Another continuation. Trigger warning for relationship violence and self harm.
We didn’t get to see each other a whole lot oat first, so we wrote notes and letters and poems. We talked on the phone too sometimes, but that was more to hear the other person’s voice than for having anything substantial to say. Mostly we wrote. It was almost like having a pen pal than a boyfriend.
Boyfriend. That word was new to me, at least as a legitimate label for anyone in my life. I’d had crushes before — boys and girls — and even boys I liked who liked me back. (I don’t know about girls liking me back: I grew up in a place where it wasn’t okay to have the feelings I did, so I didn’t talk about them.) But it was one thing to say, “I have these feelings, but I’m scared and socially awkward and don’t really know how to proceed,” and quite another to say, “All of the above is true, but fuck it, I’m going in anyway.”
In retrospect, it was not my most brilliant life move.
But I think it was because we wrote that we got so close — or thought we got so close — so quickly. In my letters, there was time to form the thoughts and words that always slip by me in spoken dialogue, when the conversation moves on and I have to move on with it. That said, there was also the finality of sending a letter in the mail, sending those words out into the world, not being able to take back what’s written on the page. I couldn’t laugh something off, turn a serious statement into a joke, or pretend I didn’t mean it.
So what are we now, you and me?
Classmates and acquaintances? I will be disappointed if that is all there is to us.
I won’t be disappointed if the answer is “friends,” but I think that is not quite right either. Not complete.
Are we different, or am I imagining?
It was hard to put up false fronts, sheen the veneer of sarcasm, duck behind a mask. It’s harder to commit to an untruth on paper, maybe especially for people who consider themselves writers, at least for both of us.
So we didn’t play games.
You are not imagining.