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A Letter to an Old Lover
A Letter to an Old Lover,
In the first grade, a new girl had transferred to my school. She was very shy and didn’t talk to many people. One day, another boy was making fun of her for her race when I stood up and started yelling at him for doing so. Since that day, the girl and I became best friends. We all know that everyone in school is more or less friends until we reach about fourth or fifth grade, which is when our class discovered who was on “top” and who was below the dirt. I, of course, was lower than the ground itself. Unfortunately for me, the girl who I stood up for in the first grade realized that she would prefer to be friends with the Populars than with fat, little losers like me. So she left.
We didn’t talk after that. She left me alone. By myself. Friendless. Lonely. I’d come home crying. I’d sit alone at lunch and play by myself at recess. No one would talk to me after that. I was completely isolated from everyone in the classroom. Being alone is my biggest fear. Having no one. Not being loved.
I transferred schools after that. My parents said it was now or never because they didn’t want to start my little brother at one school and have to switch to another because things weren’t getting better for me. That’s when I met my award of a best friend. My Emmy. That’s when I met my Boo who was my older sister, in a way. I had friends. Things were so nice. I met you. You were so nice. You were sweet. You were caring. I thought you really liked me.
It’s amazing all the things I remember. I remember how you would play “Frosty the Snowman” and the famous “sad trombone” sound with the mute at band rehearsals. At the very end of 7th grade we took a trip to the capitol. Emma and I sat in front of you and Ryan. You would put your head through the seats and claim it was the “guillotine.” I had the picture that Ms. Magis took of the four of us until my computer got demolished and I lost all my middle school memorabilia, but that’s a different tale. In math class we would steal each other’s pencils and calculators. I remember when Alex A. and Matt came up to me and told me how you had a crush on me in the beginning of 8th grade. I remember thinking you were cute. I remember when there was a whole two weeks where we sat next to each other in every class. And, despite how embarrassing it must be for you to know that I noticed this, I did, in fact, notice you staring at my body. Especially my upper body one day when I decided to twist my upper body in Social Studies with Mrs. G and caught your eyes on my chest. You didn’t look me in the eyes for the rest of the period and I couldn’t stop giggling about it. Your eyes were very blue and it even appeared as if you were drooling a bit. Your mouth was in a pretty solid “O” form and you were leaning on your desk in my direction.
I remember the day Fred asked me out. The rest of the class had just left for an assembly in the gym. Fred asked when it was just he and I alone in the classroom. I told him no, but I remember looking across the gym and seeing your face. It might have just been me making things up, but you looked hurt. I thought you had figured I would say yes to Fred. I remember just curling up in Emma’s arms after that. I was afraid things could’ve been hurt for us because of that.
We danced together four times at the first dance and nine times at the second dance. I remember how nervous you were to ask me. I remember how happy it made me feel. I remember how at the first slow song of the second dance we both were looking for each other across the gym and I remember the moment when we finally found each other. It was like something out of a stupid chick-flick. The fourth song we danced to at the second dance was “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith. I remember that partially because it was the fourth song and I also had a dream of dancing to that song; it’s a favorite ballad of mine.
I remember the forty-one monkeys you e-mailed me that just so happened to have been blowing kisses at me. I have those e-mails saved.
I remember so, so many things that happened between you and me during our eighth grade year.
I remember the big 8th grade fieldtrip. I remember dancing with each other on the boat. I remember just wanting to have a good time. I remember sitting with each other at the table and my taking pictures of you and Emma and the pretty purple flowers and the water outside the window. I remember how I was too afraid to go on the giant swings downtown. I remember standing there, looking at you with your hand out towards me, but I was too scared. That’s one of the biggest regrets I have in my life thus far. I’ve had dreams about what would and could have happened if I had just taken your hand. In my defense, I also had no idea that there were doubles seats until after the ride had begun. I remember how I was so upset that my cell phone connection was so terrible at the zoo. I never got your text asking to meet by the gorillas until we had to go back to the bus. Another regret I have dreamt over and over again. In a way, it would have been like our first date. I remember when we were messing around in McDonald’s. There was a sphere that had and electric-looking ball inside it and whenever you touched the outside of the sphere, a line would connect the inside ball to the outside sphere. I remember you saying the reason why we could hang out was because your mom didn’t want you to date until high school. I remember demanding that you take pictures with me. My uncle told me to always take pictures so I can always remember the happy moments of my past. I remember when Georgie ripped the butterflies Mrs. Cummings had put on everyone’s locker with their specific names on it. Georgie then stapled them back together but so that they read “Hera” and “Launry.” I still have the “Hera” one in a box full of memories I have in my closet.
