subject line: sam hunt and the southside

 

ohio

Break up in a small town. Thanks Sam. We appreciate your musical contributions to society.

Yeah. Sure did. I was broken up with. Which being twenty-five (Lord help me) and getting broken up with is like a gut-punch where you want to throw up but you can’t, and you just walk around with your stomach in knots for a while. There’s no rhyme or reason to why things don’t work out. Sometimes they just don’t and you have to let go and figure out how to spend your nights and weekends again, because that someone who was always up for grabbing a beer with you, or going for a walk is gone.

It’s mourning in the weirdest of ways, because they’re still here, but you no longer have permission to be in their life. You no longer have permission to talk to their family, or to be in their home, or to see their friends, or to like their dog. Because it’s theirs. And I have been ever so politely locked out.

And on the other side of that loss is the question where did I go and what happened to me? Strong, confident, care-free me? I spent so much time making sure I was being caring, and thoughtful, and heaven forbid- not annoying or too much to handle.

You used to care, but now you don’t. I don’t need you to exist in my world, but yes, it feels a tad emptier on this side and sometimes I miss you. And other times, I have a strong impulse to scream, “It’s better this way. I’m better this way.”

So here we are, back to independence and traveling, and reading too many books and working out, being back to myself for all of the people that I hold dear. Even though I didn’t mind the person that was ever so slightly changing into a relationship person.

Here’s to navigating seeing your car in parking lots, and probably turning around, seeing your family and friends and doing the awkward wave and half smile, and sitting in my favorite bar ordering and a double IPA. I’ll probably do a small, secret cheers to you, because even though you’re gone, you taught me more and challenged me more than anyone I’ve ever met. And for that I will be ever grateful. Cheers.

subject line: wait for it

 

picktown, oh

Wait for the boy that will bring you flowers at least once a month just because he knows they bring you joy.

Wait for the boy who lets you be the one who shines sometimes instead of letting you fade into the background.

Wait for the boy who would never dream of flirting with another girl because of his love and morals.

Wait for the boy you feel secure as hell with. He’s out there.

Listen. I’ve been there. I’ve sent emails about heart shattering loss and spilt tears and the feeling of my heart being ripped out of my chest. Go back to 2015 and you’ll find em.

But hear this: he’s out there. I know you’re thinking he’s not. I know you can’t imagine how you could possibly love another man after him. You can’t imagine the heartbreak and longing leaving your chest (it won’t, but it’ll turn into a tiny sliver that half heartedly rears its ugly head only occasionally). But don’t settle. It’ll get better. It’s going to be more painful than you imagine. The breakup will be awful. You might have to kiss a few boys to get the taste of him off your lips. You might have to go on a few dates without the butterflies in your tummy. But it will happen. And it will feel like a cold glass of lemonade on a front porch on a Sunday in May.

Pinky promise.

subject line: hurts so good

 

the buckeye state

Why is it that I’ve written so many of these emails about the boy that broke my heart, but not a single one of the man I’m engaged to marry? I’m scared that it’s because he doesn’t make me feel deep things like the other boy who held my heart did.

Or maybe it’s just because words stick better to heartbreak than happy endings.

Yeah. For my sanity we’re going to go with that.

subject line: I should be writing an essay but nostalgia

 

Under My Pink Blanket

I used to come here, years ago, and read the stories of boys who broke hearts and girls who felt lost. I used to think I loved him, and found a piece of me in all the emails about boys just like him or girls just like me.

And a long time ago now I realized he never cared for me, and what I felt wasn’t really love. But I’m back here again, now truly in love with a man I am going to marry one day, and I am grateful for every step that has bought me to this place.

subject line: when he doesn't text back

 

Pennsylvania

Message: I have been single for three years. Three years full of days when I only texted my mom, three years of no goodnight kisses, three years of convincing myself I am enough. Three years is a long time and I’ve become an expert in self love. So when I was asked on a date, I thought I was ready. As I contained the nauseous feeling as I walked through the restaurant, I told myself I was ready for this, ready for a man to buy me dinner and tell me I looked pretty. Ready for a man to walk me to my car and tell me he had a good time.

But I wasn’t ready for him to not text me back. To give me no reply. To leave me wondering where it went wrong.

