Apologies for the ensuing word vomit. I felt like sharing something a little more personal today.
Dear almost lover,
Dear maybe-in-an-alternate-reality, maybe-in-a-dream, maybe-if-we’d-been-born-on-the-same-continent, maybe-if-you-liked-girls, how-can-I-know-unless-I-touch-you lover. It’s been a wild ride. I hope you don’t mind me writing to you where anybody else can see it. You see, I’m not ashamed of loving you now, and it doesn’t embarrass me anymore that you can’t love me back.
Almost lover, I remember the first time I sent you a picture of me. You complimented me on my smile. Nobody ever told me they liked my smile before. And do you remember the first time we saw each other on Skype? We tried to imitate each others’ accents, swapped American idioms for British ones. I stayed up until 4 am talking to you. I spoke so long I lost my voice. I remember once, another night, when I couldn’t sleep because I was crying so much, you were there. We messaged back and forth and watched the same show at the same time and talked about nothing until I no longer wanted to rip myself to shreds. You saved my life.
I loved you, and it wasn’t just out of gratitude. I loved you because of everything. Your smile and your voice and your stupid jokes and the way you were always there, on the other side of a screen or at the other end of the phone. And do you know how beautiful you are? The first time I saw your face I remember thinking you were simply pretty. I don’t think you changed, I think it was the way I looked at you, but you soon became the most beautiful person I’d ever seen. I would have given anything to drain the ocean between us so that I could come to you. I would have walked for days. Just to hold you.
When I told you I was queer, it was off-hand. Casual. When I told you I was in love with you, I was drunk. Sorry about that. It wasn’t the right way to do things. But you said it back, and I was so happy, my almost lover until I realized what you meant. Of course, you loved me back. I was your best friend. But how could you love someone in that way who you’d never met, or touched, or seen face to face? How could you even begin to wonder whether you could feel that way for other girls if I was not there, for you to kiss and find out? I understand. I really do. I guess for some people love has to be physical, immediate. For me, not so much. My love for you was transcendental.
You hurt me. I hurt you. I’m sorry for that, every single day. Your rejection, the way you immediately fell into the arms of another, cut me deeply. I lashed out. I didn’t mean to treat you with such bitterness. Believe me, I regret it. We’re so far apart these days and I don’t think it was the unrequited love or the incompatible orientations or even the endless ocean that did it. I think it was me. I think it was both of us. The reprehensible way that I treated you, and my impossible expectations. And you, the way you continued to treat me like a lover, as though nothing had changed. Don’t you know that every throw-away ‘I love you’ cut me to the quick?
Don’t mistake me. I’m still grateful for you. I’ll always remember the way you saved my life, and all the moments of joy you gave me, and all the hope, too. You loved me unconditionally, even if it wasn’t in the romantic way I wanted, and that gives me hope that someone else will be able to love me too. One day.
Maybe we’ll be able to bridge the distance between us again someday, but if not, at least we’ll have the past three years. And if we don’t make it, I hope you have a wonderful life and that you’re endlessly, deliriously happy through all of it. You deserve the most amazing things.
Your almost lover.