Good evening Alex, I came across your Instagram account about three years ago. Your posts and poetry are really heartwarming, especially when the …November 2, 2020
Good evening Anon,
I just wanted to start off by saying, thank you for reaching out and saying those kind words. I’m glad that my writing and my poetry have helped you in ways that (sometimes) I don’t comprehend, but I guess it’s because I don’t give myself enough credit. Honestly, there’s days when I hate it and don’t understand how other people can relate to the things I write about, but I think that’s in every artists’ mind– to hate their own art.
So, thank you so much for that kind, validating reminder.
It tears my heart apart to read what you’ve written to me. It’s such a tragedy, to go what you’ve been through. And I just wanted to say and to remind you that everything that you’re feeling: the hurting, the crying, not eating, not drinking, and feeling like you could do something you’ll regret– that is normal and natural when you are grieving.
And I just want to make sure that you know, anything you’re doing and everything you’re feeling is natural and it is valid. Take all the time you need to get over this person, but you must remember to also take care of yourself.
In case you don’t know my whole story, I’ll paraphrase it for you because we seem to have gone through a similar situation, but I believe we’ve felt the same thing.
I fell in love with this boy whom I’ve known since High School, but I didn’t really know I loved him at the time. We had a class together, but that was only Freshman year. We didn’t really talk, at all, actually, after that, but we kept up every once in a while when we’d see each other during lunch or run into each other in the hallways. Looking back, I realize now that I always found him attractive, but I was only 15 and I wasn’t sure if it was attraction or curiosity. I was still figuring myself out back then.
Fast forward eight years later, we rekindled after he and his girlfriend broke up. I was there for him for literally the worst time of his life. He was in a really bad place. He started doing drugs and drinking alcohol excessively (the latter which he never really did, to my understanding), sometimes both. I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the boy that was always smiling in High School.
When I heard that him and his girlfriend of about 5 years broke up, I travelled to Austin just to go see him. At the time, I was still with my boyfriend, so he went with me too. Honestly, I reluctantly took him, but I know myself and I, too, would have done something I would’ve regretted.
If I’m being honest though, my boyfriend at the time knew how I felt about him and didn’t mind it. We were together for over 6 years, and it just got to that point where we both knew we weren’t happy with each other anymore and if me being with this other guy for a weekend made me happy, it made him happy for me.
I can’t describe how nice and validating it felt to be there for him when he needed me the most. I remember being in the hotel room with him while my boyfriend was in the restroom and holding his hand and asking him if he’s okay.
“I’m okay right now,” he said. Do you understand how important that made me feel? Even if it was just a weekend, it was enough for me and obviously enough for him that we were sitting side-by-side of one another. How our presence alone lifted the weight of our collapsing world off our shoulders.
I did my best to keep him distracted. I took him to the arcade. That was nice. He taught me how to play Typing of the Dead. It was actually pretty funny– I’m a writer, constantly typing away on my computer, but oddly enough, he was beating me at the game and keeping me alive. How ironic.
He spent the night with me and my boyfriend in the hotel. We mostly talked. He said she cheated. I told him he didn’t deserve that. He knew that, but I guess he was still hung up on her for some reason. I mean, I get it, she’s his first love, but is it really that worth it? Was he really that blinded?
I guess he was, because I was right there…
The next morning, I remember him waking up to phone calls and text messages from his cousins he was living with because they freaked out that he didn’t get home the night before. So, I took him home (alone), but not before I bought him Chick-Fil-A.
“You don’t have to get me anything. I don’t have any money,” he said, but I insisted. I expected nothing in return and I knew if I didn’t buy him anything to eat, he wouldn’t have eaten anyway.
I dropped him off after saying goodbye more times than my one hand can count. If there’s anything we both had in common, it’s that we dreaded goodbyes. I could tell he didn’t want to leave my side and I sensed that he had a good time and that I made him happy, really happy.
I felt like I had a purpose when I was around him– that purpose being to mend not just his heart, but his soul too. I saw it in his eyes. He wasn’t just broken beyond repair, he was shattered; lost in a void. All I ever wanted was to be there for him to make sure that he’s okay because he deserves so much happiness, but what came next made me realize: you can’t save anybody.
The following month, after that weekend with him, we kept in touch every other day and for once, he was messaging me first. The “Good morning” or “Good night” texts were always the best, because I knew I was either the very first thing he thought of when he woke up or the very last thing he thought of before going to sleep.
The month after that, I finally broke it off with my boyfriend. After 6 and a half long years of being together, we finally admitted to ourselves that we just weren’t happy anymore. We were just using each other and kept things going because we were comfortable and complacent. We thought we deserved each other, but how did we know that if we never tried finding love with someone else? Or even within ourselves?
I then took the opportunity to have more alone time with this other boy who was still broken, distraught, and grieving the loss of his girlfriend. Even though it had already been four months by this time, I didn’t judge him nor did I ever make him feel uncomfortable. Grieving takes time. He needed space. But I also knew he needed a shoulder to cry on every once in a while. So, I let it be. Whenever he needed me, I was there for him.
For the following months, we started to do a lot more things together. I got him into a lot of TV shows. He got me hooked on some anime. We ate a lot of junk food together. My favorite time was when we both made s’mores for the first time and he got his lips, cheek, and fingers all messy with the chocolate and the marshmallows. It was really cute and funny.
