(Read part 1 of Letters to the woman I loved)
29 December 2016
How are you? I think about you often, but not as often as before. This is a good thing for both of us, I’m sure you’ll agree. You look so beautiful in the photos you share. They make me smile, make me want to text you, make me want to hear your voice laughing at how bad you think my humour is.
But I don’t text because I realise now—really realise now—that you don’t want me to. It’s easier to say “okay, of course I want to be friends” than to say “please never call me again”. Your life is full to overflowing and has been for years; standing at your door and begging to be let in with my cutest face on won’t change that. Thank you for being as kind as you were in saying no. Thank you for saying no anyway, for reminding me what it means to take care of oneself and put oneself first; always, no matter what.
I’m young and have never before been in love with a woman. That’s my excuse for keeping up my pursuit as long and as insistently as I did. I wanted so much from you, even though I said all I wanted was to be ‘friends’, as if being ‘friends’ doesn’t place demands on you or require emotional labour. I said I wanted to be friends and secretly hoped for intimacy and shared secrets and a place in your heart, a chance to hold the key to something warm inside you, to be on your mind as you walked the streets of the city you call home, to be there in passing glimpses of strangers’ faces, to inspire quick little messages like “oh you would love this” or “you won’t believe what just happened!”
I miss you, Querida, which is absurd because I never had you. I miss all the dreams my heart told me I was allowed to have about you, all the insistent longings that still clog my chest and steep my smile in what I hope is a dignified sadness. But I’ve let you go, I think. Instead of desire I have wistfulness, instead of urgency I have an acceptance that grows less reluctant with each day that passes. I still want to text you, but I want it less than I want to be a burden in your life, certainly less than I want to cause discomfort when you look at your phone.
More than anything I hope my silence is a relief, even if it is the type of relief you don’t recognise until it is taken away. That is what keeps me able to resist the urge to take it away. I want you happy, at ease, able to enjoy the world without feeling weighed down by the dreams this now-25 year old has no real right to have about you. I’m glad we met, grateful you shared your self with me, grateful to have the memory of your feet mapping happiness across the dance floor. I know I love you, Querida; I will for a while. But it feels like I finally learned how to love you the way you need me to; quietly, and by myself.
te quiero mucho, te quiero mucho…