i don’t know how to walk down the hallways
without following the echos of your footstep
without the ecstasy of chasing your shadow
without your fingerprints painting the walls
i don’t know how to cope with this pain
that used to be so worth it because of the
way you'd smile soft like a fallen angel i
wonder if my name ever meant something
i don’t know how to exist in this world
without your voice to take up my mind
without tears and blood streaming down
without your ghost that cuts my skin deep
i don’t know how to feel when the doors open
because from now on it’ll never be you and
i can no longer see you from the reflection of
my screen the goodbyes breaking me completely
I'm sorry I slander you in everything I say and write and think. You've always been there for me, and I think you deserve better. I mean, really, you're just an extension of me, and I can't blame you for what you say to me. Yeah, they're awful things, but if they're true, I guess it must come from a place of love and kindness.
I'm sorry people doubt your existence. That must be hard. And when they claim you're just in my head, well, I don't think that's true either. You're only in my head some of the time. Sometimes, you get lost in the labyrinth of my memories, and you don't visit me for a while. Then, you bring some back with you, so I guess that makes it better.
I'm sorry that I like it better when you're not around. I'm sorry that I wish you would get lost in the maze and never come back. I'm sorry that every time I talk about you, it's just to disregard and disown you. I'm sorry that I don't let you control more of what I do and say and think. Maybe you're right when you say my life would be better if you had complete control.
Please come back. You're right, and I need you. I need you to tell me what to wear and what people will say about me when I wear it. I'd miss your nagging voice explaining every detail of everything I did that was wrong. And it's all wrong because I did it by myself. That's why I need you.
Dear younger me,
I know you'll never read this because you're now gone, a fading memory in the back of my mind. But I wish I could find a way to make you read this.
A lot has happened in our life. Sometimes, I think, we grew up too fast, but I don't regret it. Maybe we moved out too soon?
We regret a lot of things. Such as saying yes when we didn't understand, being afraid. I'm sorry all that happened to us. I'm sorry we're traumatized. I wish it'd never happened.
They say trauma makes you stronger... We didn't need to be stronger. We needed to be safe. We were just a child. Small. Innocent. Afraid. And now, we pay the price.
At 10 years old we began self harming, tearing the skin out the inside our mouth and picking scabs so much that it left scars. We starting starving ourself at 11, even though we were already skinny. 14, we were cutting and planning our death, daring God to prove he was real.
We've been through Hell and back. A place we should never have been.
I still remember the metallic taste of blood as it'd fill our mouth after we tore the skin off the inside of our cheeks. I don't think I'll ever forget.
We've got a boyfriend now. He's sweet. He knows our past as well as we do. He forgives us for being afraid and saying yes, at least I think he does. I wonder, if he'll notice the scars decorating my body, showing the seething hatred we hold for ourself.
If I could make you read this. I'd make sure you know not to starve yourself. I'd make sure you know to never harm yourself. I'd make sure that when daddy asked that question when we were 11, you would know to say no and to find a trustworthy adult to tell them about it. But I can't. No matter how much I wish I could, I can't. And I'm sorry for that. I'm sorry we live with this burden. I'm sorry our boyfriend knows and shares our burdens.
But... I'm learning, we're learning, to love ourself. Slowly. But we're learning.
To the past me, I love you. I love you. I love you. I know it's too late to say this for you to know, but maybe future us will know this and will love both of us and herself. And maybe she'll be able to show her kids this letter and teach them about everything so they never struggle with the same burdens.
Your older self in the present
To whom I sincerely wish could have been be "the one,"
I’m so over you. I've practice this lie in the bathroom mirror, changing the delivery slightly each time. A constructed truth. I choose to focus on the realities of the statement to ease my conscience. I’m so over this tired, one sided life. But not you. I could never get over someone who never hurt me. Never wronged me. I’m so over the rhythm of my life. The way things could line up perfectly if the timing was a little different. I’m so over listening to your playlists late into the night to try to feel closer to you and the things I will never understand. I’m so over waiting for someone there are no guarantees will come back for me, and the worst part is that I couldn’t even blame you if you didn’t. Because I’m not your problem, and you have no idea how much I wish I were. I’m so over these past few months of uncertainty and constant ups and downs. I’m so over constantly ending up with “he loves me not” far more often than “he loves me”… but you? I don’t even want to get over you. So I don't think I ever will. And I will always be sorry I never told you all the thoughts in my head. I think I could have helped you. But it feels like it's too late now. I'm so over not gaining the confidence to speak up until it's too late. I'm sorry.
The girl you never got to know
Countless Lies and a Truth.
It’s me again.
Look, it was messed up from the beginning. It was never meant to last. I couldn’t help you. You thought I could. I’m sorry to have misled you. I think that you thought I was your savior. I am not a savior. I have not figured out how to be my own savior, let alone yours.
