I wrapped you in ribbons
and tied you to my heart,
carrying you with me
wherever I went.
I encased you in a red box
locked with a key,
and I never once opened it,
keeping our memories sweet.
the ribbons are torn
and the box has been opened,
and though I can't keep you nearby anymore,
I'll never forget you.
My mind was, for once, at rest. I had left the phone call from that night with a clearer view of what I was going to do. I knew I had to get away. It sounded harsh, but it was the truth. There was no more I could do to preserve what we once had. It was lost, lost within memories and previous experiences that I remembered so well, but did not live on inside them. They were not ones I would forget, but neither would I hurry to get back to those situations from before.
I had several more conversations with him on the phone since the last one. Each one got more intense, bringing so many more openings. I had got to a point where the phone call became daily routine, and if was not present, then I became sad, and it ruined the rest of my evening. I was dependent on this communication to get me through the week that I was supposed to end everything on.
I was scared, mainly because destroying something so important, and so meaningful to a person, was a big thing to do. I would be ending it, killing off any future pathways that could be created. I didn’t believe anything would come of it if it did continue, but still I could not help feeling guilty for what I was doing.
On Thursday, I had gathered enough confidence to think more in detail about what I would be doing. I was still unsure as to how it would all happened, but I needed to talk to him before the end of the week. Which left me today or tomorrow. I was already half way through the day, and so decided the day after would be better.
I didn’t want to talk to him though. The words and sentences in my mind were already jumbled up, and I felt that, if I did talk to him about it, he would either misinterpret what I was saying as something completely different and get annoyed or frustrated with me, or he would not understand anything I was saying. And neither of those would help the already difficult situation. I needed a way that I could express my views to him without messing it up, or saying something that I really didn’t want to say.
There was a way that I could say it to him, I just didn’t know. I didn’t want to phone him, as it was impersonal, and our phone conversations were rarely meaningful. An email was even less so. I could talk to him online, but misinterpretations were so common whilst we talked that I felt it would hinder all meaning and just make the situation worse.
And then I thought to myself, what about a letter? It may not be the most personal way to potray something so important between two people, but that way I could get my words across effectively without saying anything wrong. I could produce a draft, and go over and over it, until finally it made perfect sense and was everything I wanted to say. And then, hopefully, he would understand. He would not get annoyed, or confused. He may get sad, but that was what was expected, and I knew he would get over it in time.
I was getting upset myself just thinking about it. Even though I had appeared to lose all feeling for him, I still felt so cut up about the whole thing. Not because I was losing him, but rather he was losing me. The whole input of it, the effortless destroying of something was hard to contemplate, and it made me experience a rush of sadness so great that I was almost in tears during my train of thought.
This letter to him was going to be the hardest thing I had ever written. I didn’t know what I would write, or how I would write it. It would be handwritten, I knew that much, but the content was harder to think about. I needed to make sure that, even though I was breaking up with him, I was not meaningfully upsetting him in any other way. I didn’t want to look like a heartbreaker, or a user, just someone that had felt a change of emotion towards someone else. And it was hard to portray that to the receiver of the letter, who would surely try his hardest to point the blame towards me, unless he truly understood. And despite his capabilities and intellect, I doubted that he would. Emotions had not been seen as one of his strong points during this relationship, and that was one thing I was truly certain about.
When I got home, I phoned my release and asked him for his advice. We were so close now, it was almost unreal. We still had only met each other once, yet I felt like we had been friends for years. We still did not know too much about each other from our past, or what we wanted to happen in our futures, but we were sharing our present days as one ,and from that we were really learning about each other.
From how he reacted to certain situations and suggestions, I could gather that he was one of those people that was kind, sympathetic, and full of humour. He looked at things from a light-hearted approached, but when the context became serious, he could easily switch his viewpoint. He understood where I was coming from despite having never been in such a mess, and would willingly talk to me about it until both our throats ran dry. I found it so amazing that he could be all these qualities in one separate person.
I was not deluded like I was before, however much I sounded it. I was still dubious, but these qualities I saw in him were not ones that you could see from afar, they were qualities that were only visible once the observer was nearer to their target, so near that they could almost get inside their head. Even though he was reserved, he let me access certain elements of his personality that I doubted he had let anyone else access before me.