So next time I’ll be stronger. Next time I won’t think ahead to our first kiss. Next time I won’t brainstorm our wedding hashtag.

I guess this is a learning opportunity. But I’m honestly sick of learning and it is hard. But I’ll keep my head down. I’ll listen to the Galentines playlist and read blogs on singleness.

One day he will text me back. One day I will text my mom about a second date. One day I’ll teach my daughter about learning lessons the hard way and that she really is enough.

subject line: what do you want from me?

 

Tubsy, Washington

We’ve been friends since we were fifteen.
I guess that means a lot. I know so much about you, have seen and done so much with you.
I can’t wear a flannel without thinking of you. Hell, I think I have some of your flannels. And every sweater you own was chosen by me. Everyone who has an orange construction vest on reminds me of you. Your house smells like black tea. Remember when we drove out on the backroads and the sunlight was flitting through trees and the windows were down and everything was good? There was a time when we hated each other. A time when we grew even closer too. I’ve got necklaces from you, flowers pressed between the pages of poems, coffee stains on my last journal, a scar on the bottom of my foot from that hike we took ten years ago. You’re in the creases of my life–there’s no denying it, no backing out now.
We promised ourselves to each other. We’re stuck with one another.

Then she came along.

Three weeks ago you told me you got a girlfriend.
You kept her hidden. Why did you do that? We never hide anything from each other. I guess that means a lot. Maybe we aren’t who we promised ourselves we would be. Maybe we’re not stuck together.
But we are.

Because you called me yesterday and asked me to coffee. And I’ll go this afternoon and we’ll laugh and run around and we’ll talk a little bit about her but mostly about life and you’ll put your arm around my shoulders at some point and look at me with those blue eyes like you have for the past ten years and damn it all.

I’m in love with you.
I guess this means nothing.

subject line: almost loves

 

ohio

I’ve written in this little white rectangle a million times. It’s always the same story - an almost love story. It’s the bittersweet kind that leaves you with the sting of what could have been and gut-punching hope for what never will be. People tell their stories of “almost love” with sentimentality and sweet-as-honey daydreams. It’s the smiling glances on a train, the witty conversations with a cute neighbor. Then the train arrives at your station, and the neighbor moves away. Poof, it’s gone. We can have a million flirtatious glances, first dates, and summer nights. And yes - they are exhilarating and fun and adventurous. However, at the end of the day, I don’t want the fling. I want the real thing. And I’m afraid I’ll never get it. What does it take to be chosen by someone? That’s all I want. To be cared for enough that someone would chose to know me more - to take off their shoes and stay awhile.

subject line: the most burning question

 

Nashville, tn

The first question everyone asks me is “Have you guys talked?” As if that’s the qualifying characteristic of something real.

But I always answer with the same, longing, “no.” I’m sure they can hear it in my voice, how much I want to hear from you. I’ve built a laundry list of things in my head that I want to talk to you about, starting with: (1) Playoff Hockey; (2) The Big Sur Landslide, and (3) how are you? It ended so abruptly and way too casually for the feelings that I held.

When I observe the thing from 30,000 ft, it makes sense. There’s a difference that lies between us that feels unbreakable. This far up, it looks black and white. But when you’re in the thing, it gets messy. Emotions make everything messy. But they also make things beautiful. I hope to always choose beauty, even if it’s painful. The messy, beautiful, thing is what it was to me. No one had ever captured my attention that quickly or fully. I wanted nothing more than to just be around you, and to hear what you would say next. You always surprised me. People noticed our interaction the first day we talked. It’s hard to overlook that scene when two humans look at one another and say, “Oh…you too? I thought I was the only one…”

In my 29 years, I had never had that happen. I was scared to admit the weight that it held. I didn’t tell many people and I told myself that I was holding it loosely, but the calluses on my hands today beg to differ.

When left alone to my own chaotic thoughts, every wall that I’ve ever built over the years went up, every question towards you was asked. But, then you would show up at my door and the storm would calm. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was on the same page as someone. There was no push and no pull, no exhausting game of asking “does he like me?” or “what does this text mean?”. We both knew.

