An Open Letter

Dear ***,
I’ve tried writing this letter so many times over the years and every time I could either not find the words I wanted or I let my cowardice win and deleted it, convincing myself there was really no point in writing it, that committing myself in writing served no useful or constructive purpose. I’m still not convinced this will do any good, but I think it can’t really hurt either. It’s not like I think you’ll actually ever read it and even if you did happen to come across it I truly don’t think it will matter that much, not now, not after so much time and distance between us and now. What was “us” anyway really? A little bit more than a year when we were both still kids? Nearly twenty years in between filled with other people, experiences, good, bad, or indifferent but all changing and shaping each of us into two people who may not even recognize each other if they passed on the street?

Only for me, I know that’s just a little bit of bullshit. I’d know you anywhere. When you can’t stop thinking of someone, picturing their face, holding on to the sound of their voice it makes remembering very easy. I honestly haven’t ever stopped thinking of you, not once. At first they were all angry thoughts, trying to justify myself I guess, distance myself from my own stupidity and selfishness. They changed though, over the years. I replayed everything out over and over, all the moments, all the conversations, all of the mistakes I made just coming clearer over time. I was a shitty boyfriend, from start to finish, there’s no way I can deny that fact. I took you for granted, what you were and how special that was, how rare. So now when I think about you, all I can feel is guilt and regret.

There’s the big word, “regret”. You are, among all of my many regrets, the biggest by far. Kind of late in the game to realize this, but it’s true. I never once stopped loving you, no matter what I actually said. It’s quite possible that you’re the only woman I can truly say that I do love, that I can honestly use that word for. I’ve told other women that I loved them, and I’ve always wanted to mean it, I’ve convinced myself thoroughly that I did mean it but the thing is I don’t miss any of them. Not like I miss you. Some days I think all that I am is missing you, not a person, just this raw walking streak of loss. I know with a grim certainty that I will go to my grave missing you just as certainly as I know that I won’t ever see you in the flesh in this life again. And that’s my fault.

I think I’ve tried to evade that fact for a long time, tried to twist out from under it for years yet I can’t deny it any more. I could make excuses, I have made excuses, I was young, I didn’t know what I was doing, I was stupid and foolish and just fairly horrible all around. But those are reasons, not any kind of justification. In the end, I convinced myself that this wasn’t love, that there was this mythical something out there, that despite believing for all of my miserable life that there is a “one” that you weren’t it. I’m very good at convincing myself into things. Most of the time in doing so, I hurt people, just leave a lot of wreckage in my wake. No more so when I walked away from you. If it helps any, not that I think it will, I hate myself so much for doing that. I’m so angry all of the time and I can pretend it’s because of the state of the world, my disgust with humanity and all of its failings, or whatever other high handed bullshit I can scrape together but in the end I’m angry that I threw something precious away and I have no one to blame but myself. I punish myself every day, I use memories of you to beat myself raw and bloody because I don’t think I can ever suffer enough to make up for my mistakes.

That doesn’t really matter though. It’s not going to make any difference in the end. I’ll still do it, but it’s a pretty useless and futile gesture. Even if I could look you in the eye right now and tell you how sorry I am, would it matter? You’ve gone on to have loves of your own, you’ve built a life, struggled, suffered, become someone who might in some way remember a boy who broke your heart once upon a time. My relevance in your life is a negative, something so much less than nothing. Fuck, I’m just close to being a complete stranger to you now. I like to tell myself that that’s why I’ve never written this down before, that at best all of this would be an awkward and unwelcome reminder of something that once was, at worst it’s just pulling open an old scar best left closed. The truth is though that I’ve never committed to anything, not you, not my life, my writing, my marriage, nothing. I’m too scared, too much of a god damn coward to lay everything down and make a choice for better or worse. So much of my life is filled with moments where I let events unfold until all the choices where made for me, except once, and I made the wrong motherfucking choice.

I really don’t know what all of this is, why I’m writing this. There always seems so much I want to say but it never comes out just right. Maybe there’s no right way to say this, maybe I could start talking now and never be able to explain everything, just keep talking until my voice got lost but I’d still be making the words with cracked and broken lips because it will take me the rest of my life to truly convey all of the pain and anger and regret I hold inside of me. The bottom line though will always be this and this alone. I love you. I always have, I do right now and I always will for the rest of my wretched life. I always keep the hope that you will find your happiness, that for every hurt you will find the remedy. I want you to always know how beautiful, intelligent, amazing and truly wonderfully weird you are and I hope you will always keep who you are and feel that strength. I will never, ever be a part of your world ever again but I hope I can always find some way of knowing that you are out there and doing well.

I guess that’s pretty much all I have to say. It’s not really, but at some point the words have to stop. I just want to leave you with this and then I’ll stop. No matter what happens know this one thing as the truth. There will ALWAYS be one man who loves you, who thinks you are the most incredible person he has ever known and believes with all of his heart that the world is truly better and special and magic because you grace it. Know that sweet, beautiful girl.

Forever yours,

Matthew Brewes, The Beautiful Imposter 


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