You see, the problem was that I said yes, and I kept saying yes. The “yes”es and the “not a problem”s, the “no need to apologize”s and the “you’re not a burden”s... they added up. They stacked themselves messily in my brain, each fighting for space, each occupying my thoughts, each chanting in unison- “Liar, liar, liar.”
Sometimes I would lie in bed and picture what it would be like if you were gone. I know you’ve thought about it too- you told me of it in dark hallways, the feeling that if you were gone, things might be solved. I didn’t believe that things would be solved. I believed that you would be gone, and I would be left behind, crying and wishing I had done better by you.
I have cried for you too many times to count. I have cried for you and tried to hide it, cried for you and not bothered concealing it, cried into my hands, cried into your shoulder, cried in the backseat of a Toyota while the world raged around you.
I find it hard to imagine that I still have tears left for you. Hard to imagine that I can’t imagine a world without you. Hard to imagine that one day you might be gone, and though we haven’t talked in months, the lies I told you would still chant at me- “Your fault, your fault.”
And yet, that doesn’t change the fact that despite the lies I told you, you weighed on me. I cared about you too much to listen to all of your heartbreak and remain whole, my own heart unbroken. I don’t know if you realized it, but the whole time- I was there. I was listening. Sweetheart, I am not a void. I could hear you, and it made me hurt for you.
I don’t know if you realized that there were things I needed to say as well, things I needed someone to listen to, and that you couldn’t be that person for me because I could only listen, never talk, when I was with you.
I don’t know if you realized that sometimes people don’t fall in love- sometimes they choose it, and sometimes they have to choose to move on.
I’m sorry I couldn’t be more for you. For what it’s worth, I think I love you.
Please love yourself. You deserve it, after all the world has given you. After all I've given you.
I wish I knew how to say goodbye.
Hey me from three months ago,
Actually, don’t answer that- I know what is up. You’re super sad right now, going through a lot of mental and physical pain, writing some sad poetry, binge watching stuff you don’t care about that you usually like, and your family is concerned about you. This feels like the perfect place to say “it gets better,” but I know you won’t believe that right now, even coming from me. So I’ll say this instead:
The headaches do stop. I know you’ve been pretty good about drinking water but the constant headaches that Advil can't even soothe do stop. It’s gonna take a minute, but they will stop.
Also the crying- the crying stops. I know how much that annoyed you because of how dry it made your face and how tired you get after, so know that you won’t be crying every single day very soon.
Your sister is a ball of light. Start hanging out with her more and sooner. You’d be surprised how effortlessly happy a Disney movie with your sister can make you- it’s wild.
Spoiler alert: I know you’ve been very, very alone for these past months, but do not fret! An internship is going to beckon you to seek housing with your friends. Said internship will fall through, but it’s ok cause you’re gonna be with your friends and it’s gonna be great. Your friends are great.
But yeah, I don’t really have anything else to say, I don’t wanna spoil too much or give any advice, cause I think what you really need now is to continue to cry, continue to sulk, and continue to practice being ok with being alone. I think the fact that you miss having a person to cuddle with more than you miss him is very telling, missy.
And I don’t want you to feel stupid or anything like that because it is not your fault that you love so hard and so deeply, and I don’t want you to think that he brought that out of you. Sis, it was always there, he merely presented the opportunity to be on the receiving end.
And I don’t want you to feel guilty about how you’ll end up handling all this post-breakup nonsense much better than your good friend, because your situations are not the same, and her brain is wired differently than yours.
Talk to your mom more, interact with your dad less, sing loudly with your sister more, replay things in your mind much, much less.
Really proud of you, and I can’t wait for you to see what’s next.
An Open Letter To Apollo
I see you got the goats I sacrificed!
2020 has been an eventful year, thanks to your help. Great work sir, you really went above-and-beyond with my request, however (and I hope this doesn’t sound like more than a nitpick because I am grateful) my aim with those sacrifices was more in hopes that you’d break up Todd and my ex, and less about bringing about the beginning of the end of the world. I really miss her, and Todd’s such a prick at work, but hundreds of thousands are dead, and he’s still technically “boyfriend material.”
I do want to reaffirm, my lord, just how incredibly thankful I am that you would honor the prayers of so humble a servant.
Did I sacrifice too many goats? Is that it? Was three too much?
I’m not a shepherd or Greek or anything, but I feel like three is a pretty mundane amount of goats to offer up. I was more hoping that you would make Katie not so attracted to muscles or maybe make Todd lose interest in women and/or working at the museum entirely. This is fine, just to reaffirm, I don’t want to be a whiner. I do miss her though, as well as my Nana who was stung to death by murder hornets last week. I know better than to challenge the gods, so thank you as always.