I’ve learned that when your best friend looks at you and says, “I just love the qualities he’s bringing out in you, the ones that I know are there, but you’re waking up to them and it’s beautiful to see”, is a true indicator of something good. And it was.
You came into my left unexpectedly and left in the same fashion. Leaving me here in a whirlwind of questions that add up to “why?” But the most burning of them all is still “how are you?”

subject line: life is amazing

 

atl, ga

I was just checking in on a friend; just asking him how he was doing. His reply was “life is amazing”. Maybe that seems like nothing to anyone else. But this is everything to me. You see, this person used to struggle with depression daily, and even had a couple suicide scares. I used to pray every single night that I would see his face the next day at school. I prayed for the pain and sadness to go away. I didn’t know how to help him, but I did everything I could think of. I got him help. I went months without seeing him smile or hearing him laugh, but slowly, he got better. He sang in the hallways again, he laughed at his own corny jokes again. And just now, today, he said his life is amazing. That does my own heart so good. Never give up on someone because you’re tired of them being sad. The greatest feeling is seeing a smile on that person’s face and watching them fall in love with being alive again

subject line: to those with romantic hearts like me

 

out exploring

It’s so nice to watch a movie full of perfect love - perfect romance. When you can sit back and watch and see the feelings start to show. To sit there knowing exactly how the show/movie will end, because that’s what perfect romance is all about


Those beginning moments, where the two individuals begin to get feelings. And they smile at each other often, sneak glances across the room, saying nothing yet everything with just one look. To the state where things become almost unbearable, and you’re yelling at them from the other side of the screen, telling them to just get together. And then they get older, and the girl decides to leave and the boy doesn’t know what to say. She waits for the words she wants to hear, but he never says them. And when you think all hope is lost, you watch as she’s boarding the plane and just like that the boy shows up and confesses his love.


Perfect romance. Perfect love.
It fascinates me. It always has. And now that I’m older, and in my own relationship, I’ve realized that perfect love like that doesn’t exist. Not in that exact way.

Perfect love, the kind in the movies, isn’t raw, it isn’t real. But, if you find someone you love... that is all the perfect love you need. And it is real. Someday your own story will become your favorite romance novel.

There is hope for us hopeless romantics, so take heart. Those stories will not be like yours. Yours will be much better

subject line: to the one I loved and lost

 
To the one I loved and lost,

Everyone always said this, and it was true: I would have given her the world if she would have let me. And it took her a while, but she finally did. The tragic thing is, she was my world. And I’m afraid that I gave her herself, and she no longer needs me. I’m afraid that all of my love and attempts to mend her from her past worked. And now she is healed and moving on from me without a thought, thank you, or good bye; and more painfully, without a second chance.

She stole my heart, and my existence, and so many little pieces of me, so evident by who she has become, and who I was. But now, she is using all of those pieces of me that she so gracefully stole, to win other people, and be happy without me. Maybe she never really loved me, only pieces of me.
It’s a wonderful thing to see someone grow so much because of you. But it’s torturing to watch them grow so much that they grow out of your grasp, uprooting the only bit of solid ground they had, when they had nothing else. That hurts. That makes me want to hurt myself because, well, everyone always does. It feels like that has become my purpose: to be an emotional punching bag for everyone. Everyone wants someone like me until they have me.

Don’t get me wrong, our love was not just about me fixing her. She fixed me too. As better as I made her, she made me so much better. And I knew it. But looking back, I know it even more. She taught me so much: about everything. She taught me how to be a friend. She taught me how to laugh. She taught me how to love. She taught me how to date. And how to care. And how to be kind even when I didn’t want to. And how to smile when I didn’t feel like smiling. And how to conquer my fears; even the fear of being enough by myself. She taught me how to love myself, and embrace myself, and to let the world see who I am. She helped me believe the truth about myself: that I can change the world. And maybe not everyone, maybe not all at once. Maybe I’ll change the world one friend at a time. Maybe I’ll only change those who are close to me or those I’ve newly met. But I can change the world one joke, one jab, one snarky comment, one insightful thought, one beaming smile, one convicting laugh, one word, one picture, and one moment at a time. She helped me love myself, and gave me the courage to let the world love me too. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

She taught me about so much more beyond myself. She taught me about, wow, everything, at a time when I thought I already knew it. Movies, books, music, TV shows. Life, death, tragedy, and joy. The majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and restless big cities. She exposed me to the realness of life. She showed me the good in the bad and the bad in the good. She inspired my dreams, helping me to lift off into the looming infinity of the future, but kept me grounded when I got out of control. She taught me how to feel alive at a time when I didn’t even know if I wanted to feel that. And in all the hours we spent in school together, I learned more from her than I did any teacher.

