The One That Got Away: An Open Letter


By Nessa Cannon

Dear J,

I visited the mall today. I still can’t visit Red Velvet Cupcakes, and I still can’t listen to that one Automatic Loveletter song Click Your Heels.

It’s been almost two years, and you still don’t know what you did to me.

Did you think it was okay to swoop into the life of a lonely fifteen-year-old, treat her like she was your world, then disappear? Without saying a word?

We went on three dates. You were my first kiss, in the cold stands of the ice skating rink. You rubbed the back of my hand with your thumb and you danced like an idiot and you would interrupt my sentences, just to tell me how much you liked me.

Then you go home to flooded Colorado Springs, and we text for a week. Then I never hear from you again.

You made me feel like I was beautiful and worth something. I know I shouldn't have been looking to a guy for those kinds of things, but it was a long time ago. You made me feel like I was worth paying attention to, and like someone would hold my hands even though they were sweaty from my anxiety disorder. To a hopeless romantic who had been denied her whole life, you were like the sun to my inherent darkness. The world was brighter and more beautiful and everything felt so wonderful.

I think I was in love with you, J.

Stupidly in love with some boy I’d known for two weeks.

And I was so close to telling you, too. On that last day we talked over the phone, you told me how much you missed me as you walked between classes. I wanted to tell you I love you. Instead, I said something kind of stupid.

“See you later.”

That was when the texts and the calls stopped coming. For weeks I was in denial, telling my friends you lost your phone, or that you were just busy, or that the rain had damaged cell towers and all this different kind of crap. I had so much hope. Every time my phone went off, I thought it would be you.

It never was.

And it never will be.

You never broke up with me. You never spoke to me, and I didn’t see you again until nearly a year later. I was shaking and a nervous wreck and I wanted to slap you in the face — but I didn’t. I just told you it was okay.

Because no matter how many times I want to slap you in the face, no matter how much I wish I could go back in time, no matter how many open letters I write to you, you’ll never understand what you did.

And I hope you never have to.

Sincerely yours,


writer photo

Nessa Cannon

Nessa is a seventeen year old high school graduate from Southern California. She is currently interning for TheYuniversity and is interested in publishing her one completed novel.

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