When I was 17, I fell in love for the first time. It was the kind of young love that was naive enough to believe it could withstand 1,200 miles of distance. We talked about our wedding, the apartment we would share, and all the dogs we would have one day, fully thinking these things were in the realm of possibility. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of growing up is realizing that the circumstances are not always in your favor, and sometimes good things need to end.
One thing I will always treasure from that relationship was the stack of handwritten letters we exchanged, despite our ample use of technology. After we broke up, I continued to write him letters, knowing he would never read them. This gave me comfort and helped me to not only cope with the situation, but understand and learn from it. Once I felt like I got the closure I needed, I wrote him one last time.
So this is it.
There are a million things I wish I could say to you. And at this point, this is probably the only way I can do that. I know you’ll never read this but it makes me feel better to put it out into the world. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll somehow make its way to you. That’s not the intention, but it’s nice to think about.
I want to start by saying thank you. If I could have experienced my first love with anyone, I’m glad it was you. You showed me how it felt to be appreciated and wanted and most of all, loved. You made sacrifices for me and stuck around when I got difficult. I know it’s cliche, but you really had me at hello. I still remember the first time you texted me and how my heart was pounding while the blood rushed into my cheeks. We stayed up til 3 AM and continued right on with our conversation early the next morning. I got so used to starting my day with your texts that it was hard when it stopped. You gave me something worth remembering and for that, I’ll always be thankful.
Next, I’d like to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry if you ever felt like I was asking too much of you. I was selfish and I asked you to give up a big part of yourself to be with me. I read a story once about a mermaid who loved a sailor so much that she dragged him to the bottom of the ocean to be with her. She was so blinded by love that she didn’t take into consideration that he’d drown. I almost let you drown and I’m so sorry. You deserve to be happy in your own element, even if that means I have to watch you be happy from afar. That was one of the hardest things for me to do. Watch you be with someone else who I knew made you happier because she didn’t need to drag you down. She was right where you needed to be.
I spent a lot of time being angry and bitter about the way things turned out. First, I was angry at myself because I thought maybe I did something wrong. You promised me that you’d always love me and that I’d always be your girl. You said you wanted us to stay in each other’s lives and continue being friends. Well, that didn’t last long and I wondered what I did to make you stop talking to me. I thought maybe I was too much or perhaps not enough. I thought back to all the times we fought and wondered which time finally drove you away. I thought about whether or not I was a good friend or if I had done something to hurt you to the point that you couldn’t stand to have me around. Then, I got angry at you. I thought that maybe you just didn’t care and maybe you never cared at all. I thought you were being selfish and immature for not being able to engage in a friendship with someone you used to say you loved. I thought you were a coward for running away from the situation when you knew I was hanging on and still hurting.
Again, I was selfish. I forgot to take into consideration that you needed to heal too and that, in itself, takes time. You needed space to forget about me and get over the feelings we once shared and I should’ve never questioned what you needed to help you move on. We’re different that way. I never want space and I need to remember that some people do. I stopped trying to convince myself that you didn’t love me because I knew in my heart that you did. It wasn’t your fault that it didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. Nor was it mine. It was just a matter of bad timing and unfavorable circumstances.
I want you to know that no one can ever replace you as my first love. One day, I’ll find my soul mate and I’ll remember the first boy who made me feel the way he will. I made a lot of mistakes while trying to heal. I tried to forget you by looking for attention in empty people and I was left with even less than I had when I lost you. Those times meant nothing and they only helped me until I sobered up the next morning. Regardless, you were always in the back of my mind. I was bitter and I wanted to get back at you by putting it out into the universe that I had moved on. But it wasn’t true and I thought of you every single day. You are the only person in this world who had my heart while it was whole.
Because of you, I learned what it meant to be at peace with myself. After you left, I learned how to be alone. It took a long time for me to understand that being alone didn’t mean I had to be lonely. I worked on myself. I spoiled myself. I loved myself. And I gave myself the best gift I could have asked for. Time. I needed time to be okay with my own thoughts. My own feelings. My own need to understand the way things were and why I felt a certain way about certain things. I needed time to confess my sins to myself and truly understand what I wanted to get out of the situation I was in. I needed time to be broken so I could understand what I needed to be strong.
I think about the people we are now and how much we have strayed from the people we were when we were together. I think we’ve both come so far and maybe lost bits of our old selves along the way. Some of those bits contained traces of each other and we will never get them back. That’s okay. Those people were good for each other, but we no longer are. Despite this progress, however, I wish I still had something to remember us by. I’m sorry for giving those letters back to you. I’d take them back if I could. I know you’re happy and I know that you don’t resent me and that’s enough for me. We’ve both grown so much and I’m incredibly proud of us. I want you to know that I have nothing but love for you and you deserve the very best.