She gave me a reason to stay, when my tires whirled along the roads to anywhere. When I wanted to run away and never come back, I thought of her, and stayed. She gave me a reason to come home upon the rare occasion I was able to escape the monotony of my everyday life. She gave me a reason to want to go to school, or target, or anywhere she was; because if she was there, it was a better place than wherever I was.

She even gave me a reason to watch soccer. I’ve never been interested, or, frankly, cared for soccer, but she loved it. Watching it helped me learn it. Learning it helped me learn more about her. The more I learned about her, the more I loved. The more I loved, the more I fell. The more I fell, the harder it was to hold me up. And the harder it was to hold me up, she just couldn’t.

It makes me sad that we grew so much together, that we ended up growing apart. At the time, we needed each other. She swore against saying this, but what can she do now: we saved each other. And maybe we didn’t save each other from death or sickness or any number of horrible things that come to mind when you think someone has been saved from something. Maybe we just saved each other from being alone in a lonely world. Maybe we saved each other from ourselves at a time when we were confused or afraid or even hated ourselves. We may have still even had these feelings about ourselves this whole time, but at least together, we weren’t alone.

But maybe being alone isn’t that bad; I guess it’s time to find out. Everyone always tells you how important it is to have someone else to need and love you, but they leave out how important it is to need and love yourself. Maybe love’s whole purpose is to mend us so we can be strong enough to be by ourselves.

We are alone now, but, thanks to each other, at least we have ourselves. Yes, we have family and friends and class mates and teachers, so I guess technically we aren’t alone. But we are alone in the sense that we no longer have that person who loves us because they choose to; because they want to. We don’t have someone who will always choose us first, and will drop anything, anytime to be with us. We don’t have someone who makes our fragile, insignificant, powerless self feel invincible against the world’s worse. We don’t have someone who loves us as if we were the only thing they ever had or will love. We don’t have someone who makes us feel like the stars hang in the cold night sky, shining for us, or the wind rustles the still leaves for us, or the waters roar, carving more scars in the already scared landscape for us. We don’t have that. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself.

Now I’m left haunted by regrets that I don’t even know should exist. What went wrong? Maybe I did something wrong, maybe she did. Maybe it was her parents, maybe it was mine. Maybe it was our friends, maybe it was our enemies. Maybe it was just life’s cruel, thieving devices.

Wow, I loved her. I still do, but in a reminiscing way. I love her like I love my first house. I know I’ll never get it back, and even if I did it would never be the same. But how I love all of the memories that I wish I would have loved more. I love her like I love our first prom together; the night our love truly unfurled for all- even ourselves- to see. I love that night, but it is in the past. But what I wouldn’t give to go back and live it again; to tell her how much I truly loved her in that morning’s fleeting hours, as fleeting as our young love. I love her like the many hours we spent together, each better than the last. Each minute sweeter than the one before. I love those minutes, even though they are gone and I will never get them back. That is how I love her: knowing I will never have her again.

