TW: self harm When my screen lit up, I could feel my stomach flutter. I hadn't heard from you since you said Sydney texted you, and I wanted to hear what she said. But the news that I got was not what I wanted. You told me that she liked you, and you didn't really know what to think. You were excited, but you didn't want to let me down. We knew we could never be together, my family would never allow it, and we wouldn't be able to keep us a secret, nor would we want to. For a while now, we had been forced to love each other from a distance. We had been forced to hang out in secret, but I had hoped for more. Those times in secret were the best times we have ever had, and I took them for granted. I will probably never get them again. That summer, we met up at a softball game. It was our first time seeing each other since Covid, and I was nervous. You walked up, and you were beautiful. I should've kissed you right then and there, but I didn't. We talked for hours, and later you told me that you had thought about kissing me too. You asked me that night if it was better to speak or to die, a quote from the most recent book you read. I told you to speak, but you didn't take my advice, and turns out, I wouldn't take it either. I remembered the softball game when you asked me what to do about Sydney. You asked my permission to let you see if it was going to go anywhere. I kept asking myself if I would rather speak or die, and ultimately, I chose to stay silent about how I felt for you. I told you to go for it with Sydney. I wanted you to be happy. What kind of friend would I be if I asked you to wait for something that might never happen? I couldn't be selfish when all I really wanted was to see you smile. You were ecstatic when I told you to talk to Sydney. You told me you thought you liked her, but that we would always have something special. You said you had never felt the way you did about me before. You said I was different and you would never forget me. So that night, while we were messaging, I cried a river of tears. I cried until there was nothing left in me. You were my happiness. Without you, I wasn't sure what to do. All I felt was a numb, dull pain in my chest. It was heavy and sad and all I wanted was for it to be gone. So I tried to make physical pain outmatch the emotional pain. I slit my wrists that night thinking of you, and how maybe you could finally be who you wanted, and with who you wanted, even if it wasn't me. For the next couple weeks, I cried myself to sleep. I wore long sleeve shirts everyday too so you wouldn't see what I had done. One day though, I raised my hand and my sleeve fell down. You had looked at me for just the wrong second and you saw my scars. I followed your eyes and I began to panick. What was I going to tell you? You didn't outright ask at first. You asked me what was wrong because I seemed upset. You wanted to know if you did something wrong. No, not technically anyway. I told you I was fine, but I know you didn't believe me. I felt bad lying, but I couldn't tell you the truth. That was a couple years ago now, but I still think about it all the time. I mostly think about the softball game. If I had kissed you that night, would you still be mine? Why was I such a coward? Why was I so afraid of what people would think? Having people know I liked girls would have been a small price to pay to still be with you. But now we barely talk to each other. You took the school year online so you could focus on bettering yourself, and I don't blame you for that. I do wish that we kept talking though. This year was the worst ever because you used to be my lifeline, and suddenly you weren't there. We used to talk every night, dreaming about our future plans and imagining what we would do once we turned 18. We aren't like that anymore. We haven't talked like that in at least a year. I wish things could go back to the way they were. I miss the old us. We could do anything together, or at least it felt like we could. But now, you are practically gone from my life. You have moved on. Completely and for real. I only want to know how you did it? How did you let go of me? Because I have been trying to let go of you and I can't. Maybe I'll always love you, maybe I will never let go. But one thing is for sure. If I could go back, I would chose to speak, not to die. That night with Sydney, I would have told you everything that was inside of me, just waiting to be said. It might not have made you stay, but at least you would know. I would have stood a chance, because now it's tearing me apart. I miss you, Zoe. I hope your side of this story has been more joyous than mine. I'll be waiting for you if you ever decide to come back. You are special, and I will wait for you for as long as it takes. I love you.