This is just a short introduction. Feel free to skip to the beginning of the story. For some reason, there was a conflict between a draft and an older version was published. This should be updated version.
I’d like to think of this as my first real longer composition that I’ve felt comfortable enough to share. I’ve never had a problem writing something, I have a problem knowing when something is finished and how to share it. I guess due to the nature of the story, I’ve always been shy about publishing anything related to emotions, hurtful women, sex, and vulnerability.
I started this composition a few weeks back when I had the idea for a story told through a break up letter. The fact that it was close to complete a few days before Valentine’s Day was purely coincidental but figured it’s an appropriate day to put it out there.
Not all of us have someone to have and hold. Even worse, it’s a hard reminder of a past love or the feeling that we’re supposed to have someone. Being single isn’t some sort of failure that others and even people themselves think it is. It doesn’t define who you are. But I get how it can eat away at you, making you think there is some mysterious thing wrong with you that everyone can see but you.
Break Up Letter is a work of fiction that’s meant to be sad. Even though it’s fiction, I’ve included several of my past experiences that are more true than I’d like to admit. This story is a combination of the memories and outcomes of several relationships instead of the long-term one depicted in this story. The unearthly visuals and memories of beautiful vacations, the terrible arguments, acts and thoughts of revenge, and the feeling of debilitating and perpetual regret, is just the way life went for me back then. It was hard to reopen old wounds and it hurt to dive heart first into the deep end of a cold vault of turbulence and emotion again.
I was conditioned to always try to do the most to make a woman happy. When something was wrong, it was always the man’s fault. My fault. It was only after far too long and mounting emotional baggage that I realized these women treated me terribly and not everything was my fault.
In my case, the love I shared with my exes, just hasn’t been worth the recurring sadness of watching it drift away, fall apart, only to be left to carry the wreckage for the rest of my life. The happiness brought up by love is so ephemeral compared to the painful permanence of knowing it’ll never come back. Again, that’s just me.
As I’ve grown older, the harsh realization that happily ever after just isn’t meant for everyone. If the criterion for happily ever after is finding someone just so you won’t feel alone. I’m still single and thoroughly enjoying my free and uncomplicated life. Even though I have a lot to be grateful for these days, I’ll always remember what it took to be able to smile at the pain.
Still, the hard days and uncertain nights have passed but the years continue to slip away and my youth and optimism with it.
I don’t know how much enjoyment someone can get out of reading a sad story like this. Break Up Letter is just my attempt at getting better at writing and feeling confident enough to share it with anyone that has taken a wrong turn on the internet and found their way here.
Hello, Beautiful …
… I can’t believe it’s our ten-year anniversary. Can you? I still remember the day you told me that you loved me for the first time. We had been dating for a few months and I was just getting off from a hard 12 hour night shift in that awful warehouse.
You had just returned from a two week family vacation on the beaches of the Philippines. It was the rainy season but you were able to lay on the beach in the day but had to watch rain all night, every night from the room. I had missed not being able to talk for those two weeks and was excited to know that you’d be back a few days before your family was set to return.
Your flight arrived at night just before I was supposed to start my shift, we texted one another until you had fallen asleep then texted me when you woke up. That morning you told me to come over to your house. I drove there on the empty Saturday morning streets thinking about how much I loved you.
You answered the door naked and had bikini tan lines from your time on the beach. I picked you up and carried you up the stairs then to your room. You tore my clothes off and we began to have sex in the shower then moved to the bed, I was on top of you, still drenched, my hair dripping on your face, you reached up and placed both of your hands on the sides of my head, looked into my eyes, said my name and told me you were in love with me. Then we kissed as we finished making love. We laid there just breathing as one.
You helped me relieve the stress of an exhausting day at that shitty job and drift away to sleep with the wonderful thoughts of my love while you got dressed and left for work happy even though you hated working at that restaurant. I knew you were self conscious about saying it first but I never judged you for it. It had just been a long time since someone I cared about had said something of that magnitude to me.
Remember, all those years ago, …
… when we were both fresh out of college and scraping by living paycheck to paycheck? One day I woke up to a text saying you had received a rejection letter from the museum for the job we worked so hard applying for. We scrutinized and perfected your resume and practiced interview questions and answers. I saw the determination you had for something you really wanted only to see it snatched away from you.
I had just woken up to get ready to go to work but I wanted to take your mind off of what happened. So I called off and took you out to eat at your favorite restaurant then went to watch a movie. I never told you that I was nearly fired for calling out during such a busy time. I also had to overdraft my account to pay for that night and had to skip a few meals until the next paycheck. Seeing you smile again after that hard day was worth it. That smile still replays in my head every day. You never thanked me for doing that for you. I’m not sure if I ever expected you to but I still like to think you appreciated it.