I’ve tried to talk to her about it; trying desperately to rekindle the fire of our love, but to no avail. Now when I talk, she only interrupts. She used to never interrupt. She let me talk and talk and talk and talk. Maybe I talked too much and she stopped listening or caring, or maybe she learned how to ignore me. Or maybe she listened so much that she absorbed every ounce of every word of every thought I said- and how and why I said it-, and she found her own voice and how and why. She doesn’t need to listen to me anymore because now she can talk back.
I guess I was just always trying to fix her, and help her be strong and her own, because I thought foolishly that being her own meant being mine.
I loved her so much, and everyone knew it. And we were perfect, as imperfect as we were. I was always hopelessly enamored by her. Her dorky walk. Her loud laugh. Her whiny voice. Her feigned self-loathing. Her chubby cheeks. Her glistening golden hair. Her smooth skin. And her luscious lips. I was enthralled by her fear of being loved and admired because she was so lovable and admirable, and I wanted to be the one to love and admire her.
When we first fell in love, it happened much quicker for me. But she fell slowly, day by day, in the solemn halls of our school. In a place that had sucked the life out of her for fifteen years, I was something new and alive and captivating. And maybe she never loved me, but she just loved feeling alive again in a place that had become almost a morgue to her. But if she loved me, I am convinced that each laugh I gave her helped her fall more and more. She thought I was funny when no one else did. She laughed when no one else did. She made me feel alive and cared for and invincible when no one else did. We fell so hard for each other that we forgot to look down and see what would catch us. And the only thing we had to catch us was each other, but how could we catch each other if we were both falling?

My heart is breaking, missing us and all we were and could have been. I am hurting, knowing that I am now alone in a lonely world. The one who stole my heart, and everything, has left with it. I feel empty, shattered, helpless, and not enough. But this is where I summon the truths about myself that she taught me, and love myself, and support myself, and be enough for myself. But for now, I am broken. My pain is seeping from my soul, through my heart, into my veins, down my fingertips, into this pen and onto these pages, now defiled by the pain she has left me in. I am now getting to the point where, once, like my love for her, I have no words remaining that would justify the pain I have been left in.

But oh, my love, little by little, leisurely, agonizingly, and not quickly enough, I will fall out of love with you. And in just the same way, I will fall deeply in love with myself. And, maybe, one day, in just the same way, I will fall in love with someone else.
This story became my life when I needed one the most. And unless galaxies collide, the sun is extinguished, the stars fall out of the abyss, and our love returns, our story is over. By oh, my love, what a great story it was. And I have no words to thank you for giving me the chance, and courage to live, and write this perfectly imperfect story.

Yours truly- for a little while more,
Anonymous

subject line: neighbor

 

US

Dear neighbor,

Every time you walk by without saying hello, your eyes glazing over me sitting on the porch like it no longer exists, I want to ask why.

Why don’t we talk anymore? What about me wasn’t good enough?
Why didn’t you chose me when I was so willing to chose you?

I’ll never say these things, which is why I say them here. Letting them sit unspoken in my heart is like letting a dirty bandage sit unchanged for too long on an open wound.

Each silent passing comes with a deep ache of what will never be and it hurts. Here I am, yet again, the girl who was almost enough, but not quite. The one you almost chose, but decided against. I’m an adult but somehow your passive decision to stop pursuing me has made me feel like a child.
Was I not smart enough? Bold enough? Did I not have an elaborate enough plan for my future? What about me wasn’t enough for you?

Sigh. Tonight is the night I break this cycle. Screw it. I wasn’t enough for you.
Here I am in all my glory:
I will never be the perfect girl next door. I have trouble growing roots because I am afraid of the pain of being unearthed. I am flighty but I’m learning the art of staying. I am compassionate and though I seem quiet, will fight fiercely for my people. If you’re breathing and have been beaten down by the world, you’re my people. I have endured trials and suffering and have walked through many deserts. My mind has waged war against itself and by grace I made it out alive with great hope. No, I don’t know much about sports, other than I should always hate the Yankees. I will learn anything for the sake of learning. I read obsessively and run as much as I breathe. One day I hope to open an orphanage in Romania and paint the walls the color of the radiant sun.

These are the things you will never know about me. Why you stopped choosing me, I may never know. It hurts right now. But I’m going to stop believing the lie that because you saw no good in me, there must not be any. I have come so far from where I once was, and I have a long way to go before completion. I am afraid no one will ever see me and chose to stay. This too is a lie I need to overcome. I have a feeling it will take time, much like it will take a lot more silent walk by’s before they no longer hurt. But the time will come. Just hang on.

