April 29, 2013
Today was the last day I’m guaranteed to see you for a while.
I **said a nice “goodbye,” but** I meant instead some things I couldn’t say.
I’m a fish out of water when you’re around. I’m a temptress with no traction. I’m a girl who wants to know a man. If I only had a tongue, I’d be a siren. And that’s painful enough, but on top of this: even if I were brave, if I could wear sandpaper on the soles of my shoes, if I could enunciate, I would still have far too much respect for you to do it. I will never force you to know how I feel, or to subject you to the consequences.
Still, that’s not what I would have said. But I do think it’s important to say how immensely I respect you.
In my head, the milliseconds festering with all the heat and shame and longing and wondering that I spent months burning away like a nervous neon bug zapper – those are what made me walk away. It was a “Entrance, line, exit; finish it” formula, since those are among the things I most rehearsed for you. It was sad for me to say goodbye, and worse that someone’s yet to invent a tuning fork for sincerity. Was I too professional? Not professional enough?
I look at you and I see someone beautiful. I look at you and I see someone smart and kind and accomplished and ready for more of being alive. I look at myself and I see someone hungry for living, doing things amongst real people with active thoughts. I look at myself and I see someone who has so much love and appreciation to boomerang out into the universe. I look at my surroundings, and, while I’m grateful to be where I am – incredibly, incredibly grateful – I look at you instead when I need to think of where I want to be.
I worked really hard over the past couple of months to shake you off. … There was the time I realized our shared appreciations of Christopher Walken and Bob Ross. Then there was the time we found out we come from the same town. Then there was the time we talked about having almost gone to the very same college for the very same program. Then there was that time you told me you play **the violin** and specialize in electronic music.
So I had to work really hard to get you out of my thoughts. Most dangerously of all I had to try to mute my curiosities – as much about life and the world and myself as they were about you.
Then I stopped. I caught a glimpse of your hands once when you **leaned on the edge of my desk. ”I can’t believe you’re a musician, too.”** I won’t pretend I don’t think you’re extraordinary. I won’t pretend I’m not proud to be the kind of person drawn to someone who thinks and acts and carries himself like you do.
I’m convinced it was you who snagged me that whole thing about “achievement,” which could only ever be due because I try to prove how good you are. One of the biggest problems I’ve had with myself all along was the idea that I was either an obligation, a part of a project, or both. Objects. No traction. No agency. Absolutely none; and nor did I want it. First off, I’m terrified of you. Second, I don’t want to break the glass you sit behind. That space on the other side belongs to you. So instead I made myself a mirror of what you do.
You are kind.
You are smart.
You are gentle.
You are patient.
You are generous.
You are committed.
You care. A lot.
That’s why I learned so much from you. That’s why I’m excited about moving forward. That’s why I remember to feel so wonderfully fortunate to be in a place where people like you happen to be. I’m empowered by the possibilities that await me in a place like this, with people like this. You did that for me.
Of the universe in which we’re the very same people within a very different situation, I am completely envious. But that’s impossible. We are the people we are because of all the little fragments of time and place and timing and placement. So I tuck back under into a cycle of thoughts and emotions and frustrations, feeling all the better about trying to lay them down in letters.
I hope that someday you know that I am in love with you. Or, better yet, how beautiful life looks with people like you in the world. I hope most of all that you know that you are wonderful.
**Sensitive details have been changed**