“He was a guy that I absolutely adored, like to the core… He could do no wrong…”

-Che Best

“Small”

Fiction. Based on a True Letter I Can’t Send.

By Starry Teller

All journal entries are 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.

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to fall more in love with a person who seems to find my existence unnecessary. It’s not that you don’t care about me, it’s just that you rarely show it at all. I pour out my heart over and over, declaring my feelings for you. I go out of my way to see you and surprise you. In return, you hardly talk to me or when you do, it’s unfeeling. Lately, I’ve been falling asleep with a tear-stained face and gnarly headaches, hoping I’ll cry a little less tomorrow.

With everything I do, I try to show my absolute love and admiration, building you up as much as I can. I’m genuinely proud of you for your work ethic, and your diligence to support yourself. I know you have no safety net, and everything you need to live must come from your own pocket. I understand this. In fact, it troubles me deeply to see you working yourself so hard—at the expense of sleep and proper meals. But you’d never know how much I think of you when you’re working 16 hour shifts. You only tell me, “you don’t underhand what it’s like.” Of course I don’t. I wish I could. With everything in me, I wish I could work 8 or 10 of those long hours for you, so you could finally rest or enjoy a day off. But you critique me because my hands are less hardened than yours. I’m beginning to think my heart is as well.

When I know you’re having a long day or week, I’ll drive an hour and a half to see you on your 30 minute break. Sometimes you’ll be happy to see me. Once, you lit up and I thought, “wow you really do care.” Other times, you hardly talk to me. And I spend two hours driving home in traffic wondering why I even bothered to come.

You’re a really wonderful man. Despite the problems we have, I recognize that you are a hard worker and a deep, intelligent, and genuine person. You’re intelligent beyond your years and your capacity to understand others is wonderful. When you are loving towards me, the world is such a beautiful place to exist in. But it’s inconsistent and I never know if I’m going to wake up to a message from you, or if I’ll be closed off from you. Once or twice, you called me beautiful. You’ve called me pretty before, too. Most of the time though, I just am. Even when I ask how I look after dressing up for a special event, I’m met with some mono syllable response: “nice” or “good.” The thing is, I don’t  need to be complimented all the time. But if you’re not concerned with beauty, you should be concerned with my mind. However, while our relationship was founded on deep discourses, it’s now become a series of you telling me “you don’t get…” or “you just don’t understand…” And it makes me feel so stupid.

I don’t feel beautiful. And I don’t feel intelligent. So what am I to you? Because all I feel is small. I feel like a piece of paper with a typewriter mistake that gets crumpled up and tossed to the corner.

After a long day or week or month of no verbal affirmation or physical affection, I begin to doubt your care for me. It’s been such a long time since I felt genuine warmth and love. I try probing you by being sweet, but it only yields irritation. You hang up so easily and never feel obligated to call back to make sure I’m alright. You are fine falling asleep in the middle of a fight. I’m not sure how you are so easily able to untangle yourself from me. Sometimes, I wish I could be as free of you as you seem to be of me. When it gets to the point that I feel worthless, you usually notice and do something kind or say something nice. But it’s only when I’ve gotten to the point where I feel so small inside, that I can’t even hear the words you’re saying.

I say I’m a feminist and I believe in my own strength as an individual. But sometimes I feel like tucking myself into a ball and hiding away somewhere where no one can find me. I’m sick of waking up with swollen eyes from crying myself to sleep. I love you and sacrifice more than you will ever know, to be with you. But right now. I feel ugly and crumpled. I feel discarded. I feel tired from fighting to win your affection. I feel tired from arguing to be worth your time. And mostly, I just feel small.

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