I’ve had lots of dreams involving us, to be quite honest.
On May 31st around three in the afternoon you sent me a text, “<3.” I remember texting you all throughout Matt’s graduation party. I remember taking your watch while we were on the swing at Claire’s graduation party. I remember having it and just holding it in my hands. It was kind of nice having something to remind me of you even though I did give it back later on. It was good while it lasted, I suppose. You spent lots of time playing Minecraft. You were going to teach me how to play Call of Duty. We never hung out that summer. We barely texted. But it was okay because I knew we would hang out more once we got to high school.
I remember when I found a beautiful white dress at Windsor that actually fit me. I remember how it made me feel like Cinderella. I remember telling you about this dress.
I remember you later telling me how you wish you could buy that incredibly expensive white dress for me.
I remember loving you for even saying that.
Did you mean that?
I remember trying to talk to you when we first got to high school. It seemed like you didn’t know me. You gave me weird looks like, “why are you talking to me? Go away.” I remember trying to talk to you on the bus. You and I shared the same bus when you had to go to golf after school. You were too busy talking to the other golf boys to talk to me. You didn’t seem to care for me anymore. You seemed to have wanted to be with the Populars rather than someone like me, someone deeper than the dirt.
Does this sound familiar?
Have you heard this type of story before?
Perhaps in this very letter?
Perhaps regarding a shy, new girl in first grade?
You’re dating that very girl right now.
When I got to high school, I was naïve. I was asked by that same girl, the one who left me in the dirt, if I wanted to be friends again. If I wanted to let her back into my life. Little, naïve me said yes, of course. She liked me once, she can like me again.
Look at where she is now.
She also left me at the beginning of that year. She met new people; better people. You did the same. And now the two of you are together. What a small world.
You know she never saw you as a person until she and I were friends again for a while before and at the very, very beginning of high school when I couldn’t stop talking about you. I missed you so much. I missed our talks. I missed our jokes. I still miss them sometimes.
I remember the football game. I went to the football game originally to be with Giselle and Alex. Alex wound up not being able to make it, but you were able to show up. I remember how you actually started talking to me. I remember how you were trying to act up the dorky, 8th grader I fell in love with. I remember how you were attempting to “get me back,” in a way. I remember texting Erika all about it, saying how I didn’t know what to do with you. I was too afraid to let you back in. I didn’t want you to just hurt me like so many other people in my life have done. I let your current girlfriend back in my life multiple times and each time it gets worse and worse.
I was so afraid you’d just hurt me again.
That’s when I learned the motto, “if it doesn’t work the first time, why the hell would it work a second time?”
I remember staying up until very late in the morning. I remember crying. I remember texting you. I remember telling you how I loved you. I still love you, the 8th grader you, that is.
I remember how you said you were sorry. I remember how you kept saying how you loved me.
I couldn’t do it.
I just couldn’t let you back into my life. If you were to just hurt me a second time… I don’t know what I would have done.
I couldn’t risk it.
I remember giving up and just going to bed crying.
Now you’re dating Liana and according to every social media account she has, things couldn’t be better for you two. I’m glad. I don’t want you to be unhappy. Did you both hurt me? Yes, very, very much. In fact, I’m still crying about some of it. I’m crying as I type this. I’ve been crying. But do I want to cause you pain? In all honesty, I have wanted to punch the both of you in the face several times, especially you lately. But I really do want you both to have a happy ending. Do I think that ending will be with each other? No, not really. Most high school relationships not last forever, better yet happily ever after. And despite whatever you may think, being in a high school relationship for eight months is nowhere near being “practically married.”
