By Xavier Ulises Navarro
I’m haunted by that image—your soft lips plastered on someone else’s and you probably smiling and enjoying every second of it. Then probably getting their phone number and them texting you days on. I don’t even know if he probably grabbed you on your beautiful curves and touched you like I used too. It’s making me cry just thinking about it. And maybe you slept with him or you will start sleeping with people since you’re single. It’s in your right—you’re single. But you’re not a slut, that’s not what I’m trying to get at. You’re 21 and single. It’s painful. I can’t get the image out of my head that maybe you dirty danced with someone else. I’m dwelling though. And you said you don’t love me anymore. I think that’s what hurts the most. Because I do love you. Dearly. I wouldn’t have given up the life I had if I didn’t. I guess I’m just desperate and want to see you happy again. If happy is without me, then maybe it is best I disappear out of your life for good. That would blow. That would really hurt. Rightfully so. Whatever I guess. I don’t know if you’ll ever read these—I probably will send them to you when the time is right.
So I’m using the name A because I hope that I will have the chance to be with you again. I’ve never done this but I’m pursing therapy through writing. I have set out on an expedition to write to you every day we don’t talk as a way of coping and passing time in your absence. Where to begin…Well I guess the best place to start would be that I am truly sorry. I hope that I am given a chance to make things right and show you all the P.S. I Love You romance you deserve. Today has been routine for me, like most of my days in P.R. It’s been two weeks now since I got here and the island breeze is coarse and dry. The heat suffocates at times and the bed I lay in is the same one you laid on when you came to visit. I think of you every other second. There are nights where I’ll cry myself to sleep like a little school girl thinking about how I could have been better. I should have been better. And I know, in life, there aren’t always second chances. But I do hope you find it somewhere in your heart to grant me a clean slate—a fresh start. What you’ve done to me is more than I could ever thank you for. You’ve shown me kindest unconditional love throughout squalls of bad storms I caused. And most importantly, even at your worst times, you were probably better than me at my best. You’re an angel. I don’t know where I’m going with this and I do hope that, with time, you will miss me for me and not the relationship.
How are the dogs? I miss them too and waking up every day without them has been hell. I’ve written a lot of poetry you know. Some centered on the heartbreak and others obnoxious—you know the type you never liked. My mom has asked me to go out and about with her, driving around the island without purpose. But I’ve turned into a scrooge. She says I’m angry with the world. I think I am. I think I’m angry with myself. Has that ever happened to you? I bet it’s happened to everyone. There is one thing I do miss, that I took for granted and even though I hated it, now I miss it, the noise of the bedroom when we went to bed. You’d always fall asleep first. And then your heavy breathing would always let me know that you were fast asleep. You always looked so peaceful—with your tiny cute nose and your mouth slightly ajar. Just now you texted me and I was happy. Until I found out that the apartment we got together is gone…forever. That’s the sign. That’s the sign that we will never be together and I am crying a storm writing this. Because I want to talk to you so badly. Because I wish I could convince you. But there aren’t any words Shakespeare could say that will change your mind. I’m so sorry dear, sweetie. Well, I guess I’ll wrap it up for today since I feel I could go on forever. I’ll save some for tomorrow.
I woke up today with that same crap feeling. I hope you’re waking up better than me. I pray every night that this will go away. Every night I go to bed, I cry like a bitch. I never thought I’d sink so low. I’m wondering when I’ll man up—I guess when it finally hits me that life has continued.
You know I’ve fantasized my return. That you’d pick me up at the airport and we’d cry in each other’s arms. And I would come to your apartment and you’d welcome me back etc. movie like. The more I think about it, the more I know it won’t happen. That life isn’t a movie cliché.
I’ve lost 16 lbs since we broke up. I guess that’s good right. 197 yesterday and still counting down. I’m working out my frustrations on the road. I guess it’s better than inflicting adolescent pains on myself. And I guess I’ve grown. I’m happy about that. You said it was coming off you too like water. I bet you’re as beautiful as ever. I didn’t say it enough and I wish I had and I wish I hadn’t gotten so comfortable to say all those horrific things about you and your weight. I was so terrible…
I don’t think things will ever be the same. From my perspective, the reason why you want three weeks is so you can get over me. I think this because we’ve been broken up for over a month and I don’t text or call you every day. And you have plenty of distractions to take your mind off me—going out and getting drunk with your single friends, flirting again with cute boys, school work, work, and the dogs. And that still is not enough space? You don’t ever have to worry about running into me or seeing me. And all you have to do to never really speak to me again is put the nail in the coffin—change your number. I wouldn’t understand why, again I don’t call or text you every day and that too shall pass and you will never hear from me again.
