SERIES: LETTERS I NEVER WROTE
I remember a cool morning in San Francisco, on the gray sidewalk with our backpacks and an idling taxi. You pressed a small key into my palm, hugged me, and said, “This is the key to the city. Don’t tell anyone you have it.” I laughed and you turned and jumped into the cab without looking back. I saved this key for a long time, with that image of you flying out of my orbit again. And I knew that you were never mine to keep.
It’s hard to define you. Though we were never romantically involved, you were the most formative love of my life. I feel ever-bound to you because of this. I became myself by being in friendship with you. I laughed, loudly. Rode buses through a foreign country. I simplified, felt brave, and was unembarrassed to be authentic and kind and raw and silly. With you, I planted my first seeds. You were with me as I learned things about the world and myself that later became so true that I can only look back and howl. All I wanted then was us, as this intense, committed, untamable us, forever. The full me seemed inextricably tied to you. Life was better at your side in some ways that I’ve never been able to replace. Even though I am very happy.
Selfishly, I just want you to miss me. I want to be special and irreplaceable. I want you to regret not prioritizing me to the extent that it caused you to lose me. I guess this shows that feeling wounded still sometimes overshadows all the love I have for you. I’m working on this.
The other thing I want to say is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I found and lost myself through our friendship with such abandon that I didn’t know how to be friends anymore. And I’m sorry I wasn’t there when your brother died. I should have set aside my pride and come through for you. I value friendship very deeply, and with you is where I have most grandly failed.
Will we meet again, as you once said we would? You will still know me. I wonder if I’ll still know you.
Your long lost ricshishca