it just begins to live that day

A collection of unsent letters written 2014 – 2017.

Dear friend,

I have no illusions about the burdens we carry. Yours are as heavy as mine are as heavy as yours. Our shoulders ache and we soldier on. Still, I want you to share yours with me. Let me help you carry them. I promise, they will seem lighter for the sharing.

(That’s half the battle.)

*

Dear friend,

We both hate the ocean so much. It’s too cold to swim without a buddy, the water is too dark to see the bottom, the things that haunt its depths are primordial and unknowable. Man, fuck the ocean.

(It feels like you’re drifting away on the swells.)

*

Dear friend,

I’m so afraid.

*

Dear friend,

I’ve already said that I’m afraid, but for the sake of specificity, here is a list of the details:

  • dying with student loan debt
  • spiders
  • the dark
  • my mother refusing to speak to me again when we move away (she’s done it before)
  • the uncanny valley and those faceless things within it
  • not making rent (or groceries or electricity)
  • continuing to live in this quiet desperation, paralyzed by the fear of What If so that I cannot begin to think of walking away
  • losing you

*

Dear friend,

The quiet after an earthquake is its own, fragile thing. Easily broken by the one china cup left on the table that’s knocked off by some careless hip instead of an act of the gods— and once it’s broken it’s yet another loss but a much more personal one because you’re the reason that silence broke. How could you do that when it was the only thing left? How could you be so careless with that sheer, delicate thing?

*

Dear friend,

(Oh god how I wish that you loved me

But there is only room in your chest for fear and despair

I don’t know how you manage to breathe for all that trembling)

*

Dear friend,

Have you considered that, perhaps, your intermittent stomach ailments are a psychosomatic symptom of anxiety? That your anxiety is likely straight from the stunted roots of your emotional understanding, which is in turn the effect of a smothering, sick soil that told you not to introspect or think too loudly?

*

Dear friend,

Ask me again when you’re sober. Please, please, ask me when you’re sober. For the love of god, the sun, the sound of my name on your tongue, every kiss you or I have ever dreamt of, ask me when you’re sober. I want nothing more in this life than that.

*

Dear friend,

how is it that you keep running from me when i am doing my absolute best to stand perfectly still?

i have never encountered so skittish a heart.

*

Dear friend,

It’s become clear to me that I have a type: those fearful, brittle skeletons that have been lost in muddy ditches for their whole lives and want to use my ribcage to shelter them from the rain. It is they who easily forget that I am a woman and not a fortress; that I call myself a queen because I am more often treated like a peasant; that no matter how many kingdoms I lay claim to, I am made of flesh and blood and a soft, pounding heart.

*

Dear friend,

I want to shake you until your teeth fall out for being so placid in response to a leaving that has shaken the foundations of what I imagined my future to look like. How dare you continue with life as usual when I haven’t been sleeping, haven’t been eating, haven’t been able to breathe for how much I love you and her and you and us three and you and you and you. It was always you. I want to shake you until your teeth fall out because I am selfish and I want you to be happy with me.

*

Dear friend,

i miss the sound of your laughter and the warmth of your side pressing against mine in the movie theater dim dark and i am ashamed of this longing in my heart

that’s all i wanted to say

*

Dear friend,

For so many years you wanted to crawl into my ribcage right alongside my lungs and have me breathe your very existence into mine. A sentiment that never escaped your teeth but was plain in the downstroke of your every gesture, the subtext of every word, the undertone of each conversation.

Not two months ago there was a night where the breath in my body nearly stopped, where I stood hand in hand with death herself and, I suppose, chose to linger here awhile longer. You knew. Yet your silence goes on. Did it even give you pause?

*

Dear friend,

i am so easy shaken by my lovers. they leave me trembling in their wake, on rolling waves, tasting nothing but salt as they sail on i find my way back to shore–

and now you are one of them, too.

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