“Hi. Could I talk to you?”
“Sure, what about?” he sounded slightly concerned, and so I changed the tone of how I had started the conversation to something more suitable, as not to worry him.
“I’m breaking up with him tomorrow. And I’m writing a letter. But I don’t know what to write. Any ideas?”
“You make it sound like it’s an article, or project, or something.” He laughed. “Well, you need to get to the point fairly quickly, without being blunt. I don’t know how you would do that, but...”
“Yeah, I do. I need to tell him how much I enjoyed the good bits we had together, and, even though they were great, it just isn’t working any more, and I’m sorry that it had to end this way.”
“Yeah, you should do it like that. Look, I’ve got to go soon, but I can spare five minutes for you at least. Is there anything else you’re having problems with?”
I smiled, happy that he was willing to take up time he needed elsewhere, to speak to me about something that he really didn’t have to help with.
“No, it’s fine. Really, it is. Thank you so much. I think I can write it now, but I wouldn’t have been able to without your help. Thanks.”
“Anytime. Good luck, okay? Tell me how it goes tomorrow. Bye.”
“Bye.” I hung up, and turned to the blank page in front of me, waiting so desperately to be decorated with words from the heart.
‘I’m sorry I have to do this.’ ‘Please do not take this the wrong way.’ ‘I really wish I didn’t have to say this, but...’
None of the sentences I tried starting it with sounded right at all. I remembered back to what he had said, about how I should get to the point quickly, but still highlighting the good points. I had an idea for the start, and so wrote it all down, from start to finish, without stopping until I had reached the final ‘x’ at the end.
I went to reread it through:
“We have had so many good times together. We honestly have. I’ve felt like I’ve really got to get to know you over the past few months, and to be honest, I’m so glad that I have. I’ve seen positives from this that I would not have experienced elsewhere. Thank you for that.
But, however hard I think of them, I can still not get rid of the fact that, despite all these things, it just isn’t working. I don’t know how I can put it all to you, but I know it would be better for both of us if we go our separate ways. Our lack of communication has driven distance between us, and I feel too separated from you now to be able to continue. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me for the pain I have caused you. I should have acted differently, to maybe preserve our relationship, but I didn’t, and I’m sorry for that.
I wrote this in a letter as I felt that if I said it to you face to face I would not get my words out properly. I still want to be friends with you, so much, and I don’t want to completely lose you. Please don’t be angry with me, I am trying to do what is best for both of us, even if it doesn’t seem like it. We can talk after you have read the letter about it, if you feel that would help clear up any confusion.
Thank you for being there. You have done so much for me.
The letter was done. I didn’t even feel I needed to copy it up, or rewrite it. My draft was the final version, and in my mind that seemed a lot more real. It made up for the fact I would not be face to face with him when he found out. I folded the letter, and put it in the pocket of my college bad, before drying my eyes of tears that had fallen from the words I had been writing. Now it was proof in writing that it was well and truly over. All I had to do now was give it to him, and then, the final decision would have been made.
It was Friday, the day that I would end it all. He came in late for registration again, and so I had to wait until break to give him the letter. The lesson before I was nearly in tears, unable to focus on the lesson, and instead thinking about all the possible consequences that could come from this. I didn’t like the thought of any of them. The only one I did like the thought of was the one where he would say, “It’s alright, I understand.” I doubted that would happen. Instead he could be upset, angry, or cut off all contact with me. I didn’t want either. I already had enough guilt in my head. I didn’t need anymore.
I walked slowly back to the common room, dreading the moment that was about to happen. I was so scared. Literally, scared. I didn’t even know if I could face it. When I walked in, late due to my slow pace, he was there, in the middle of the room, talking with some of our friends. I approached him, my hand shaking as I pulled out the letter. Slowly, I tapped him on the shoulder.
“...You need to read this. I’m sorry.”
I pressed the letter into his hand, seeing his confused face as he took it from me. I turned around, unable to even look at him, and went to walk out of the room. I turned back to see him sit down on a table, and open the letter.
And then it was done. My damage had been printed like a recurring pattern against his once warm skin. And as I ran out of the room my own pattern made of tears, guilt, and maybe even relief began to form hot on my face, stinging my eyes through to my mind. These two patterns were never going to fade.