I learned a lot about him, but I also felt like I didn’t know enough. I learned more about his family and how they’re very religious and not very accepting of gay people. His mom thinks it’s a sin and I can’t recall what his father thinks of it all.
He told me one time that his little nephew was outside in the backyard with his dad while he was working out to some old school Metallica. His mom went outside to grab the baby because she didn’t want him listening to “Devil’s music.” I can’t imagine how she feels about gay men.
I also learned how he’s not accepting of himself. It still hurts me today to think about this certain conversation. I remember it like it was just yesterday.
It was passed midnight. We were lying on my bed, having a deep conversation like we always did, when suddenly, a certain question that had been lingering in my head for weeks came to me like a boomerang.
I got up from laying next to him and sat on his lap. Looking in his eyes and tapping on his chest, I said, “Can I ask you something?”
“Of course,” he said.
“Does anybody know that you like guys?”
He paused. His heart started beating faster.
“No.” He paused again, then continued, “Well, she does, but we don’t talk about it.”
“Why don’t you guys talk about it?”
“Because.” I could tell he was trying to find the words to say, but didn’t know how to say it. “Because. I’m not. ‘That.’“
That. I thought. He’s so ashamed to say it out loud.
I tried to get it out of him why he couldn’t say the word: Gay. From what he began to tell me, he had quite the reputation in middle school. Apparently, a lot of people made fun of him for making out with some guy and I guess that stuck to him through high school and even after that. He has brothers and sisters too, so I can only assume that they heard the rumors as well and he just didn’t want the news to get to his parents. But by Junior year, he got with his girlfriend and had been with her ever since, making those rumors void.
We started talking about her that night too. “What if she comes back to you?” I asked.
“She won’t,” he lied, but was he lying to me or to himself?
“But what if she does?” I repeated.
“I won’t get back with her. I hate her.”
I should’ve known he was deflecting. I should’ve known that he was lying to me, to himself, to his heart. I just should’ve known…
It wasn’t until a few months later that my worst fear came to fruition. She indeed, came running back to him. They tried to fix things for a good month and I already felt him slipping away. He stopped texting me first. He stopped texting me “Good morning” and “Good night.” He stopped wondering what I was doing and the worst part was that we didn’t get to finish the season finale of The Flash. It sounds pathetic, I know, but that’s something that was our thing, and I couldn’t help but envision him watching those finales with her instead.
Christmas came around and I had bought him some clothes from my favorite store. I kept telling him that he had a gift waiting for him at my house, but he never had time to get it.
New Year’s came around too, still nothing.
Two weeks later, he finally stopped by, but in the back of my head, I feel like he only showed up because he felt bad that I bought him something. To be honest, I don’t think he would’ve showed up if I didn’t have anything for him. I feel like he did it out of pity.
That night was the worst night of my life. Had I known then what I know now, I would’ve said goodbye to him instead of confessing my feelings for him. I remember telling him, “I don’t care if you’re with someone. I don’t care if I’m with someone. I don’t care if it’s a year from now or even ten. I will always be here for you. And I will always love you. I don’t want you to ever think otherwise.”
He cried. I left him speechless for a moment, to which he finally found the words to say, “I just don’t know how to feel. I don’t know what I want. At first, I just wanted to be friends. And we did that. But then things happened and I liked that too. I just don’t know how to be more than friends. I don’t know how to be your boyfriend.” Then, I cried.
I told him that it was okay and that I just wanted him to be happy, but I knew I was lying when I said that because I just wanted him to be happy with me.
“I’ll see you later” were the last words he ever said to me. That was on January 15, 2017 and I hate that I remember the date. It makes me feel stupid or that I haven’t been able to move on from him. And maybe that’s true. The only difference between the me now and the me then, is that I’ve grown to accept that I will always love him.
He is the boy that got away. He is the boy with green eyes. He is the one that broke my heart into a million pieces and I thought I could never put those puzzle pieces together, but I did and I am. It just takes time. How much time is up to you.
You need to go back to doing the things you loved doing most. Get back into running. Force yourself to get out there. Do things you’ve never done before. Find new passions. Fall in love with something you thought you’d never fall in love with before. Love takes many shapes and forms. Don’t think that you can’t fall in love with a thing instead of a person.
Read books. Write a book. Learn a language. Start a journal. Listen to more music that’s out of your genre. Get out of your comfort zone. Eat at a restaurant alone. Go have a picnic alone. Travel down the highway with nowhere to go with the music blasting and put the windows down and watch the stars. Look up at the moon more often. Smell the roses. Join a club. Start doing CrossFit. Run half marathons. Hell, maybe even a marathon. Appreciate the small things and don’t let opportunities pass your way when they are presented to you. Say “yes” more often.
Slowly but surely, you will heal, but you can’t expect to heal if you’re not trying. You can’t expect to be baby-fed. Set goals without a time limit because a time limit will discourage you. I promise you, you will be okay. When? I don’t know. Everybody has their own grieving process, but I promise things will get better.
Just, please, please do me a favor? Make sure you drink some water after reading this letter? And I hope you’ve eaten enough today.