In my writing classes this week, we’re working with the genre of the rant. Perhaps that’s where this piece came from. It certainly was cathartic to write. I considered shaping it into an SPN fan fic and hiding behind Dean. But. Seemed scarier–truer–to just put it up as is.
This is a love(d) letter.
See, I want to make one thing clear: I am not in love with you anymore.
Hell, I don’t even know who you are, not really. I haven’t known you, seen you, really talked to you, in years.
I think it’s debatable as to whether I ever knew you at all. But, semantics.
You have kids and stability and regulation, I assume; all the stuff you said you wanted, then. A normal life designed to fulfill other people’s expectations. At least this was what I liked to think, back when I still cared: that you were just doing all of the heteronormative middle-class bullshit because you thought that’s what your parents wanted, what your brother wanted, what your better half wanted. Not you. I couldn’t bring myself to think that, deep down, you really wanted any of that shit. That if given the chance–no, that if you had any balls, any true sense of self-worth, you’d throw it all away and–what? Be non-heteronormative with me? Figure out who the fuck you were away from all of them because surely, who you really were would want to be with me? Maybe.
I liked to tell myself, then, that I felt sorry for you, locked into a future at 22. Already certain about what the years would hold–children, family, regular vacations, a stable job, good relations with the in-laws, happiness? I’m not like that, haven’t ever been; the future was a blur and to me, that was scary and great and interesting all at once.
I may have written a draft of that blur that included you. Or two or three. But I never let you read it. Or anybody else. And I burned those pages long ago.
Sounds dramatic, right? Definitive. Of course it’s not.
So when I think of you now, it’s in an abstract way. As a concept, an idea. Not as a person. Would I like to have someone like you were then, like I thought you were then, in my life? Certainly. Would I like to have you? No. See above.
But, god, I loved you so much. I think it took me so long to set aside because I didn’t tell you. I didn’t tell you because I had myself convinced–most of the time–that you didn’t love me, and damn if you didn’t do all that you could to prove me right. I was–convenient, I think. Available. Stupid and willing but not so knowledgeable that I could hurt you, ever, or that I could take the upper hand away from you, which oh I think you would have loved, or at least enjoyed, if you’d given yourself that chance. To be weak, for a moment.
And it’s not as though you didn’t put us both in situations where that weakness was right on the surface, singing on the edge of your fingers as you stroked my neck, no. It was there. But you were right–I was too dumb to know what it was, how to use it against you, for me, and you would come away every time with your strength validated, with your ability to push yourself to some goddamn fake limit you prescribed for yourself and come away unscathed, still loyal to the one you loved: yourself.
So now, when I think of you as anything more than an abstract idea, it tends to be in dreams where I can absolve myself of all responsibility. I can be happy with you there, or, because it’s me, flirt with that happiness but never fully embrace it. At some level, I always know that I’ll wake up, and that who you were to me will be gone again, and that’s okay, ultimately, but it hurts in the moments just after, when my eyes open and just for a second I can’t remember if you’re real or not.
I loved you so much, you stupid bastard. And I made the mistake of thinking that if you cared for me, you’d say so, and so I should just wait. Be patient and wait and listen to you talk about your better half, about your plans for your future, even as you held my wrist, or tucked your hand into my side, held me steady on your lap. Even when you pushed it, when you asked me if I had any objections to you getting married. As if there was any answer I could give that you would not hear as “I love you” or “Please don’t.” So of course I said nothing, not then, not ever, and we never talked about it again.
You wanted me at the wedding, you said, but I’m glad I didn’t go. The minister messed up your beloved’s name, made it sound like mine, I heard. You told me. I don’t think I could have stood that, even at my stoic best, and you would have enjoyed that too much.
If we met now, as we were then, it would be different. You wouldn’t stand a fucking chance. And so, I think, you would stay away. You’d know better than to push me, now.
So now little pieces of you get inscribed in my writing and I know it’s you, or who you were then, and no one knows it but me, no one sees you in the text except me, who put you there.
Soon I will see you, in some hotel bar or something in the city where you live, and you will either try to fall back into our banter, whatever might be left, or you will be a total stranger, banal and soft and desperate and either way, I will sit there and bite my lips until they bleed and not say I loved you because then you’d win. You’d get what you wanted, what you knew you already had whenever you smiled at me, or threw back your head and laughed, or leaned your shoulder into mine for no reason other than to touch.
I loved you and you knew it and you never said a word.
I loved you and I knew it and I never said a word.
I love the idea of you, now, still, and I don’t think that will ever go away. But I’ll make sure that you don’t see that in my face.