Have you stopped and wondered what it would be like for you to start over like you’ve imposed me to do. I know you’d say that you didn’t ask me to give up all that stuff or to move back, or even give both dogs back. But really, what did you expect was going to happen. That I stay in Ames and try to be single…in a town of 50,000 people where going out to have fun is almost certain I’d run into you. And what, to see you with guys making out or in the future, a boyfriend, and I stuck in the past? How did you expect it to go—that we’d split the dogs (one of us would have ended up unsatisfied either way). You know what I’ve been praying for these past couple of days? That I wish I would never have gotten those dogs. I regret that decision because I don’t think there is such a thing as getting over them. And I lose both ways. Yeah, it’s about time right? Or again it’s about me. You’d been losing for a while giving me chances and wishing I would change so I guess now we are even…
But you couldn’t even step back and see that your decisions were rash too. That if the relationship meant something to you at some point, that all you had to do was say you wanted a break. But I guess when you’ve had enough you’ve had enough. It’s funny that it seems like I am the only one who lost everything. Is that selfish of me, or if you step back and look around—look at your situation and mine, can you truly tell yourself that you lost much? Yes you lost company at night and a “best friend” and a relationship. I ask of you to step back and put yourself in my shoes because I’m not sure you’ve done that yet. I’ve done it for you. God knows I have. That’s why I had to make those tough decisions of leaving and never coming back. But have you? Be sympathetic. I think if you would set aside your anger and hatred you’d realize that maybe the one who lost everything here wasn’t you.
I’m not sure if at this point you probably want to keep reading. To you, it’ll be a rant and a “wow is me” thing but I just want you to see it in print, no more mind games of guessing.
I lost all the friends I’d built solid relationships with for four years. I lost two dear dogs that I raised (yes you helped but you weren’t there because your job wouldn’t let you—someone had to make money) I had to leave an environment I called home and return to one where life moved on and old friends did too and there is no such thing as going back and picking up where you left off. And I lost you without having any say to it—that all my fighting for you is in vain because you made the hard decision to end it, not me.
And I wonder if you get satisfaction from seeing me finally chase after you, seeing as how you did for me for such a long time.
Can I outline where you stand now? (At least from my perspective so please correct me if I’m wrong.)
You get to still be in school distracted day to day and work with people night and day that you like and flirt with guys you now can flirt with because you’re single. And now you can waste money solely on yourself. No one to check in with and you can spend your nights dancing with complete strangers and making out with them because you can (and sleep with them if you wanted to) and walk back to your close apartment because you got out of ours so easily (but regrettably with a lot of wasted money). You get to have those two precious dogs every day and night and since you’re social you can easily find another man to like because you’re very likable and beautiful. You don’t have to worry about moving to places you don’t want to and you still have family nearby and everyday is an adventure. Is that right? Or am I completely off. Honestly I want to know if I am because the more I think about it, the more painful it is.
And I lost my strength. I’m here crying like a baby every night and you are out numbing your feelings with booze and friends. It makes me feel like you never cared. Because if you did, you wouldn’t be reacting to the break up like that. I know, here he goes again with a stupid rant about selfishness. I guess I am that evil that you can’t even care to say you miss me or that you still love me (Because you probably don’t). That falling out of love was that simple or that you couldn’t be honest with me months ago, or better yet, that you’d let a sociology class solidify your anger and resentment for me instead of looking into your compassionate heart and realize that when I said I would change, and that I wanted to show you I wasn’t that guy that I meant it with all my heart and mind.
How many times have you seen me cry in the two+ years you’ve known me? How many times have you seen me cry since you said it was over?
I think that’s a good sign of how much I fucking care about you. God damn it what else do you need if not someone who is willing to be that perfect man.