subject line: to be honest, i have no idea what i want

 

a very messy place

We’re moving and I’ve found that I’m the sentimental one in my family. I want to save so many things - a Kindergarten graduation gown that several of us have worn, a box of costumes that I spent my entire childhood in, an old metronome my brother used to use. Every thing I save, I partner with the phrase, “well, my children will use these one day.” I don’t think I’ve ever thought about kids more before. I want four. My mom had four and so did my sister. It feels like the perfect number. And I want to have kids before my parents are gone. That feels morbid to say, but I’m terrified that they won’t be here to show my kids what a fantastic grandparent looks like, because I only know because of them.
I realize I’ve put the cart before the horse. I’m single. I still have a year and a half of school before I graduate and then there’s so much to do and explore. Sometimes I feel this urgency to figure it out, because I don’t want to push getting married back too far. I need my parents there. And I understand that in many ways, these fears are ungrounded. My parents are in their 60s. They’re healthy people. They’ll be just fine. But anxiety isn’t always rational, is it? And I find myself staring at the yellow Bumble logo, wondering if I open it today or not. I told myself I was going to delete it weeks ago because there is no way on earth that I’m dating someone from around here. I’m sorry, but if you are a baseball player at the community college or a hardcore fisherman, we’re just not going to work. It sounds shallow but I’ve been on these campuses and that’s not what I want. I want someone who is creative and whose hands are always making something, someone that really gets me. Someone who fills rather than drains me. I already made the mistake of being with someone who was the polar opposite of me. I’m pickier because of them. And a part of me just wants it figured out. To meet a wonderful man who sweeps me off my feet and hit the ground running. The other part of me has too many dreams and ideas and plans to make time to pursue any sort of relationship. So, you see, I’m a mess of contradictions and on nights like tonight, it’s kind of humorous.

subject line: you are not alone

 

Singapore

Four weeks ago, my pen pal wrote me a letter. They wrote about museum trips, a new friend, their favourite movie that they would love for me to watch, and I thought that was it. Another letter, happy as ever from a person who always seemed to be sunshine-level happy. I almost missed the loose-leaf in the envelope, it was so thin and see-through under a desk light. They asked me about self-harm and what they could do to deal with it.

I’d never known that this would be a topic we would talk about. I thought they were always going to be happy with who they were and what they wanted in life, but suddenly there was evidence to say otherwise. I should have known, you know? I’ve been writing letters non-stop for over a year and only now do I realize how little of their heart I’ve actually seen. They were the first pen pal to write back to me. They made me believe in the friendship of strangers when I’d only ever been a skeptic. I wonder if they know this.
More than anything, I’m proud that they managed to send a letter that heavy, because it’s not easy to put the deepest parts of yourself in an envelope and mail it over two continents into the hands of someone who’s never seen you or even really known you. But here we are. To my dear friend: In case I didn’t say it clearly enough, in case you still doubt it, I do care. I care a lot; enough to say it to as many people willing to read this and so you know this must be true. You still have so many movies to watch and to tell me about, a thousand more museums to go through with a million other friends, a book to write after you’ve walked the whole globe. And so it goes that I would wish that you never be unhappy, and that you fulfil all the dreams you have and then some, that you’ll talk about your worries with me as many times as you need. I hope you believe me when I say I would drop anything to write back, to call back, to write you another 100 pages of letters until you are certain that you are not alone anymore. I wish you all the happiness in the world.

To my friend and oldest pen pal: If my letter has yet to reach you, please know that I hope you’re okay.

subject line: here's to the fools who dream

 

Illinois

There’s often a fine line between what feels real and what IS real. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. For a month I’ve tried to convince myself that we weren’t real; that what we had wasn’t real. That the week we spent together was a hazy, blissful fog of beauty and emotions. A magical dream.

