Forgive me, first love

When I was young, I wrote you letters. I put them in diaries and secret blogs, in planners and the margins of my school notebooks. They were tiny letters filled with impossible longing and you never got to read them.

When you got married I thought of writing you a letter. I thought of filling it with five years’ worth of things unsaid but I didn’t.

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When we broke up in March, I wrote you a long letter. It was the first one I asked you to read. I remember crying when I wrote it, not because I was broken, but because I was grateful. That letter, more than anything, was me telling you that I was so lucky to have had you as an integral part of my life.

When anyone asks me, here’s what I tell them: it was nine years of laughter.

I don’t know the words to that letter anymore but I bet I still mean them.

I never thought of writing you again. It seems unnecessary now. We know nothing about each other, live stories that belong in completely different chapter books. But I’ll make an exception today.

Because I was thinking of letters and words and stories and I remembered this one time:

It was 2008 and I was missing you. We talked all the time and saw each other often but my 19-year-old heart wanted more. (How strange it is to be so young and desperate.) So I missed you whenever we drifted off into the space between. It was terrible.

On a particular day of missing you, I found this website that could send letters to the future. The e-mails would be pre-programmed to arrive on dates in the future. I chose your birthday, 2012. I don’t really remember what I wrote but I know I filled the letter with questions.

Are we still friends? Do you have a girlfriend? Do I have a boyfriend? What happened to this person, that person? 

And I ended it with: I hope we’re still okay.

How would a hopeful teenage girl know that 2012 would be so different. In 2012, we weren’t friends anymore. You had a girlfriend. I was (and still am!) single. Our friends are generally still our friends, with a few new additions. We are, however, okay.

I wonder if you got that letter. I wonder if you were sitting in your room one night when the notification came — on your phone or your computer — and I wonder if you felt just a teeny bit haunted. I wonder if my words made you believe in ghosts. I wonder if the sickening neediness of a young girl dripped from that e-mail and if it made you cringe or smile or remember a fast-fading past. I don’t know why I’m wondering any of this because it all seems so funnily irrelevant but wouldn’t a touch of nostalgia on your 23rd/24th birthday be a nice kind of surreal?

I didn’t write a letter to you on the day you got married because I didn’t need to. The words from the past, and even those that seem to bounce off into the future, have already said everything.

I hope you are okay.

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