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unsent letter 10.6.14
2014-10-06 // 11:12 p.m.

I thought about you the other night while I was watching tv. I watch on my phone at night, the screen held close to my face, and I still don't ignore the commercials. This one was for a detective show set in El Paso.

Remember the screen play you were writing, the one with the crime family and the dark haired femme fatale and the bumbling friend who'd been murdered? I wondered if this show would have anything like that. It was good, you know. It could have been better, but it wasn't bad when you were writing it. Did I forget to tell you that? Sometimes I wonder if I wasn't supportive enough. Did I stop you from writing?

I'm not writing much these days. I keep trying and it keeps coming out wrong. Nobody is saying what I want them to and the action feels forced. Amateurish.

Is it wrong that I wonder if that would make you happy? Oh, but I do. I didn't believe that you really wanted me to write. Maybe I'm wrong. I'd rather be.

But I saw that commercial and I got excited to tell you about it. The first season is streaming on hulu. I remember how excited you were about the lights of El Paso at night, and they appeared at the end of the commercial and I got tears in my eyes because I'm not talking to you right now. Fucking stupid.

I realized something recently: whenever I do something stupid, I use the nickname you gave me for myself. I talk to myself about myself using that name, and I only realized recently that the nickname, for me, was a stand in for "idiot." Did I do that, or did you? It's hard to tell. I'll take it, though. Sounds like something I'd do.

And then today I was walking the dog and another dog came running up. She looks just like our little pup, and the two of them wanted so badly to play together. She didn't have tags, and I thought for a moment that if you were here, we'd have another dog. Just like that. You'd have scooped her up and looked for her owner, but really you'd have been planning on taking her in.

I decided her name could be Ava Gardner. Then I thought maybe not.

Remember how you called me while I was at work about finding the dog, and how we were going to move to New York City, but not if there was a dog in our lives? And then I held her and it didn't matter where we went, because she was so small and beautiful and maybe we could stay put with her, maybe we didn't even have to move?

I hate the way time moved for us. So slow, and then fast in all the wrong places.

It did that again. I guess that's why I can't talk to you right now. The months after I moved felt slow, deliberate, careful. Hard, too. But it felt right. And you reached out to me and I could see it coming like a little tendril shooting out from a plant in time lapse. Slow, but not achingly so. Fast, really, when I thought about it. But I wasn't thinking.

And you latched on and it felt natural. It felt right and ok.

Do I need to tell you again how much it hurt to see the words "I fell in love with someone else" typed out in an email? How much it felt like you were stabbing me in the chest? That part was fast.

I'm still recovering. I'm going to be recovering for a while.

Meanwhile, you're moving on. She's moving in. You're making plans and maybe you're going to follow through on some of them. You move quickly or you don't move at all, and this is all so fast.

I want to say: Please, just can you not marry her? Can you not post pictures of her moving in where I can see them?

It's too much to say those things, so I don't. I never really admitted that I want to get married, because you just seemed so against it. The way you joked about proposing to me in public because I said I wouldn't ever say yes to that. I never wanted a white dress and a fancy ceremony, but it's true that I want to commit myself to someone I love, and that I want to do it with our friends and family around us. I felt like you'd think that was stupid.

It was. It wasn't. Isn't. Whatever.

This time last year I was applying to a job far away from where we lived. I was starting to pack up. I was lying on the kitchen floor and crying, hitting bruises into my legs so I'd calm the fuck down.

Understand me when I say: I don't want you back. I don't want our life together. I don't want to kiss you or fuck you or anything. I'm done with that, and part of me feels foolish for thinking I could want it again. But sometimes I miss you, and I hope you miss me. I'll be ready to talk to you again someday in the probably not distant future, but not now.


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