Another thing, I feel I should mention, and I promise, this isn’t a complaint, but when I tried to reach out to you about quelling the spread of COVID-19 (three more goats) you did not stop the pandemic so much as emboldening large groups of white supremacists to challenge basic human rights on a communal and individual level in my country.
I don’t think unsacrificing them is an option at this point, but if there’s a way to rescind the previous request, while maybe making Todd less funny, I would be quite pleased with that. I’m attempting a sacrifice to you one more time, o lord, in hopes of exchanging Todd’s handsomeness for my irritable bowel syndrome. I should add, that I want nothing more beyond that.
Quarantined in my apartment, I haven’t been able to procure any “quality” animals for sacrifice. All I have to work with right now are bugs and/or my roommate, and I feel that the latter would be morally wrong? Unless maybe - you know what - forget it. I’m just hoping the bugs I sent work for you.
I don’t know if sending back murder hornets is considered regifting, but if it is, sorry, and I can offer something else: libations, mice, maybe a masterclass or- hold on a minute. Something’s happening on the news right now. Give me a moment.
Okay, it seems you did get my message, and lions have escaped from zoos all across America. That’s fine. Thank you. I think I’m going to stop sending you things and just make a tinder profile.
To my dearest children
Dear Evolet, maddex, and Caleb,
My dearest Evolet, don't let the standards of the world define you. Don't even let your mother or myself define you. You are your own woman and this is your life to live. Own it and embrace it. Do not look back on your life and wish that things turned out differently. Be bold and don't settle for second best. Daddy loves you.
Maddex, my smart young man. Do not be afraid to be the smartest man in the room or hide any of your talents. People love to push others down when they can't do it themselves. Embrace looking like a temporary fool in order to become you the man you are meant to be. Daddy loves you.
Caleb, my only regret is that I never got to meet you. I wish I could've heard your laughter, got to see you walk, and see you go to school. The important thing is that you will grow up. Do not let people use you as a doormat. It is better to have a few honest friends who truly care for you. Then to be popular for all the wrong reasons. Never be afraid to try new things. Daddy never like poetry or history as a kid. Now it's my passion.
Daddy loves you.
I love you all. I wish that I got to see you guys all grown up. And see you all become parents yourselves. That is my deepest regret. I've had many moments that made me proud, but each and every one of you are my greatest triumph. I am a happy man.
I’m sorry I left so suddenly. I’m sorry you’ll only read this after I’m long gone. I’m sorry you didn’t know that the last time was the last time. Life doesn’t give you warnings before a life-changing incident happens, it’s not fair, and I’m sorry that life has to be this hard. Remember that one time when we talked about our insecurities and fears? Remember how I told you that I fear being forgotten, that I don’t think I’m special enough to be remembered, that when I’m gone people will only be sad for some time, then life will go on as if I never existed? I’m gone now, and I know that there is no way for me to figure out wether my fears will come true or not, but I want at least you, you who I loved like no other human being, I want you to remember me. Remember that I didn’t eat breakfast, because my stomach hurt if I ate in the morning. Remember that I loved peach ice tea, and that caramel cappuccino with whipped cream was my favorite coffee. Remember that I hated spicy food, and that I had a sweet tooth. Remember that I was a chatterbox who never shut up. Remember that I loved winter, but autumn was my favorite. Remember that I loved my teddy bear more than most people in my life. Remember that I cared about birthdays, anniversaries, and special days, and that I loved getting presents for those I care about. Remember that I was a crybaby who would cry over nonsense, and that I would become ecstatic with a simple word. Remember that I always loved wholeheartedly, that I was always there for anyone who needed me, and that I always felt I was never enough. Remember that I was a good friend, but never a great one, that I was the close friend but never the lover, that I was never loved the way I loved. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just me and the way I am, and that’s always been the problem. I overthink, over-feel, and I over-love. It’s just me, I couldn’t change that, and I couldn’t live with it anymore. I fear oblivion, I always have, so please let me ask you, my forever favorite person, to allow me to make one final selfish request;
To my dearest Anku,
The end of the capacocha procession has come. Come daylight, my entourage and I will begin our final trek up the mountain. With every step, I will think of you. I will pray for you. I don’t wish for you to mourn me, for my sacrifice is meant to be an honor. I want you to find another that can give you something close to what we had. Find love, again. Start a family. Live a long, happy, and healthy life. Remember me, always. I do believe we will meet again in the distant future. Two souls that were made for each other cannot truly be apart. They always find their way back to each other.
You have brought me eternal happiness. There so much you have to offer the world. I will be watching from high above. Think of my smile when you look to the stars, as they align for you. Think of the blood that rushed through my veins as you sail down the surging river. When you look to the sun, know that it rises and sets on you. For you have my heart, my love. Until its final beat, and beyond.