Dear Love: fuck you. I used to think you
would mean the world to me. At nine years old, I believed
you were something dreams were made of. I dotted my i’s
with little red hearts, and gently I pressed
little-girl kisses on Sticky Notes I left on my crush’s desk.
And even though I watched him peel each note off of wood
and three-point-shoot them into a bin, I stayed in love with the idea of you.
Early on, I knew you were going to hurt me.
Dear Love: where were you? Puberty was not so kind to me.
At thirteen, I jealously watched you flit
from couple to couple on February the 14th, smelling
of market-bought flowers and candy hearts. I saw you in the knowing smiles
of boys and girls who held hands in jacket pockets, because public displays of affection
meant a one-way ticket to the Principal’s Office.
Love, you sure took your time, I got used to never receiving anything on Valentines.
Dear Love: why couldn’t you stay? At fifteen, you meant the smile thrown over the shoulder
of the girl who sat in the front row in English class. You
were in every “Good Morning” and “Sweet Dreams” she texted me, you
sat in the creases that formed around her eyes whenever she laughed, I felt you
in the way her gentle hands trembled when she touched me. The first time she and I kissed,
she held my face with her fingertips as if I was made of spun glass.
Love, I know I never gave you enough reason to stay, right when I was warming up to you,
but it would have been great if you did, anyway.
Dear Love: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m sorry. At seventeen,
you came back again on a summer night, sailing on notes played
on an out-of-tune guitar. I did not fall into you this time, I’ll have to admit
the guy you introduced me to wasn’t really my type, but dear God
when he told me he liked me, the butterflies I thought were dead inside me
multiplied and flew around in my stomach. My ribcage
transformed into an aviary for beautiful, hopeful little things. I felt you
in every letter he wrote to me, you were underneath the pillow that he and I shared
in that creaky bunk bed that wasn’t even ours—never mind the fact that he had to leave
at 3 am to go back to his own room. Love, I will never
stop apologizing for pushing you away. When he and I ended up liking
the same books, the same songs, the same shows,
same actors, writers, pictures, the same damnedest little things,
I got scared. What I did still haunts me to this day. It hovers over my head like a ghost
I feel nauseous when I remember how I made him cry.
He and you deserved better.
Dear Love: you started leaving a bitter taste in my mouth,
because at eighteen, I began wearing my heart upon my sleeve,
sewing and un-sewing it again and again on whatever I wore just to see
if anyone would hold it, even just for a couple of months. And somebody did.
I knew it was you coming back for revenge, because you
came with someone you knew my unhappy self could never resist: a pretty girl
who told me I was pretty too. I fell hard—I laughed at all of her jokes,
I walked with her, talked to her, held her in my arms and told her,
“you’ll finish this year!”, I kept all of her gifts
and the promises I made, even when she didn’t,
I was fucking good to her. This time, you left me. She left with you.
Dear Love: how dare you do this to me. If you sprinkled crushed lead
all over my heart, you would see how the dust sticks to the fingerprints
that all of them have left, I am still writing about them, even though by this time
I should have run out of words to explain how you
still really hurt. At nineteen, I know that I do not have all the years I should have
to really complain, but dear Love:
if you had a neck, I would wring it. Dear Love: my heart
is not a test tube, you do not put fragments of people and stories and promises in it
just to see what happens next. This is my final letter.
Dear Love: I know
you are meant to be an open-ended story,
an ellipsis, a dot-dot-dot to be continued, a question
to be met with infinite answers. And I know that I hate you for fucking me over.
But dear Love:
for the love of all things good,
keep coming around.
Nina, one of LitOrgy’s most anticipated readers, performed this piece at last week’s LitOrgy 6, at Cork and Barrel, Obrero.