The Fifth Letter
It was a bit like oncoming spring—the rain dries up, but it’s still damp and chilly, reminding you that winter never quite goes away. And those that had been around me for that winter were quickly drying up. The friends that had ceased to be friends were now acquaintances and memories, droplets in a particular season in a given year that would most likely be forgotten.
And little did I know, you could be too.
“Just a drink,” I said, pulling you by the arm. “I never see you anymore.”
You hesitated, and I could see you debating with yourself through the creases in your forehead and the faraway look in your eyes.
“But T—,” you protested.
I frowned, realizing how much I disliked your girlfriend and not understanding why you continued to be with her.
“Are you serious B—? You have to come celebrate with me.” I had just changed out of my performance dress and was ready to hit DeVerre’s, my favorite bar in Davis. “Just one drink, we need to catch up anyway,” I reasoned, though I also craved company. Real company. Not the false pretenses I was used to with everyone else, but the one where someone solid, someone genuine could laugh with me, listen to me digress about the world, and someone who I could confide in.
You smirked. “All right. Let’s go.”
I smiled triumphantly as we walked towards downtown. It was slightly cold, but I still felt warm and giddy from the night’s performance. We talked like we normally did, catching up like kids who had known each other for years instead of a few months, and it always surprised me how we managed to do that.
We sat on one of the brown couches in the back where the bookcases were. We met a few other friends of mine who drank celebratory drinks with me, but soon left since it was still a school night. I didn’t feel like leaving though. I was still holding on to that temporary happiness that often comes from a good night and I wanted to hold on to it as long as possible. And when I looked over at you, I could see that you were holding on to it too.
So we had another drink, just you and I. And soon, the barriers fell, crashing all around me. But as it fell, something within me was reaching out towards you. It was an affirmation of trust. I knew that I could, and I wanted more than ever to confide in you, hoping you could see me full circle, not just what you had observed.
Like a tidal wave, it crashed into you.
I told you everything.
The dark things, the things that I tried to hide away, the things I could not face, the memories that had consumed me, and everything I was afraid of.
You looked at me in a way I could never forget. There wasn’t sympathy in your eyes, or an expression of being overwhelmed by the onslaught of new information, rather you were awed and said, “That’s how I know you’ll be a writer. Because you’re broken.”
You explained how that gave me the ability to truly feel and write so that others would be able to relate and you showed me that through confiding in me, telling me the things that you wouldn’t dare utter out loud.
With the barriers no longer there, we talked for hours, and within another drink my mind became hazy.
After, we took a walk outside, the night air made me shiver. Overhead the stars watched us and in the distance we heard the echoes of the music from a nearby bar. We walked in a comfortable silence without direction; just being in the moment.
But then all of a sudden, you stopped. You turned to me and said, “You’re everything I want and you’re everything I’ve been looking for.” Your eyes were honest and pure. “You’re perfect.”
I stopped too, and inside my heart hammered, but my mind reasoned with it reminding me that I was broken. I was too lost. I could never allow myself to love or care for anyone again.
You searched my eyes, waiting. Waiting for what? I did not know, but somehow I felt like you could see right through me, for the imposter I was.
“B—, I am far from perfect. I will never be.” I turned away from you, afraid that I would change my mind and say something I would regret, or something I wasn’t ready for.
Then I remembered that we had too many drinks, and I wondered if what you had said was the truth, or out of passion. You remained silent, like the rest of the stars that watched us.
Time passed before we met again, but when we did you smiled as you always did. We exchanged pleasantries and bits of our lives that the other had missed out on.
“How are you and T—?” I couldn’t help, but ask.
“Still together for now, but I really don’t know what’s going to happen once I graduate.”
I nodded all the while gritting my teeth, wondering how you could still be with her when you realized that there was more out there. There was me. So I allowed myself to see it. You and I, but quickly took a step back, afraid. I was not ready.
“We should always keep in touch. Write letters or something about our adventures and all the places that we go,” I suggested.
“You know what? I really miss writing letters. No one does that anymore so yeah, I would be up for it.”
When the time came, and the rain returned I wrote you the first letter and you replied with the second, the third, and then the fourth. But through the cold winter, I had forgotten to reply. So time went on, the seasons changed, and it was only when the leaves began to fall did I remember you and the time we sat looking at the leaves fall in the quad, mesmerized by their dance.
So I wrote the fifth letter, but knew that I may never get a reply and realized then that you were perfect.
Perfect in the way that you were always yourself and perfect in the way that you continued to remain true to who you are. Because those were things I was never able to do. Those were the things that made me so imperfect, so afraid to love, so afraid to lose.
It was a bit like oncoming fall—the leaves fall, reminding you that winter is not far away. That the time for recollection nears, reminding me that you will never be forgotten.