Dearest Friend,

There was once a time when I watched you from the theater wings, while you placed yourself emotionally and deliberately (and so very gracefully) in front of the only audience you would ever invite — to watch you dance. I knew how brave you were to do that, and I loved you so for it.

You were my best friend, after all.

I don’t really remember what it looked like, although I imagine I could look back through my journals and find the chapter. What I think I’d really find, though, is engraved invisibly between my lines — between my thoughts, amidst my feelings — because …

I was going through all the shit in my room tonight. It’s my birthday, did you know? I think you did … maybe you wrote on my Facebook wall? I’ll have to go back and check. But anyway – I was clearing out an old notepad because I’m trying to be a real stickler about 1) not having clutter; 2) not being wasteful — but that’s very hard if you have dozens of half filled (with nonsense or with poetry, who knows??) and you have to cull through all of them. But within the pages of scribbled middle of the night dribble and various expired phone numbers of my nomadic uncle, I found a list entitled:

Things *Mary Must Do (translation: how R can invite M into her self) 
– Read Holes
– 
See King and I; Annie Get Your Gun; Music Man; Fiddler; Kate and Leopold; Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood; Funny Girl; Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

The thing is: those films offer a window into the world of my childhood, a thing that I only actively try to share with people who give me enough time of day to really open my mouth about myself. Because most of the time, I’m steamrolled over by my “own kind” (that would be maniacally extroverted musical theatre kids) … so while my childhood is a quick subject that I come upon when discussing myself (growing up overseas does that to a person) I don’t necessarily get the opportunity to prove it through vintage media and art, if you will.

The fact is, she saw them. And I held her through coming out, and romance (with someone else), and heartbreak, and emotional manipulation (inflicted by the same somebody else, and some other elses) … The first song that I ever wrote of my own volition (and not for a music class) was a love song (of devoted best friendship) for M. 

So now she is a darling little pixie dyke going to one of the best grad schools for her adorably nerdy scientific interest that we never would have guessed when we were fourteen … with her amazing (genderqueer identified, female-presenting) girlfriend. I am so happy for her. 

M, you were one of the first high school friends I introduced my **PM to, and it went well! The only reason that came into my mind was … Do you want to know the moment I remembered I used to be in love with you? When I came across that list and realized that that’s exactly what I’ve done with PM, down to the last stone I stepped on before crossing the grass to receive my freaking diploma. I am so tied to this place, to these people, but I am feeling a drift away. I think I am ready to let go now, actually is what it is, but I’m not sure what I need to bring with me. I need to be free for a little while, I think? Just to be able to feel something out on my own … except that I’m supposed to pull all the strings I have in order to climb as high and fast as possible. And I’m bringing baggage (in addition to family money, okay) because with that family money comes family involvement and they are what is driving me into this hole of despair. 

I will fly. You’ll laugh when I tell you whom I’ve asked to design my tattoo. And don’t worry, you’ll be one of the (maybe even the) first to see it. I know I told you that would be the case; I’m not sure if the rules have changed in these recent chapters of our relationship. I’m sorry I left you when we lived in the same city, but I had to go somewhere else to incubate for a little while. I had to find a shell, a cocoon, a womb (chair) in which to grow for a little while.

And now I’m ready to be grown, or at least I feel ready enough! And so maybe new love is on our horizon, whatever it may look like. I’m just glad I kept this list around until now. And now I may keep this letter until I find something else to replace it that can help remind me of you. To remember to miss you. It is so hard sometimes to keep everyone you love at the surface of your heart and memory. Sometimes I imagine my love to be like water suspended on top of a penny, about to burst over but not quite. And you are so focused on the droplet that just dropped from the pipette that you forget what happened to the 4th through 11th drips, at least. 

I’ve fallen in love a lot of times, but I haven’t romanced many. Thank you for helping me practice for the person that I am really fighting to have be the one. This PM, if you will. 

So thank you. 

Love,

Ray

 

 

*name has been switched
**Problem Man/Perfect Match/Primary Migraine/Partially Mine/Pipe Master 

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