We both swiped right, and I soon discovered that you were 2 hours away from me, for work, for the next week. We messaged non stop for 4 hours that first night on Bumble and the connection was so great, I knew I had to meet you, regardless of the fact that you were only around for a week.
We met the next day, and spent 7 hours talking on that first date. You’re highly creative, and you sparked my creativity in a way no one else has. We could’ve talked all night, but I had to be up early the next day.
It was chilly outside, but you kissed me until I was breathless in the parking lot before driving back the 2 hours to where you were staying.
That week, you spent 20 hours total in your car, driving to see me, 4 hours round trip. I spent 4 hours total in my car, driving to you.
For 7 short days, we were inseparable. And then your work trip ended. You left to go back across the country. And I felt empty inside. In one short week, you turned my world completely upside down, for the better.
You are the best cuddler I’ve ever met, and we could never get enough of talking to each other for hours. I haven’t laughed until I cried since that week with you. The laughter, the joy, the intimacy; it was all so unexpected yet therapeutic for me.
I’m still attempting to comprehend how I felt such a deep, meaningful connection with someone in such a short amount of time.
We both said that ours was the kind of tender love affair that movies are made of. The fact that it only lasted a week lends an even more surreal quality to it.
Yet, here we are, living across the county from each other. Talking daily and constantly comparing our new Bumble dates to each other. And feeling disappointed.
It all feels like some kind of twisted reality. That we are both doomed to tragically know our ideal match is out there, living at a distance, as we each try to date others in our respective hometowns.
We joke often about running away to Chile together and enjoying a carefree life there.

You travel for work, and we’ve both said that the dynamics of a long distance relationship don’t appeal to either of us at the moment.
Yet our existence together was effortless. I felt like I had known you my entire life, and I couldn’t get enough of you in every single, possible way.

Neither of us can seem to replicate what we shared that week. Truthfully, I’m not sure I will be able to replicate it with anyone else. I’d never experienced it before that week with you. You said that you haven’t either. That’s part of why it doesn’t seem real.

Together, we watched the movie “La La Land” while you were here. We still talk about that movie, and how Emma Stone’s character ends up with a boring, steady, regular guy at the end of the movie, and not with Ryan Gosling’s passionate, creative, artistic character.
We wonder out loud if we will each end up with boring, everyday partners, and not someone who deeply, passionately connects with us on every level the way we connected with each other.
Today we talked about letting each other fade away into a distant memory, to make it easier for us both to date others. I’m trying to date, so that does make sense. But I’ve been so incredibly sad thinking about letting go. Part of me feels that by letting go, I’m giving up my chance for real, deeply moving, all consuming love.

Thank you for renewing my faith in the existence of a magical type of love. I will move forward, but I know that you are everything I want in a partner, and I’m scared that I won’t find or feel that for anyone else again. My heart aches to experience even a fraction of the happiness we shared that week.

So, if you find this email, please know that part of my heart is still completely enchanted by you. And, in my entire 35 years, no one else compares to the magic you made me feel in our short week together.

subject line: you can have the remote forever, I promise

 

Cambridge, England

Harry,

I’m sat 15 paces from your room and wiping my tears from the keyboard as I write. I haven’t seen you in weeks and wish you knew how much I ache for you to get better, to have my little brother back. No one tells you what to do when your brother is enduring suffering you cannot imagine and there’s absolutely nothing you can do.

I hope and pray that some day soon this will be over,
Missing you always,

Your older sister.

subject line: done my time

 

Napier, New Zealand

Being an IYFTE veteran, I can say that most of the posts I send in here are about heartbreak and loneliness. I seem to have an impressive track record with paying attention to the wrong people. But now I have something better to write about. I am hopelessly in love with a boy whose eyes take my breath away. Whose lips feel like home, whose skin is smooth to touch and whose laughter that echoes across every empty corner. And I’m so happy.

To the people reading this, either drinking Snapple Apple in their car or crying on their kitchen floor, don’t give up. Don’t waste a moment. Tell them you love them. Go to university, scholarship or not. Things change. Don’t be afraid.

subject line: Uber pool with strangers

 

San Francisco

“No, don’t ever fucking let her go,” he blurts out.
He was in the passenger seat looking straight ahead, he had a friend in the back there ranting on about his own mess, contemplating whether or not it was time for him to walk away from her.
“Just, listen to me,” he cut him off, “you ever find someone who cares so much for you, you don’t ever let them go. I don’t care whatever circumstances are keeping the two of you from being together, it doesn’t matter, none of it will ever matter. Because once you realize that she is just about the best damn thing you will ever find, she’ll be gone. She’ll be gone, and you’ll be here wishing that you could go back and change it all,” he stopped, he finally admitted to his mistake, “don’t walk down a path you know shouldn’t, if you have better ones to follow.”
The one in backseat broke the dead silence, “you still think about her don’t you?”
“Not a day goes by that I don’t,” he admitted.