It's been a year. Do you realise that? Does that register in your mental diary? Probably not. Your life has moved on! Well I suppose your big news means that you're happy. I worried for a long time that you really weren't. Wishful thinking, perhaps. I suppose there was some comfort in hoping that you had left yourself half as miserable as you had left me.
I wonder if I realised then that you were more to me that I was to you. I like to think that, somewhere deep down, I knew it. In fact though, I think I was clueless. They say that love is blind, don't they? I always thought that was just a sentimental turn of phrase. I didn't know it was true. You assured me that I was what you wanted. You told me I made you happy, optimistic, thankful, and I bought it all. Does that make me very trusting, or you very smooth?
Come to think about it, I didn't know much about love at all. If you'd asked me, I'd have said that I'd been in love before, and would have believed it. I know now that I hadn't. You were my first true love. I'm sad that you shot into my life and out again in a matter of weeks, and in so little time left me questioning such a lot. It was all just too much really, too fast, wasn't it?
That weekend in York, by the way, was the happiest time I have ever spent. I don't care that the hotel room was hideous, or that it rained all weekend. I don't much mind that my train broke down and it took me hours to get home. I was quite the happiest I've ever been for those 48 hours, and that memory still reduces me to tears.
So anyway, something happened, and I'll never know what it was. You changed your mind about seeing me? About seeing anyone? Was it too much effort? You met someone else? Who knows? Who cares! I don't want to know. It won't make any difference to know. I wanted to know then, and you hung up. Now, I don't care.
What I do care about is that you broke me. I don't think you meant to. I don't think you could have anticipated that I'd be so shattered. In fact, I suspect that you still don't know. But that phone call (a phone call, for crying out loud!) left me hollow. Broken.
A year. It's not a long time, is it? But these twelve months have been quite a slog. I'm sad that it was you who made it so hard, when you meant so much to me. It took a long time to stop being surprised that you weren't there any more. Every time I thought of you, it smarted. Then every other time. Then once in a while. Then hardly at all. It's taken a long time to stop seeing you in crowds, or hearing your voice in a busy room.
So I'm writing say goodbye. I wish I could be magnanimous enough to want to keep in touch, but your most recent news smarted rather more than I can bear. I wish I could say that I just don't care. But I do, so I think it's best that I take my leave.
Yours, not with love now, but still with best wishes still.
Dear Boy 2
I'm so pleased that you came back when you did. I'm so pleased that you chose to get in touch with me. You didn't need to drop me a line that day, so I wonder why you did. No matter. You did, and I'm glad.
It's just that the timing was all wrong, you see. I did allude to it, but I didn't really tell you. I hoped that I wouldn't need to and that it would all come good in time. But it didn't really, did it?
You were so patient with me. You waited until I thought I was ready, and then you waited some more, and in all that time you kept in touch - emails, and text messages every day. You were just what I needed. You gave me something to look forward to, and you kept me sane. I wonder if you know how much I came to depend on you in those few months. You were my rock, and I don't think I ever said thank you for that. So thank you. I owe you a great deal for your inadvertent support this year.
And when we did go out, you were wonderful. I felt like I'd known you always, and it was so easy to spend time with you. You made it possible for me to let me hair down and enjoy being on a date, when actually I was so very nervous about it. About you. About everything, really.
It was just that I got scared. Your invitation away for the weekend felt so soon. The last time I went away for the weekend, I came home in love, and then it all went wrong, and I was panicked by the idea of starting that cycle again. I was still finding my feet, really, and your invitation, so well meant, threw me.
I don't think for a second that you would have hurt me in the same way. You're a very different man. I realise that now. But I felt so overwhelmed. You asked whether it was because I didn't like you, and it just seemed easier to say yes. It wasn't true. I knew as I was saying it that it was a lie I'd not come back from. But you made it so much easier to say yes to that, that to unravel all the things I was really feeling and thinking and fretting about. I wish a hundred times each week that I could go back to that night and play it again.
Ironically, when I turned you away, the only person who I knew would really comfort me was you. That's when I realised that I'd done the wrong thing. I just couldn't talk to you though. I don't talk (about real things I mean) to anyone much.
And now what? You've got this new girlfriend, and by all accounts, you're happy. I'm glad for you, if resentful that she, unlike me, knew a good thing when she saw it. If I thought for a second that you weren't happy, I'd tell you how much I regret that evening. I'd tell you how much I want to go back to that moment and tell you that I do like you. A lot. And that I'd love to spend time with you, but that I'm just not ready to go away for the weekend. It sounds so simple now. Such easy words. Why couldn't I find those words that night, without being thrown so far off balance? If I was brave enough I'd tell you that I would give the world for another chance.
But that's the thing. You would be taking a chance with me. I'm a flight risk, and I can't pretend I'm not. You know that more than anyone. So no matter how much I regret my flustered reaction, I can't ask you to give up something that clearly makes you happy to take that chance on me again. I'd like to. But it wouldn't be fair to you. I would need to be able to assure you that I wouldn't do the same again, and I can't do that. I can promise you that I'd try, but that's just not enough.
It worries me a lot that I did to you as he had done to me. You said yourself that I wasn't the only casualty of the happenings of last winter, and you're right. I'm upset to think that I might have hurt you - you of all people, when you are so thoughtful yourself. I'm so sorry for my very poor behaviour. I'm sorry that I tarred you with the same brush as others who'd preceded you. I'm sorry that I did wrong by you, not least of all because in doing so, I did wrong by myself. I'm so very sorry.
What a shame, you wonderful man, that you turned up when you did. If only it had been six months, or a year later, I might have been better able to enjoy you. I'd have loved to have loved you. Instead you overwhelmed me with charm and kindness, and I rejected it and you.
I'm writing because I find it so hard to talk about these things. I'm putting it down here because I'm too much of a coward to talk to say it out loud. And I just thought that you should know that I wish you were here every day, and that when you send me a text message, I feel a little bit warmer and that when I see you I don't want the evening to end and when it does, I feel again that I've lost something.
That's all. I just thought you should know.
With love, as always