I got into Fairfield, Jake. Not just Fairfield, but UHart and Western New England and Colby-Sawyer and probably all the other ones I’ve applied to. I have yet to be rejected by any school I put out applications to, and that’s something I wish with everything in me that I could share with you. I want to tell you about all the scholarships I’ve received, that I’m the president of the Creative Writing Club, that I wrote my Hamlet soliloquy on my jeans so I would remember it, that I’m getting better at statistics. I want to laugh with you about how Muck spelled Quinnipiac with a q at the end, and read my recommendation letters aloud, and show you all the Santa letters I get on the train. I want to bring you with me to work and sneak cookies from first class and dance to Christmas music and kiss in the vestibule when no one is looking.
I want you to be around, to protect me like you used to do from unwanted attention. When Tucker moved to town and asked every girl in school to Homecoming, I had you. The casual mention of “oh yeah, my boyfriend” or “Jake– that’s my boyfriend–” kept him from ever adding me to that list of asks.
And now there’s even more. There’s Matt #1– my boss, for God’s sake– flirting constantly and declaring his love for me to just about anyone who will listen, and Matt #2, with his arid sense of humor and fake farm-boy accent (you’re from Morris, not fcking Kentucky). Both of them enjoy poking fun at me, finding the ticklish spots at the curve of my waist, and flirting with me. It’s uncomfortable but also not, because certain things remind me of you.
Some things about you I don’t want to experience again, not for a long time. I was a photographer for you, someone who showed off and dressed to impress. It gave me anxiety but it made you so happy. I promised myself the day I finally showed you that last part of me that if we ever broke up, you would be the only person to experience that. It was my first relationship, Jake. I pushed my own limits.
There are some things I still can’t do. I can’t bring myself to delete the screenshots and pictures I still have; to open the little bracelet box hidden in my soccer drawer; to stop talking about you. I can’t stop talking about you, not yet– you were a year of my life, as a friend and a crush and a boyfriend and the love of my life. You played many roles, all of them important. You taught me what love was. I’m not sure I’m ready to let that go. I want to be able to listen to Smile and not feel like I’m being weighed down by sadness and memories. It took me this long to turn my claddagh back around, and I hate the way it looks. Somehow it seemed so much prettier when it was facing inwards; when it was a reminder of my love for you. If you still hold my heart, should I still have it turned around? I gave you back your heart with that bag of hoodies, letters, and memories. The minute I read that text from you I knew it wasn’t mine to keep anymore. But you… you never gave me back my things, not that there were many of them. I miss my glittery mason jar, given to you not a month before you decided to end things. I miss my heartbeat within my chest. I wish you would give that back.
God, I miss you so much.