Yes, I had a chance to change but sometimes things don’t happen when you’d like, and sometimes it takes shattering someone’s heart to realize you can’t live without them. You finally did it to me. I guess I should thank you. But I don’t move on easily because I do dwell on the good stuff and not the bad, even if the bad outweighed the good. Because to me, the good times always outweigh the bad, and my happiest memories in my life thus far are those with you laughing to death, or holding you at night when you slept. But none of that means anything I guess. Or I guess it would have been better for me to just cheat on you because I guess that’s more forgivable than making honest, immature mistakes on how to handle living with someone for the first time. I’m so sorry I wasted your time and that you wasted your secrets on me as you so eloquently expressed it. I love you so much but to you, that is not enough.
This is it. The 3 week deadline. I don’t want to call you because I’m afraid I know the answer to all my questions. And I guess I’ll wait a little bit and pray you’ll call me first. But that won’t happen. So I’ll be sending you these soon. You’ll read them, acknowledge them, and then move on without a whisper left. And these notes will disappear into the circuits of electricity and they will wither. And I guess this will be the last concrete evidence I’ll leave you. Here you’ll find the expression of how you were loved at least once in your life by someone else. But you will be loved again. And you will be happy again and love again. And our short time together would have been a speck of dirt in a white canvas. I will miss you. I will love you until that too flickers out. And I don’t know when that will be, or if it will come. I hope it does. I hope it does because it’ll eat at me. And I wish it could have worked out. God only knows I did. But I guess sometimes, we don’t know what’s best for us. And even though in my head, I fantasized that if I won a few writing competitions, that if things looked up for the better, if we’d gotten better together, that I’d ask you to marry me. Because I knew that if we could have gotten through this that anything was possible. So I guess I just wanted you to know that you were loved that much and that I would have given anything to buy you that blue diamond you loved so much with the money I earned from those competitions, anything for you.
And I’ll probably never see or speak to you again and I’m losing another best friend and I’m sorry you also had to lose one too. I’d never wish that kind of pain on anyone because I think that’s a pain that can consume you. So I hope it doesn’t because I’m working on it not taking me. I’m confident that life will move on and that all your (and maybe my) dreams will come true but sometimes you just never know how long or short your life can be—3000 miles away and the dangers of living can end in one swift movement. So live your life to the fullest because no one knows how long we have and the brittleness—the frailty of humanity can bend and break like those picture frames we used to have of us happy, together. You’re left wondering if the mistakes of the past can mend in the future and if given a chance, would the flowers of prosperity flourish under the heat of the summer, or would the long dark of winter snap the twigs into small pieces. And a poet is poet until his death and as someone once said “if you love something let it go. If it comes back to you then it’s truly yours, and if it doesn’t, it never was.” And with this I end a chapter in a short, ongoing life. A beautiful chapter where I became a man. My only wish is that I could have been one sooner. But I guess you can’t choose when to grow up, sometimes it just gets thrust onto you in the most painful ways. Thank you for letting me feel again because for once in my life, I’m not afraid of crying and I’ve cried all I could and it’s been years since that’s happened so I am truly grateful. I’ll leave you with final words that have gotten me through—words I’ll spontaneously write now that I’ve been juggling in my head for a month. Here they are—
It’s not that we are afraid of living or seeing it through to the end. And realizing that maybe we took a wrong turn in a long road that cannot be revisited. It’s that we’ve learned to heal with the medicine of our surroundings and that the scars are all able to fade with the youth of the skin, and the only remembrance we hold, until the light behind those tired grey eyes goes out, are the little fragile figments of laughter that were sung sporadically on rainy days.
And with that I bow to you, I bid you good bye. Another love lost. And I am neither bitter nor angry because I know what we had was very real. And I know these letters can neither console or mend or heal. But I know they will last. Maybe in a journal, maybe in your heart or mine. Or maybe they will float away like passing clouds shaping figures and as quickly as they formed, they leave, never again to return the same way.
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Xavier Navarro was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He holds a B.A. in English from Iowa State University and his works have appeared in ISU's undergraduate literary journal Sketch. He has two short stories forthcoming in Newport Review's Summer 2011 edition and has completed two collections of poetry pending publication.