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Dear Ex Crush

Letter Challenge Day Seven – Ex-Crush

Dear J–,

Hey buddy, it’s been a long time. About TEN LONG YEARS. Wow, that is a terrible reference to make right now and pretty much completely irrelevant except for the opening line.

Anyway, remember me? I was the little freckled tag-along with hideous fly-eye glasses, best friends with your sister, the city girl who tried so hard to countrify herself so she could follow you around! My brother idolized you and so did I. At church we played blob-tag and you were the fastest. Whenever I tagged you, you quit because we would’ve had to hold hands next round. I put sticks of gum in your shirt pocket when we fought, along with notes that were generally comprised of: I’m sorry. I wrote Bible passages with your namesake referenced as birthday messages. You taught me sarcasm and pranks, and how to mock movies. You took out the noise makers in the Sunday School classroom plushies so Elmo and Bigbird would laugh hysterically when I flung my purse around. When my eyes started burning from allergies in that field, you waited with me while your sister brought back clean water to rinse with. You helped me off of roofs I was dared to climb onto and laughed when the male goat head butted me. We walked half a mile to your grandmother’s house and picked blackberries in the creek. We played dinosaur games, teased your older siblings, teased each other, fought about duck genders, and vacationed a lot with both our families. You all stayed late Sunday nights as we drank mochas and watched Ben Hur or Sound of Music. You and your sister took us on secret trails around your property with names that I swore never to reveal. (In all these years, I never have, by the way.)

You couldn’t say your R’s right, wore long sleeves with shorts, got emotional over goats and pretended you didn’t care… and I thought you were awesome. Two years my senior, you were practically grown up to me. A lot of people saw you as plain and uninteresting, but I had the opposite opinion.You were the first boy I liked more than a brother; as much as was healthy for a ten year old to like anyone. Okay, probably more.

I’m still not entirely sure about everything that happened to split our families up. We were just kids and not really in the know about complicated adult matters. I do remember the awkward goodbye afternoon. You had just got some pet goldfish–I think for your birthday–and were showing me the woodburning kit you’d already made amazing use of. I was quiet and shy–not often two things I was around you–and when we left, I knew it would be the last time we’d see each other. I felt horrible for not saying a proper goodbye. I tried to get in touch with your family, but the parents and older kids were bitter; there’s no way they were going to let us correspond by any means.

As the years have passed, I admit I’ve done my best to find and stalk you. I tried friending your sister on Facebook. Twice. I’ve seen other friends who used to be close to us, and they’re not receptive of me, either. I used to lie awake at night and wonder if your family was embittering you against me. I never stopped to think why it mattered if they were or what type of grievances they could possibly hold against a ten year old. Whether or not I ever saw you again, I always wanted you to have a good opinion of me–immature and silly little twit that I was back then. I’ve had a lot of dreams about you that seem to come out of nowhere. They’re always very vivid and feel completely real. Oddly enough, you age in them. In fact, your entire family does. In most of them I’m at your house and we’re having a sort of reunion. It’s realistically awkward, but always ends on a high note. Except in one. In one dream you were married to a really nice girl and she was holding a baby. As she passed him off to me, I looked into his little face and back up at you. No one said anything, but the words What if? were thundering in our heads over and over. I woke up crying. Not so much for myself, but because the look in your eyes was the most tragic face of regret I’ve ever seen. I really hated that dream. It bugged me for the rest of the following week.

I have no idea what you’re up to these days; if you have a girlfriend, fiance, or heck, you could be married by now. If so, I hope she’s lovely and sweet and so not as pretty as me. I’d like to bump into you at some random place and be able to catch up. I want to know what you were thinking back then and if you missed me even a little. A prideful part of me wants you to see how I’ve changed and grown and become less annoying and a little less crazy as time’s passed. It’s not like I never got over you, but my curiosity is pretty strong. I want to talk about old times. I miss having you as a friend.

For old time’s sake, as I used to sign my notes to you…

From,

Bethany

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