Unsent letter

When you come home to me, I’ll greet you with a smile and open arms. I will take in all the ways the passing years have changed you, like seeing the ghosts of a green and fresh July in the shrivelled October leaves. Somehow, your eyes are even sadder. Maybe you will finally tell me what was troubling you, and I’ll comb my fingers through your hair, feeling how long it’s grown since the night you got it buzzed off.

Maybe you’ll feel disgust at how weak I am for still loving you, despite the way you treated me. To that, I’ll say I’ve come to recogize your stoic face as just a baby’s pout, your brutality as nothing but a temper tantrum. My heart is so strong and full of love, that it is able to love even you.

You never deserved it, but I decided on one of those early nights of knowing you that you needed it. It may have been the conversation about your stillborn sibling, or about how you never cry, not even when your father died, or the way your eyes lit up when you spoke to me about your big dreams. You had so much confidence and joy in yourself, imagining yourself becoming the hero of this small town.

You would crumble if you had to carry this truth inside of you for a single day. I’ve carried it for four years.

When you come home to me, I will have my revenge: you will become weak in my arms. I will coddle you until you melt in my warmth and learn what it feels like to be your most vulnerable self. That unfamiliar, far-away frown will break open into a cry. We will have all the time in the world. I will hold you until you have fully explained to me what cold and endless weakness made you act with such disdain for my humanity.

My dear and lost first love, tell me: who are you becoming?