Some Unsent Love Letters
I will write you two letters and send you one. The first is what you expect. It starts with a foray into my day-to-day life here, and then covers some half-baked concepts that have been bouncing around my head, and ends with a plea for you to share some of your life with me. The second, this, is honest.
See through my eyes for a minute. Feel the way they open up when you’re in the room.
You give the world color and moments meaning. You’re the brightest person I know. You attract with such soft warmth that outshines the sun back home. The way you are — the way you smile, the way you look, the way you sit with your legs tucked beneath you and your back arced like art — it absorbs me. The way you move makes me wish I could draw. Around you, my chest tightens and I hear each breath as it fills me. I fill with warmth every time I think you care. Every game we play or joke we crack makes my day.
You make me who I want to be. You’re good because you are, not because you’re lost. I wish you saw the you I see.
My friends catch me smiling when I recall a joke you crack or a game we play, and they know I’m falling. But they can’t know how I feel, no matter how much I tell them I really like you. Words just scratch the surface. They just suggest. Imply. Hint. I wish you could hear what I want to say.
I wonder who you are.
You’re beautiful. Smiling and focused. Sliding around the room. I wish I knew you, and how you thought and how you spoke. Your curls bounce with each step to the chagrin of your struggling headband. I love that. I love the tuft which falls above your bright eyes and frames your face. And your face is a novel, flipping between charm and frustration as you whip between customers and a broken oven in the back.
I want to know you. I want to know what you see in the morning before you leave for work, and if it’s anything at all like what I see now. I wonder if you know how quickly you enchant me. Would it scare you, or excite you, or just not matter?
I wonder what I look like to you, and whether you’d like me. Do we like the same music or the same books? Would you feel what I feel when you look at a million lights from an airplane window after dark, or into the water on a riverbank? Are you kind enough to pretend?
I wonder what you’d think if you could read my mind. Maybe you’d find me sweet. Maybe a creep. You make me wonder.
I want a hug. I’ve been thinking a lot about you. I’m sad that you’re no longer in my life, and that you don’t want to be. Guilty that I hurt you, especially because, honestly, I’m so fragile, and I’m much worse with you than you are with me. You’re a mirror from which I can see everything wrong with me: how I’m selfish and thoughtless. I try to see me through your eyes, with all your knowledge of my worst parts. I’m filthy. But honestly, I’m just mad that you’re not holding up your end of the bargain and actually putting in a little effort into being friends with me. You made a promise, just like I did, but at least I’ve been trying.
You mentioned marriage in your letter. My fixed perspective is changing. I love you more than I’ve loved anyone, but I know I know so little. I was (and am, kind of still) eager for marriage, because it provides a fixture in an uncertain world. But if we marry, I want our marriage to be in harmony with all else that we choose to do. I hope — really, really hope — that this works.
It’s Tuesday night and I have more work to do than you can imagine. It’s raining outside, and I can hear the bass of electric music through my neighbor’s wall, and I need to go to the library to pick up a textbook and get going on an essay but all I can think about are your labored breaths.
Love’s felt like a lot of things to me. Sometimes it feels urgent, like there’s fire coursing through my nerves and my heart’s about to blow and I just need to run or jump or shout because it’s burning — I mean, really burning, in all the bits of me, creeping out from my chest to explode across my back and arms and legs with such heat. I felt that before seeing you in the summer, on the plane. It comes with an eagerness to move and a desperation for life.
Sometimes love feels slower, warmer. Maybe like a cloudfront at sunrise. I can feel my body fill up bit by bit. It soaks into me. It’s the love when I watch you wake up, or work, or get ready. It’s the love of a quiet smile.
Sometimes it’s dark. It can feel like my blood is turning into lead and I begin to lose sense of in my extremities. My failure chokes me. It makes me feel like falling into a great big lake and letting the weight of my failure pull me down deeper and deeper as I watch the moonlight grow distant. I felt that a year ago.
Right now it’s just a little tingle. A rush up my forehead and down my spine, teasing. It’s filling and warming and delightful. I love it; I love you. I can’t wait to be next to you, enjoying sunbeams in the grass or the sound of rain by a fireplace.