“Dear—” Fiction. Based on a True Contemplative Conversation.

“Time flows forward. I spent too long looking back; I’m young but heartbreak has no age.”

by Artemis

“Dear—”

Fiction. Based on a True Contemplative Conversation.

By Jin

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Dear —,

I should have responded right away. Now that I’ve wheedled a few days out of it, the whole experience is uncomfortable. I even started composing a response just now, and then I backspaced it all away. I thought, I can’t do this. I can’t possibly respond saying all that I want to say.

Say only what you need to say. There’s so much left to say, but now is not the opportunity.

Will there ever be an opportunity?

Of course there will.

Will he ever read all that you’ve written about him?

No, of course not.

Can you accept a gift without giving in return?

When I opened the email that morning while I was still lying in bed, I first felt a sense of shock, maybe even of fear and anticipation. And then nostalgia. And then? Warmth.

It was as if I had taken a sip of warm mulled wine, the most delicious in the world—or perhaps, simply the first I had tasted in a while—and I wanted to savor it into oblivion. Until it mixed with my saliva and stained my teeth purple.

I swished it around in my mouth and I swallowed and out came the tears.

Why was it bitter?

I spent an hour revising the writing that I wanted to send to you but then decided it would be inappropriate. Are you wondering, waiting for your response? What prompted you to send that email anyway? Would a simple “thank you” suffice?

I’m afraid the longer I wait, the less likely I am to respond. I’m freezing up. I must compose something.

Dear —,

Thank you. You can’t know what it means to me. What it means to finally hear from you and to hear your music again and to read your words. You can’t know how it felt to finally realize that you still care for me, to have my friends tell me that there is still love between the lines. You can’t know how it sickened my heart or the hope it gave me. You make me want to write reams more of text or to edit all I have already written, print it out in typewriter font, tie it up with a red ribbon, and send it to you in a manila envelope. It would arrive on your doorstep heavy, nameless. You would step outside and think, taxes? Music score?

Dear —,

What gives you the right to play with my feelings? I was getting over you, and now I’m not. I guess it goes to show I must be careful with how I respond or if I respond. All I can think about is the anger and love I still have for you. The two are indistinguishable.

Let’s be honest. It’s all just love. Love and shame. Shame for myself.

And after all this thoughtless, mindless rambling? Is there anything I can pull from this that I might actually say? Do you see why I am word(th)less?

I hate you.

Or rather, I hate that I love you, because it causes me pain. Let’s be logical now. Part of me hates you, part of me loves you, part of me loves to hate you, part of me is sad and confused and nostalgic, and the thought of distilling all of this feeling into a few sentences is just—

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