Dear Dead Lover,
I am sorry to inform you of this, but you are dead. Do not be confused by what may appear to be normal signs of life: breathing, a pulse, a thought. I have diagnosed you and you are certainly, unequivocally, without a doubt dead. There will be no eulogy, no funeral. I have buried you in the region of my body farthest from my head. I believe that this is somewhere in the feet, possibly in one of the toes, but the exact location is unknown and better left undisclosed.
I have done this because thinking of you has caused me anguish. I have spent hours reflecting on our time together and this is the right moment to put it all away. I will build walls around every emotion, minor or significant, that I have ever felt for you. They will be strong walls, made from each moment in which you slighted me. I will cut you from every meaningful event we attended together. I will do it with such precision that it will be as if you were never there and, upon recollection, no one, not even your parents or best friends, will notice your absence. As a result, my heart will harden.
I do this not with malice, but with regret. Sometimes I think that, if I were stronger, you could still be alive. I am weak. I cannot bear the moment you will appear in my mind. My mind will play tricks on me, it will deceive me, it will make me miss you. I cannot let it do this. This isn’t fair—I know that this isn’t fair. I must do what I can to cope. I have enough to worry about. I can’t chance that you will appear at random or, perhaps, when I am most vulnerable.
The others who talk of you, they will become quiet when I am around. They will ask me how my day is going, but with a look that makes me feel distraught. I won’t get upset; I will have expected this to happen. Instead, I will feel the need to smoke a cigarette, though I have never smoked one before. I may ask them for one in an effort to change the conversation.
Sometimes I will think about the good moments. How excited you were when we first met. How my heart thumped the first time we laid down together and you casually draped your arm over me. When you put your hand inside my mitten that cold night just so you could hold mine. When you said that “that sound” I make is your favorite sound. When I did anything that was your favorite. When I realized that, for once, I found someone like myself who enjoyed my company, my thoughts, my expressions.
These thoughts, though, will appear during moments of weakness and be fleeting. They will not last. They will be quickly replaced by the feeling of insignificance you put upon me, a darkness that will cloud my mind and cause me to shudder, just as I do when a chill blows by. There will be the memory of you being incapable of returning my love. The memory of how I failed to keep you close. The memory of you telling me, on the drive home to our apartment, that you no longer loved me and how you did this without remorse or any expression at all.
If my life is a book, then there is no chapter for you. You are not scribbled in the margin and you are nowhere to be found in the first draft. You are not even a Post-It note in my research. You are a scrap of paper in my pocket. You are no better or worse than the other scraps around you, buried deep in my pockets. Over time, you will become one with the others, just a collective, forgotten memory.
A number of months from now I will meet someone else. Someone who reminds me why it is I love humanity. Someone who makes me laugh when you could not, someone who understands my thoughts better than you ever did. Someone who doesn’t make me feel bad about myself when I wake up in the morning. Then you will be gone, possibly forever. Until that time, this letter will suffice.
Dead lover, I am sorry for this. I am sorry for all of it. I hope that you will understand.
PS: I write this with sincerity, so it would be unfair to exclude that, at times, I will wonder where you are now. In moments of weakness, I will type your name into Facebook to see how you’ve changed. There will be times when I will look at my Gmail account and briefly un-hide your name in the chat window, just to see if you still exist. These will be sorry reminders. You will always be there. I do not know if I will have the courage to say, “how are you?”