Love Letter for a Love Letter

Once upon a time I was a stubborn, lonely, smart, confused and confusing girl of 12.  I was in Middle School, and I didn’t like it. The people who had been my friends had graduated and gone to high school, I alternately pitied and envied the reigning cliques of popular boys and girls, I wrote prose/poems at the rate of one or two a day, and I thought myself a diamond in the rough.

It was in this year that I first met another girl, smart, lonely, confused – she did a considerably better job of meshing with the reigning cliques than I did, but I think that she sat mostly on the outside as well.

We weren’t best friends, but we were friends. We weren’t always together, but we sometimes were.

We weren’t always together in high school. We started at the same school, joined the theater club at the same time, but I went to New York for a while, and then to a smaller, weirder, more progressive school. She followed, but kept ties to the theater club. We ran in some of the same circles, but not all.

But we grew together. We stuck together. And when clashes between other friends threatened to pull us apart, we found ourselves unwilling. We’d known each other longer, by then. We already marveled at how long.

We went to college far from eachother, and then moved to separate places. She called me up in tears. I called her up in tears. Our friendship was never based in being with each other all the time, in seeing each other every day or telling each other everything. I don’t know the names of all her friends. I don’t know everything she does.

She changed. Straightened her hair then stopped straightening it. Her body changed as she grew up, more than mine did. She got a tattoo, she became a vegetarian, she fell in love with a girl. I was surprised, impressed, overjoyed.

I am surprised, impressed, overjoyed.

I changed – she could tell you how better than I could, probably. Subtle things inside of me. I still have the same hairstyle, still wear the same clothes, same body type – but I began to choose words and labels more carefully (and then stopped labeling myself at all), I cordoned off the things that hurt me and open myself fully to the things that brought me joy. My stubbornness came to the forefront, and I refused any path offered and walked into the wilderness alone.

She watched me, supported me, reminded me to love myself.

She supports me, and reminds me to love myself.

What I am trying to say is that I write about food and I write about May and I write about Z and I write about sex, and gender, and life, and sadness and joy.

These things make up my day-to-day existence. This girl makes up the fabric of my life. She is a longer story than that. She is in the background all the time. I think about her every day. I think about all the things that she is. I think maybe my life is destined to end with two old ladies in a house somewhere, with cats and plants and potato salad, with our hair growing white and our smiles unshakable, having fought all our battles, all our lives, away form each other, having loved and supported each other from a distance for so long, and having finally come together, safe from the world and it’s wreckage, joyous and peaceful and good.

That is decades in the future, but I want to say, that I have been her friend for 10 years now, and she has been mine. And our friendship is not like other friendships in our lives. It is unshakable. It is irreplaceable. It is not as simple as that. Maybe she’s the love of my life. Certainly I know the idea of her being angry with me or disappointed in me is scarier than the thought of similarly letting down any romantic partner I’ve ever had. You know, they come and go. She came so long ago, she’s always been there. I don’t know what would happen if she ever, ever went.

I don’t have the words for this. I don’t know how to say, that when we announced ourselves as married on a social networking site, that may not have been strictly true, but really wasn’t a joke. We had no ceremony, we just fell into being bonded to each other more closely than to anybody else, with all our distance and all our time apart. Nobody can come between us. Nobody should try. Nobody should say a word against her in my presence. Where she is concerned, I have no sense of humor. Only fiercely loyal, protective love.

She sent me a love letter. I know she’s worked on it, on and off, for months. She started in a sad time, and I think she might be on the brink of a happy time, and I’m so glad. She wrote me a love letter, pasted pictures out of magazines and snippets and quotes that made her think of me and she sent it here, full of grace. And she demurs now and says she was in a weird place when she wrote it, like it’s no big thing or maybe over the top. As if it could be.

I think she may be the first person I ever trusted not to leave me.

I keep glancing over, now, at her love letter to me, and my eyes keep prickling like maybe I’m going to cry.

She wrote me a love letter, and I wrote her this.

I hope you like it. I hope you know how much I love you. I hope you know I’ll never stop and I’ll never forget and no matter how far away I am, I’m not going anywhere. I hope you know.

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