Our City, Our Mountain, Our Ocean, Our Sky
Fast forward a year or two. We’re both making more money, moving up at our companies, and we saved for our first planned vacation together. We went to Las Vegas because you had never been. We had an amazing time walking The Strip, having a nice romantic dinner then getting tipsy in a quiet bar.
I carried you back to the room when you told me how bad your feet were hurting after walking in those shoes all night. You laughed as I tossed you on the bed.
You kicked your shoes off, undressed and laid in the center of the bed waiting for me. And then, somehow, I could see time slowing down and drifting by as you smiled at me gazing at your nude body that was bathed in a deep purple neon glow flooding through the floor-to-ceiling window of our dark and silent hotel room. I took you and heard and felt how we were breathing life into each other. To the low hum of the air conditioner, we watched the Ferris wheel slowly turn as its lights pulsed in the distance until we fell asleep in each other’s arms.
Do you remember when we went to the mountains up north and the two of us laid cozy, dry and warm in the back of that old SUV with the hatch and bed open? We didn’t say anything, we just listened to the rain fall around us and felt the low rumble of the thunder while we gazed out at the vast, rain-soaked and fog-shrouded valley high in the mountains?
I didn’t feel like I was on this earth and having you there in my arms made me feel like I was going to live forever.
Or how you teared up and cried when you first stood on that secluded and deserted beach I took you to in the Caribbean? It felt like the entire world was ours and that time itself didn’t exist. It could have been a thousand or even a million years ago.
We played in what was our ocean then went back to our room and ordered room service. We watched the storm clouds roll in just before sunset and marveled at the lighting flashing in the night sky from our private warm and dry balcony. We made love then fell asleep to the sound of falling rain and crashing waves.
I tried so hard to find another experience like that for you. And I finally did. I knew you grew up in a huge city before moving here so I planned a trip outside of the big city to northern Arizona to a special hotel with single rooms with glass ceilings spread out over the property. You didn’t understand why I had taken you there and why I brought some LED string lights until night had fallen. I made sure we finished dinner early and took a bottle of your favorite wine into the room. Just after sunset I told you to lay with me and look up.
You saw the first of millions. You saw the night sky begin to sparkle. I was there when you saw the stars for the first time in your life. The brilliantly glowing Milky Way flowing through an ocean of stars. You cried tears of joy for the last time.
The times I made you happy, seemed to be the only times I didn’t feel like I had fallen so far into sadness and shattered nostalgia longing for those amazing days again but it was the punishing and consuming slow burn of regret that made me do this.
Regret has to be one of the worst afflictions to have befallen humanity. Regret is its own disease with hardly any way to ease the pain. I tend to live inside the many conversations and decisions we didn’t have or make. Eventually, I choked and drowned in them. I don’t regret ever meeting you. I regret not knowing how to be the person you wanted me to be. I regret letting you make me feel like a useless little thing you left abandoned to be taken away with the tide. I embraced, loved, and respected your flaws. I hurt you because I wasn’t flawless. I tried to take all the pain and rejection with grace and tried to show you how I cared with determination and thoughtful gestures.
I wanted to know what your favorite flower or plant was so I could grow one for you. I bought one, tended to it, watched it blossom, and gave it to you. You threw the pot into the pool for the flower to die a slow death when we had a fight over me deciding to go solo to NYC to meet with [REDACTED] for her 30th birthday. Even though I had invited you.
You knew she was just a friend to me. A friend that I’ve known longer than I’ve known you. Nothing happened between us. Nothing ever has. You can ask her yourself.
One year for your birthday, I gave you a copy of my favorite book in hopes that one day you’d read it and we could get lost in a discussion about how it made us both feel. If you look inside the book on the page that represents our anniversary, you’ll find something special. After several years, you still haven’t read the book, thus haven’t found it. I checked yesterday and it’s still there.
It slipped your mind. You lost track of things. You were going to get around to it. You always had such a bad memory even though I knew it was a selective one. It was one of your flaws I came to adore. The way you would tilt your head, raise an eyebrow, squint your right eye, and stick out your tongue when trying so hard to remember something was so cute. It was never with the big things. You just happened to forget about all the little things I tried to do for you. All the little things I did to show you that I cared.
You were always able to lose the memories I tried so hard to create for us and I would always find them mangled and misremembered when you would tell the stories to your friends and family. You only ever remembered the big picture. You always commended me on how strong my memory is. Even though I know you were secretly annoyed by it. I don’t think you ever knew but, unfortunately for me, I remember all the painful and detailed minutiae of your actions and the hurtful things you said verbatim. I not only remember it all. I live in it every day. And see the hurt you deal behind your smiling and beautiful face.
