i’m ending my high school career the same way it started: with a letter to you. it’s funny how that worked out. like bookends. like the punchline of the joke everyone else thinks high school has been. like the parallel structure you taught me to look for in everything.
the thing about this letter, though, is that you won’t read it this time. and i don’t need to introduce myself to you, this time, either, because you know me now, more than i ever imagined you would when i wrote my first letter to you. you know who i am, where i live, what i do, what i love. and i know all of these things about you, too, even if you didn’t tell me all of them yourself. that’s one of my favorite things about us, i think - how much we know about each other, and yet how much we don’t know. there’s so much mystery and magic in this. and yet at the same time that’s one of the worst things about us - because now that i’m gone, i can’t stop thinking about you. i can’t stop turning what i do know and what i don’t know over and over in my head, playing the knowledge (or lack of it) on repeat.
i know so much about you. i’m constantly reminding myself of how much i know. you take up too much space in my head. but i like it that way, even though it hurts now. when i see you in a dream, hear you in a song, flip through my sketchbook and remember which of my drawings you liked the best when you finally read it, it hurts. but it’s a good hurt. an addictive one. the kind i can’t get enough of. even though it’s so toxic it’s holding me back instead of letting me move forward, i hunger for this pain.
high school is over now, and i’m not supposed to be worrying about you anymore. i shouldn’t be missing you like i do. i shouldn’t be searching for your face or your car or the scent of your perfume in every crowd i’m in like it was all i was born to do. i shouldn’t be checking facebook every day to see only what you’re up to and overanalyzing what would happen if i liked your latest post. i shouldn’t be thinking about how a week ago from this exact moment we were sitting across from one another, looking out the window and across the lake, spending our last moments together as a team in a place i used to dream about us visiting together. how a week ago today was the last time in a long time i will hear your voice or see you in person. but there are almost four years of me loving you wrapped up in the veins and arteries of this body, and i’m realizing it’s not that easy to just shake myself loose. i have grown up loving you. you live on in my art and poetry, in the pictures i have of us, in the pages of the change we made. memories of you haunt me just like they haunt me every summer. except this time i won’t see you again when autumn comes. and that destroys me.
(i’m sorry for loving you like this. if you knew how much i love you, you would never talk to me again, and that makes me bottomlessly sad. you never knew and i did a good job of hiding it. loving you has been scary because i’m not supposed to, but i put you on a pedestal anyways and put us in danger and messed myself up. i’ll get better, but not this summer. i’ll get better. i promise.)
in your goodbye card to me, you told me you’re not that far away. but the last time we talked - a week ago today - you told me that when we leave, the machine moves on. i am gone now - my curtain has closed and my last day with you was my final bow. but you will keep going without me until it’s your turn to say goodbye, and when i find my footing in my new world this fall i will keep going too. i’ll have to. it doesn’t seem real. but my time is up and i have done enough, and now it’s up to us to remember that story - and up to you to pass it on.
when you pulled up in my driveway a week ago today to drop me back home, in that waking dream of us, there were a million things i wanted to say to you. but your eyes were soft and i knew you had places to go, so i forced them back down into my chest. now the guilt and regret of my silence is eating me alive. my heart hurts.
here are the things i wish i had told you:
- thank you for /everything/. no, really. i mean it. thank you, from the bottom of my heart. thank you for handing me the microphone. thank you for waiting in the wings and sparkling in the crowd. thank you for letting me tangle myself in your feathers. thank you for teaching me how to fly. thank you for giving me so much of yourself. thank you for telling me that the best way to thank you for all of this is to carry on, even though when you said it all of these words fled from my throat.
- ever since the moment you asked me to help you fix your dress all those moons ago i have loved you endlessly and more than you will ever know, more than i can even comprehend at the end of it all. your perfume is the best thing i’ve ever breathed in. when i make you laugh the world tumbles into light. the little things about you have always entranced me. maybe they always will. loving you has taught me to find the beauty in everything, and the gift of that will stay with me always.
- working with you is the best thing to have ever happened to me. it’s been my greatest honor. you changed my life, and because of it you have helped me leave a legacy behind. you will always be a part of mine. it’s selfish of me, but i hope i’ll always be a part of yours, too. we have changed each other for the better. i hope that never goes away.
- i wish i’d known more about you. i wish i’d been brave enough to ask. i hope one day i’ll get a chance to, that our paths will cross once more someday. i hope i’ll see you again.
- i’ll miss you so much. i already do.
- i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you.
fondly, and with everything i have,