I remember starting this letter with such anger towards you. I’ve had dreams of yelling all of this at you while sitting next to you during study hall. But I’ve also had dreams of you being there to hold me when I needed someone. Those probably won’t happen. I doubt you even wanting to be near me, especially with the knowledge of my occasional fury towards you. As I continued writing this, I eased up a bit. Writing all of this down in words has been a nice release. I usually write my emotions in a sort of poem or a story in a fictional land, but just simply writing like this was a nice way of just letting it all go.
Now I must ask… Did you ever really love me?
Do you still love me?
Do you ever miss me as I miss you?
Was I the one who changed?
I’m sorry if I hurt you. I’m sorry I did hurt you. I’m sorry if I still hurt you.
There’s not much left to say here.
Do I think I will always love you? Of course.
Do I think we should try actually going on that first date?
No. I’m still scared. Plus, I think you’d rather be with those on the ground than those below it.
I doubt you’ll be reading this. Really, unless some sort of copy finds its way into your hands, I don’t really intend on you to ever read this. Maybe I’ll give it to you at graduation.
I remember when you hugged me at our eighth grade graduation. I never wanted you to let me go. I just wanted you to comfort the ridiculous, little, crybaby me. I think deep down I knew this sort of thing would happen. Middle school wouldn’t last and the things and people I loved from that time would change. Maybe that’s why I cried so much.
It’s currently 2:10 in the morning on Sunday, September eighth. I’ve been writing this letter for well over an hour now. I think I’ve said pretty much everything I can have to say. There’s really no point in continuing. It’s not like we even talk much now. You have Liana to talk to.
I think this is about it for the letter.
I don’t know what else I can or should say.
You know, all I’ve ever wanted was to get some proof that someone out there loves me. Proof that a friends loves me, a father loves me, you love me…
Someone, somewhere has to love me right?
I hope so.
I’m glad you show Liana how much you love her. I’m glad you buy her things. I’m glad you take her out to dinners and movies and all that. I’m glad she knows how much you care about her. If dealing with me taught you anything, let it be that you know how you should show a girl how you care. I mean, it hurts to see Liana getting everything I dreamed of for over a year of my life, but I’m glad she’s getting it. I’m happy you two are happy together.
You know, you’re still labeled as “Cookie” in my phone contacts. I remember how you got that name. You kept on eating my cookies. I remember when Erika and I were at the mall and I bought the cookie monster glasses and sent you a picture. I remember when you made your Skype. I even remember talking to you sister over Facebook about how she could talk to me if she needs to. We’re still friends on there to this day, despite me deactivating my account because some things I see on there just hurt too much.
I even saw your little sister, Lisa, in the halls the other day and waved towards her. Tell her that I love her with short hair for me if you ever read this, okay? She really does look absolutely precious.
Okay, I think I’m really done.
This letter is getting longer than I anticipated.
Well, I’ll see you around in band and school and such.
Best of luck to you and Liana.
And luck to you and your next partner and any and all that might occur after that, however many partners you have until you find the perfect one. Not just one that you love and want to treat right, but one that does the same for you.
I hope you’re happy.
I loved you.
I still do.
See you ‘round.
You know who this is.
P.s. I’m definitely aware how stupid and cliché this writing probably is but it’s currently 2:39 and I’ve been listening to the same song about 43 times now while crying and writing this letter for the past two or so hours. I couldn’t really care less. I got my point written down whether you understand it or not.
Also, I know if you do read this, you’ll probably wind up sharing it with someone, maybe Liana or some other friend of yours. Go ahead. Share it. Share it with the whole damn school if it makes you happy. I don’t care. I’m not going to deny the truth, which is what I believe this letter to be. If sharing it with everyone will make you happy, I’ll take the embarrassment. There’s not much left added humiliation can do to me anyway. Plus, I’d kind of even expect it from high school Henry. He’s very different from the middle school Henry I know. Maybe you’ve been this way the whole time. Who the hell knows? I’m done now. Bye, I guess.