I. Dear You, Do you know what I loved about you? I loved how you made me feel like I was loved for me. Like I was seen and cherished. I loved how you reflected my best self back in your beautiful eyes. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really loved me. (Though the truth is that I loved you, too.)
II. Dear You, I wonder sometimes what it was like for you to hear the phone ringing so many times and to hear the excuses made on your behalf. I wonder if you began to be afraid to check the mail because of the guilt of one more letter you were never going to answer. I wonder if it made you tired or sad or even a little ashamed. I know what I was feeling, but I wonder- after all these years- about what it was like for you. I’d ask, but we don’t do that- have conversations. I guess because I’m afraid that if I mail the letter, you won’t answer again. Or if I send the message, you won’t respond. So I don’t. Is that better, do you think? I try to do the right thing. Sometimes I don’t know what the right thing is. Anyway, I signed my letters Love Always. And I do.
III. Dear You, Someone out there is going to think this letter is about someone else, but you and I will know that it’s about you. I didn’t love you because I wanted to love you. I loved you because I didn’t have a choice. I’d have kept it my secret, tucked away inside until I felt it was safe to let out, but you just walked away. You didn’t have to love me. You didn’t owe me anything. But there’s a such thing as right and wrong, and when you made your choice, I will always think you made the wrong one. Not because you didn’t choose me. But because you didn’t have the courage to say it.
IV. Dear You, The things I miss are less than the things I don’t, which I don’t say to be cruel. I say it because it’s true. You were starting to become someone who might have made me hate me, and I can’t afford that. I can’t afford many things now, and even window shopping has grown too expensive for the likes of me. I hear you’re fine. I hear you saying you’re fine. I hear you saying other things, too, things that you said then that you aren’t saying now. I hear them all the time. I miss hearing them from your lips, how they touched so lightly on my ears but meant so much to my heart. You’ll say them to someone else now, and you’ll be surprised to know that I’m not jealous. Never was. You aren’t mine, and neither are your words. But sometimes I miss little things, but I can’t tell you because it doesn’t matter now to anyone but me.
V. Dear You, I can dig deep into my past to excavate pain. I do it because that’s how we heal. In your mind, this happened so long ago that it doesn’t matter. But it always matters. I want you to know that I believed in your best self. Even though I have no evidence for this belief, I do have faith. I’ve seen your best self in glimpses, and if you try, you can bring that person into being. I’ll likely never know. That doesn’t mean I ever stopped hoping that you do. Be well. Be better than you’ve been because you are capable of so much more.