The first time I met you, I remember you strolling into my apartment, eager to see Jamie’s new home and to meet his new roommate. You were this beacon then and there. Gracious in movement, deliberately gentle with every piece of furniture or glass you touched. I remember deciding you were perfect the second we gave you control of our music that first night and all anyone could hear was me shouting the title of the song from where I sat on the toilet. It didn’t matter to you that I’d had insane diarrohea at the time. You were just happy that someone loved “Wolves” as much as you did.
That was the first time I thought I may have met my soul mate.
There were small happenings between acquaintances, you’d told me of past flings with other women, how you’d always been so scared that anyone would find out about it but with me, you were up to talking about anything and that was the most wonderful gift.
You trusted me and I trusted you and over time, we built this bizarre flirtation. I knew you were engaged to a man. I knew you lived with him, that you had a plan for how your life would go, and that I had not been part of that plan.
On your 21st birthday, my roommate– your oldest friend– got you obliterated drunk. When I came home from work, we all hung out and you both told me to get drunk with you and celebrate your 21 years on this planet. It’s funny now. Birthdays are much more meaningful to me after you. You were always so scared that you’d die before you reached your next and I too hold that same fear these days.
I drank. We all drank. We laughed. Jamie went to the back porch to smoke and you told me to kiss you. I told you that I couldn’t. I said no. The first time. More tequila. More tequila. More tequila. You told me for a second time to kiss you. That it was all you wanted for your birthday. I did.
And every axis my world turned on tilted. I’d been intimate with many women, but it never truly felt intimate. No sex, no dirty, dim-lit deed I’d done had ever come as close to being as intimate as that first kiss was. Even though we were both drunk, I think I’d been drunk since I’d met you and that was the first time I’d felt sober with you.
That was the night we ruined your life. We threw that plan out the fucking window and have both tried so hard to forget it. If I could go back I would have said no the second time. And the third. And when your clothes came off. I’d have said no to all of it if I’d known how much the world we both inhabited would change.
We kept it all a secret. Jamie knew. He was the only knew who knew. For months.
We snuck around, emailing, texting under fake names, even posting in Craigslist. We were wildly infatuated with one another. You knew everything about me by that point. You knew my history. I knew much of yours. We shared secrets and we were secrets, but we were ourselves. Wholly and truly ourselves.
Id never known what kind of monster I could become until I fell in love with you. Suddenly, every song was for you. Every thought was about how terrible I was for allowing you to cheat on someone but lacking the maturity or scope to see that I could stop it. We are magnets, you and I. Drawn to one another. We always were and I think we always will be to some end.
See, you felt me. You didn’t just know me. You felt my hurting from the other side of town. You knew before I did that my aunt had cancer. You’d called me at 7 in the morning and woken me up to ask me if I were okay and I had no clue what would shake my world 12 hours later. You were so very sensitive to my soul and I yours. We knew when the other felt unsafe, even if it had been days without contact. We just knew. And I think that’s what hurts the most.
Then my other aunt Cathey died in a freak accident in her bathroom and I lost it. Depression I’d had for over a decade had come back to me, manifesting in suicidal urges that I’m very glad are behind me now. I’d lost my favorite family member only 2 hours after leaving her house and doing her gardening. You’d known it was going to happen and you held me as I sobbed on the stairs in front of our apartment complex. The same complex that only a few doors away, you shared with your fiance.
After expressing my desire to die, you did the one thing I didn’t know I needed. You called my mother. You sent her a message explaining everything ton her and you made me get help. I resented you for weeks after that. I was in such a terrible place when you’d been there for me and I’d shut you out and off completely. I will never stop being sorry about the things I said and did in the weeks to follow. I was the worst version of myself and I am so full of regret that you were the prey the monster in me needed to devour.
We spent time apart. I started seeing someone. Partly to make you jealous and partly because I knew I could never have you and I didn’t want to be alone. It was selfish and unkind, but so were you. You went back to pretending to be happy with your fiance and I went back to pretending I couldn’t feel your soul tugging away at me, trying to tell me something was wrong with the universe. But I did feel it.
Then D told your fiance everything. I’d always made a point to be honest with my lovers and answer any questions that were asked of me, regardless of the sensitivity of the topic. Unfortunately, who I was with at the time was the one person you’d told me not to be with. Your fiance’s sister. It was wretched of me in the first place to do it, but I did. And I’m sorry.
She was a temporary fix to an eternal problem. She told him everything. Everything about us. You were furious. You’d gotten drunk and dropped off the key I gave you. I knew then that I’d fucked not only my life up but yours and his as well.
There’s no right way to express the remorse I feel for the girl who walked into my life back then and rattled it so. There’s nothing I can say or do to unbreak your former fiance’s heart or to help you mend wounds with your family. There is no way to go back and take that first kiss back. There is nothing I can do about this dull ache that says that I should be up north with you still, after all that we’ve both said and done to one another and for one another. There’s nothing. I can’t unfuck the past and I have no expectation or hope that you’ll ever see this. But I feel like you and I are the same. You may have a new love and I may respect that, but I know that with the odd, unexplainable connection that we have, you’ll see this at some point before you leave this earth because the universe has pushed us together since the start.
Maybe I was supposed to come in and destroy your that abusive relationship between you and your former fiance and then disappear. Maybe I was meant to learn who I truly am through you. Maybe this monster needed out and you were the only one who could let it go free. Regardless of the lives we are both leading now, know that I would change everything if I could. I would hold my temper. I would bite every bitter word on the tip of my tongue back. I would tell Jamie to find a different roommate so you’d have never had to meet me. I would do anything to wipe that side of me from your memory. But all I can do is hope that in your peripheral glances at me, you remember the pull. You remember that magnetism. I can only hope that you remember the me I promised you I’d become. Because I have become that person and any capacity in which I could see your glow is a capacity in which I’d be grateful and honored.
Every bad thing we had gone through together and separate is something that has a made us better.
The whole point of this I guess, is to say thank you. For being understanding of my frustration. Of my fickle, flittering mind. Made up and then made up again in every possible way. Thank you for being gentle. Kind. Passionate. Loving. For telling me about your life and your dreams and your fears. For sharing intimacy with me that I will probably never share again with another human until I die. For sharing your voice. For sharing your thoughts and for trusting me enough to read your fortune. For allowing me my oddities and unconditionally supporting my every bad decision I’d made with you, stating always that you’d love me whether or not I’d made them. For coming to see me at work. For hating that beer we tried once because we wanted to look cool to one another at Maxwell’s when I took you out and for showing me that song in my car. For thinking about me when you’d go to strip clubs. For teaching me that I can still learn sign language. (I’m in my second year of ASL now, I know you’d think that’s important.) For reminding me always that just because I’m blocking the light doesn’t mean it’s not behind me.
Thank you for risking the life you’d planned for the lice you’d ended up getting. For sacrificing a sure thing, a real thing for me. I know it was hell on you too. Thank you for being kind after everything. Thank you for allowing me to grow and for pushing me to always be better even after two years of not speaking.
You have always been and will always be who my soul yearns for and I hope like hell that when we meet in the next life, it will be easier for the both of us.
Love, power tools and in-the-mall-haircuts always,
Apartment 59 underneath the Appletree: M.W.