Letters (Almost) Left Unsent: The Precious Declaration

May, 2013.

Dear [name withheld, but you’ll probably figure it out anyway],

I’ve tried  to count backwards to the years when you last saw me. All that I can remember is that I was 18 years old and didn’t know any better. No, I take that back – I was 18 years old and should have known better, should have seen it coming from a mile away.

Who were you, and who was I? We were friends. A boy like you with a girl like me would have been inevitable – or at least that’s what it looked to me, on paper. Now that I look back on it, I’m positive that I was the one who messed up here by coming on too strong and too needy for your own good. I don’t even want to ask about what might have been if things turned out differently; you said it best – how could I say that I loved you when I couldn’t even love myself?

I’m not even sure if I want to know whether or not you’re still single. Not that it has never crossed my mind.

And yet, writing to you today just feels so… right.

Maybe it’s because I just turned 36 this year – or rather, that you’re also turning 36 this year – but I do think of you fondly from time to time. Not out of regret (though I can say for certain that you’re a major step up from the troll I dated) but out of understanding for the kindness that you had shown to me while we were still friends. Yes, I was a little immature when you met me – and, admit it, you were the furthest thing from being warm and reassuring – but the fact that you were there to challenge me is more important than all of that. Not once did you try to lead me down the wrong path. Not once did you lure me with a false promise. All I remember is the healthy competition that we had, as friends and equals.

I know, you’re not 18 anymore, and I don’t think I would still want the 18 year-old you now no more than you would want the 18 year old version of me. But I would be lying if I said that I never think of you whenever I write. (No, my academic papers do not count.)

There’s a part of me that knows for sure that we’ll never see each other again, not without dredging up all the memories of how confusing it got towards the end. But there’s also the part of me that wants to hear your voice again – even at your grumpiest – so you could make me laugh, and smile, and believe that I can push myself to do better than my own personal best.

Yes, I know that I’m making a fool of myself over the Internet. The regrets are gone now; the closure will come later, if at all. All that matters to me is that you’ve been kind to me, in your own way, and for that I shall always be grateful.

Be well, and be happy.

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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