I always read your letters alone. Written by hand on pale yellow paper, sent in envelopes marked with only my name, they were good letters. Grounding letters.
Letters that reminded me of love.
But never spoke of it.
That’s how we were.
For those three long years of our correspondence, we were always writing between the lines. Playing with each other.
With your wife.
Too much time.
So much time that, when I finally read the words I had been waiting for, there was nothing left to do but laugh.
Because it was far too late to cry.
His hand was on my back as he told me to inhale.
I was coughing and couldn’t breathe, pushing his hand and running.
A bathroom spinning.
On his couch, I felt his arm surrounding my body, breath on my neck and face.
Laughter. My own.
"You know I can’t," I said.
My face in his freezer, searching for sweetness.
"You’re plenty sweet."
I was on his bed again, still laughing as he pushed my shirt up, not thinking of the other boy.
The one who was waiting for me.
It was cold behind the bushes. She crossed her arms over her legs again and stared between the needles.
She felt the blades of grass slipping between her fingers as she tugged, uncertain how to make physical strain outweigh emotional pain. All she knew was that the minor act of destruction felt good.
That the destruction she wrought on her heart, too, was satisfying.
Waiting to see if her absence would be noticed, she couldn’t decide if she preferred it there, wrapped in her own indignation, or back amidst her “friends.”
Twenty years later, she still wasn’t sure.