indifference that I used to hold towards all sorts of sins. Desensitized is a word you really like, so I'll tell you now: You helped me become sensitive again. Sensitive to others and myself and the world around me. Maybe that's why this hurts so much, because I let myself be vulnerable around you, and to reap any benefits of change you have to put up with the pain. Perhaps the main difference between us now is that I never try to forget, never want to pretend that it didn't happen. Because it did, and it was true, and it was real, at least on my part, so why should I try to convince myself otherwise? Last night I lay in bed and the invasive thoughts came, and instead of pushing them away or letting the heart-wrenchingly vivid ones run their course as per usual, for the first time, I bargained. I just wanted to remember what it was like when I was allowed to love you. Just for a second, I wanted to pretend that I was in that place again, where I could love you and call you mine. You have some growing up to do, and I want it for you, genuinely, but I'm terrified that your growing up will just translate into laughing louder and running faster and working harder and sleeping longer, but ultimately, forgetting sooner. I could write for days and days about every bit of you that my heart aches for, from every Walmart run, to every late-night walk, and every car ride in between, and maybe someday I will. But not now, and not here, because this is The Letter to the Boy I Love That I Will Not Send. To the stars and back, Me

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William

artist, musician, writer, Luddite

Troy, United States