But it’s really all I have left of you
I have been meaning to burn your letter. Not letters, no . . . I’d written you hundreds, maybe thousands, over the years, yet I received one in return. One . . . I’ve kept that letter for nearly eighteen years. I move. It moves with me. It knows every space in which I’ve dwelled. It has its own personality, still reeking of you. Still holding you within its lines.
I thumbed over it the other day as I was going through my file, discarding decades-old greeting cards and tossing meaningless utterances from my gullible years. I almost threw it away. I looked at it and instantly, the pain that comes with having that letter slapped me hard on my face.
I should have listened to the harder me negotiating the benefits of letting it go. But I didn’t. And now, I am debating on if I want to waste lighter fluid and purified water on words that have lost their meaning.
I move. It moves with me.
Have they lost their meaning, though?
If I were to send a quick text message to you and inquired about the beats of your heart whenever I was around, would it be accurate in its detail? Were you always nervous — butterfly-bellied? Did I really . . . really make you feel alive? More alive than he did?
It doesn’t matter anymore, right? What is past is the past. But I go dumpster-diving into my past every so often and I meet you there. We fool around with our garbage — failing to clean it up.
I told one of my best friends I finally deleted your phone number — removed your photos from my bookshelf, stashed that stuffed frog somewhere I can’t find it, and she said, “Oh, really? Now, that is something I never thought would happen. How do you feel about all this?”
Were you always nervous — butterfly-bellied? Did I really . . . really make you feel alive?
I couldn’t answer her then and I cannot answer her now. I don’t know how I feel. At first, I felt relief. It was refreshing to take back my heart — my life. It seemed gratifying.
Now, I just . . . I am not numb. It is not the proper word. I am desensitized, maybe? I am no longer taken with you, but I still want to hold on to you. Does that make sense? And since I can’t have you — something from you, something genuine from you, will do.
I am stuck in this maze. I know the way out. I’ve been here before. You are always at the exit and I stall on getting there — knowing the toll I’ll have to pay will cost me everything.
You blew me away. I was dust. Mere particles for you to dispose of and dispose of, you did. Yet here I am, coming across an old letter that ruminated for nearly two decades and it’s still intact. What would love analysts say? Would they dissect this instance and talk about it during their “You Must Move On” podcasts or prime-time television shows? Are these still relevant nowadays?
I am stuck in this maze. I know the way out. I’ve been here before.
My mind tells me I shouldn’t harbor something that has so much of you in it. I shouldn’t. I said you would remain in these walls — I wouldn’t take you with me, not again. But this letter . . .
It’s really all I have left of you, and I’m not ready to let it go.
*Upon discarding some old things, and trying to declutter for the upcoming move, I came across a letter from someone I truly loved (still love) and one I struggle sometimes, to forget. In a way, I’d forgotten about it because it was hidden. It sparked this piece. Thank you for reading.
Originally published via Medium.