You keep writing even though I don’t write back. Aren’t you making friends in school? There’s gotta be a guy nearer than five thousand miles that you can lavish attention on. This sounds ungrateful. I’m flattered that I made an impression. We had so little time together. I waited till my last day to kiss you.
I replay it in my head a lot. All the ways I should’ve done it different. How much time I wasted with family when I could’ve been with you. Maybe that’s why I don’t write. There’s a lot of regret that comes up front and center whenever I read your name on the return address of an envelope in my P.O. box. They’ve been stealing my mail the last couple places I lived so I don’t take any more chances. Pay $30 a month to improve the odds of getting letters from lost causes and failures from my past. Like you. That didn’t come out right. You’re not the failure; I am. Your name just reminds me is all. Not your fault.
Maybe you’re an optimist. Or so desperately lonely in that godforsaken country that you send letters to a man halfway across the world who you have little hope of ever seeing in person again. I told you I’m never going back there, didn’t I? You’re the only good memory I have of the place. I’m including blood relations. Would you consider leaving? I know you love your mother and she needs you but are you willing to sacrifice your happiness for an old woman’s material comfort? Again, I know, selfish, insensitive. It’s what you love about me, no?
It’s weird to fall for an art historian. Like a cockroach falling for an entomologist. If we got together for real would you spend our years together studying me? Taking samples? Squinting to determine their substance under a microscope? Would you convince yourself you know what my paintings mean because you read a library full of books on the subject? Would I start to hate you for your theories and interpretations? They way you apply what your professors taught you to our life together? Would I cheat on you with your GAs at the university? Become an embarrassment to you professionally? A financial burden?
I know these are daydreams because we’ll never see each other again. You might write another letter or two, but you’ll eventually give up. I’m not worth it. Plus, one day on campus, a younger transfer student will catch your eye. You’ll stay semi-faithful to me——at least emotionally——for another month or two, but his excited and insistent way of fucking you will leave my one fumbling kiss a feint memory to make fun of as your heart returns to its resting rate, the sweat drying salty on you upper lip, in the small of your back, as you watch him drift off to sleep.
You’ll come back to mind at odd intervals. When more recent crushes fade. I won’t compare you to them. You’ll always have your own alcove, however remote, poorly-lit, or modest in square footage.