A Letter for My First Love

I’m giving you a gift. Now, I don’t know if you will ever know I am giving you this gift. But that’s not the point of a gift. The point of a gift is that it is given, it’s not so important you know who gave it.

My gift to you is this, I will pretend this week didn’t happen. For you, I will pretend this week didn’t happen, and that you did not pop up randomly and make contact with me after 2.5 years since our last conversation, and almost 4 years since this mess began.

See, I had just recently reached a point in my life that I was ready to forgive you. I kid you not, I had a talk just the other day about how I now could look back on our story with sympathy for my former self, but also with a fondness. I was so scared. I was so terribly scared of getting hurt, scared of hurting you, of the entire business of a relationship in general. And I had just reached that point where I no longer resented you for breaking my heart over and over, and instead I could appreciate the number of beautiful memories we shared. You were my first for everything, for all of it. You held my hand during a movie. You kissed me in a bookstore. You surprised me with donuts and roses and kisses and hugs. You were there to make me blush, to make me smile, to make my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. You made me feel like I was alive and sexy. And I can appreciate those things now. Well, I could. And then you popped up randomly this week.

I can’t do this again. I can’t heal these wounds over again.

You were the voice of my insecurities when I ate too much of a good thing. You were the voice that questioned my own morals – what do i know? I’m only 18 and I’ve been living under a rock, maybe he’s right. You ruined the taste of cherry coke and the smell of sandalwood. Your ghost gives me chills when I walk to the farthest bus stop. Your favorite author taunts me as I learn my new job. You were my safety net until you weren’t because some prettier, sexier, young thing just walked past, and suddenly I’m left alone untouched wondering what wrong I possibly could have committed for you to go so soon. The first time I ran towards a bottle, it was because you had strung me along again, only to disappear the moment I fell for it. I’m not proud of that. I am not proud of those choices I made. I am not proud of losing myself so quickly to be what I thought you wanted. I am not proud of the fool that I played just to try to convince you to stay. I can’t heal this, again. It took too much work. Too much time. 

Three times we have played this game of cat and mouse, and I refuse to be caught again. To let myself be your fool. To be caught in your web. I tried to be mature. I was hopeful for a friendly chat and a chance to find closure, but you insisted on being who you have always been. You refused to try even the slightest, to find the smallest ounce of compassion. I refuse to keep writing these letters that you’ll never read. I am done with you.

So, my gift to you is to pretend that you weren’t there, in my bookstore, just like I dreaded the image of it so many times. I will pretend that I didn’t have a panic attack the moment you recognized me and spoke my name aloud. I will pretend that a part of me didn’t long to fall into you again. To take up the drug that was so hard to put down. That bad habit I couldn’t kick. I will pretend like I didn’t try to dress a little nicer to please you, a reflection of the version of me from when I was yours and not my own. I will pretend like I haven’t been looking over my shoulder everywhere I go, both terrified and aching to catch a glimpse once more. My gift to you is to pretend like this was a figment of my hyperactive imagination, and I will go back to thinking of you as the overly hairy pretentious idiot who broke my heart when I was 18 19 20, but at least he didn’t push me past my limits and brought me snacks. At least it felt like he loved me while I was in the midst of it all. Besides, the past is the past.

That is my last gift of forgiveness for you. This is it. 


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