The things I don’t want to remember are the things I always will remember. I’d like to think the absolute bliss we had still exists, somewhere in the ether but as much as we’d like to admit, it’s never coming back. I didn’t know what hurt more. To keep this going or to leave it as a beautiful but vandalized grave on the white and soft sands of that Caribbean beach that took your tears. I know now only the latter will free the pain and let it fade away.
Everything is Wrong
We medicated differently after hurting each other during an argument. I retreated into my comfortable solitude at the deserted park down the street. I’d put my headphones on and walk the same path for hours. Thinking about everything and nothing. Thinking about you then coming home to apologize for everything. Even for the things that weren’t my fault. Thinking of everything I could do to make it work.
You’d stomp out of the house without saying a word to meet and sleep with your ex-boyfriend. You’d come home in the middle of the night, tears about to fall as I opened the door, then you would collapse crying into my arms and swear that it would never happen again. Never again a few more times. Promises rarely fix anything. I can’t believe how stupid I was to forgive you so many times.
That always made me more sad than angry; how I wasn’t able to make you happy and how I let you do that to me. I must confess that I can’t say I never thought about getting with [REDACTED] because of what you would do. I knew you didn’t like her and you knew she liked me. She repeatedly urged me to see how I deserved better. But I knew it would have just made things worse and never went through with it. You can ask her yourself. She’s married now.
My friends, [REDACTED], and other women constantly told me how you were always so unkind to me. I remember when you called me a retard in front of a crowd of people at one of the checkout lines at the grocery store. You probably don’t remember doing that but you said that to me because I didn’t get the right kind of salt. I walked out of the store to wait by the car. I didn’t deserve that. You felt bad but never apologized.
Your friends told you to treat me better. [REDACTED] even took it a step further and explained to you how you don’t appreciate what you have. [REDACTED] is still getting over the string of men that abused her and used her for her body. I’ve never done either of those things to you. You tried to treat me better, I noticed, and I told you I noticed. But then you became possessive and accusative. Asking me to turn on my location on my phone, telling me that I couldn’t have a lock screen code on my phone but your phone could, or always asking to send you a picture of where I was just to prove I wasn’t with some other girl. I told you I would do it once but never again. You exploded.
The past few years and especially our last months together made me see just what it feels like to have punishment become a normal part of my life. Everything I did was wrong. I’d do exactly what you told me to do but it was still wrong. I’d text you only for you to tell me to leave you alone. I’d leave you alone and you’d angrily text me saying I never talk to you. I was always deflated and always crawling out of a hole. You made me feel damaged and broken.
I know I wasn’t perfect. I know when I messed up something, it hurt you. I know when I voluntarily worked extra hours and came home late, it hurt you. I know when I would choose to go out for my run or workout instead of spending time together watching Netflix, hurt you. I know I didn’t express how I felt enough and just bottled it away instead of fighting back. I let you yell and scream at me while I bit my tongue or just told you how I understood and would try to do better. I know I can be difficult especially when I become guarded and distant. I was trying not to make you angry or argumentative or lose you. Mostly because I didn’t know how to handle you and the things you would say to me when the arguments started.
The Fucked Up Thing
You would always tell me that, if we were to break up, you’d be able to find someone new in a heartbeat and that I’d be alone. I never doubted that because I knew it was true. Your beauty allows you the luxury of moving onto someone else while I know I’ll still be single for several years, if I’m lucky. You’d tell me how I would only ever be someone that somebody settled for. Never the person someone actually wanted. The fucked up thing is that I think you’re right. But that’s not going to stop me from trying to make someone happy. Someday…
I know you have a few guys lined up just waiting for us to break up. I know about [REDACTED], your co-worker. I started to notice things I didn’t buy for you begin to appear around the house. Lingerie, handbags, and various other items I used to buy for you. You were never one to buy them for yourself so I can only assume they were from him. You started to wear a different perfume that most likely he liked to smell on you. You stopped wearing the one you knew I liked on you. The more of those things you kept around, the more I felt I was already replaced. At least you had the respect to not wear the lingerie around me.
Your phone use gradually increased. The scrolling and laughing you used to do when you wanted to show me something funny has been replaced by texting and laughing. I can only assume it’s [REDACTED]. I don’t make you laugh like that anymore. You just stare at your phone and can’t be bothered with anything when you’re with me now. At least you have someone new to text late into the night and the rush of happiness that comes with it. At least he’ll be happy and assuming so too will you be. For me, after tonight, I know that nobody will be thinking of me as I lay in bed alone.
My hope is that we can each make someone as happy as we deserve ourselves. I’m sorry that you couldn’t change who I am. Neither of us are the same person we were ten years ago. Don’t shed any more tears for me. It will make me happy knowing that I won’t disappoint you anymore.
Take care, [REDACTED] I’ll never forget you, and you know that, but I honestly can’t be so sure that, even after ten years together, you won’t forget about me.
Written by me. Photography and edits by me. Cover image and Photoshop edit by me.