Dear Joel. You married a gorgeous redheaded girl and I quit loving you the way I have since I was six. You were the first person to show a misunderstood little girl true kindness. You were my hero. I wish you all the best and I hope you’re so happy you can hardly stand it. I’ll always have fond memories of you.
Dear Titus. You were the first younger man I ever liked. Three years doesn’t qualify as a cougar but it does when you’re in middle school.
Dear Jared. Dear dear Jared. Thank you so very much. You were a college student and our church’s summer intern. I was a shy uncertain thirteen year old who had a massive crush on you. You were so very kind to me even when no one else was. You left with me an impression of what good guys are. May life be as kind to you now as you were to me back then. I’ll always hold a soft spot for you.
Dear Timothy. I thought you were beautiful in the middle of your weird 13 year old stage. You still dazzle me just a little. It’d be nice if you’d see me someday but I suppose I’ll always be your best friend’s little sister. I’m okay with that now.
Dear other Jarred. That was a delicious, if hormone fevered, summer. Despite the fact that you and I never shared more than a handshake, it’s hard to keep this message PG. The beauty of your body as you moved your golden, shirtless torso through my pool and shook water droplets from your hair was and is breathtaking. Thank you for acquainting me with that kind of beauty. I saw you again this summer and discovered you have a brain as well. I’m sorry it took me three years to learn that.
Dear Zach. I’m glad you’re back in my life. You and I met as toddlers and came back together as teenagers. You were my first love and that summer was truly something to remember. You were also my first real heartbreak and it was horrendous. Thank you for giving me a memorable story of my first romance. I’ll never forget it and somewhere deep down I’ll always love you. No matter what happens in our lives, you’ll always have a certain hold on me and a place in my heart. Thank you for every single lesson you ever taught me and all of the fabulous songs you inadvertently introduced me to.
Dear Jesse. You were the first boy to give me butterflies in my tummy after I first learned about the flip side of love. It was an illusion and you never knew how I felt, never mind liking me back, but you helped me heal. Thank you for that, even if you still don’t know it.
Dear Garrett. Oh Garrett. You are such a beautiful mess. You have an exquisite face but you never ever learn from your mistakes and you do the stupidest things. I noticed that stunning face of yours when I was 14 and two years later I finally got the courage to ask it to dance. Thanks for saying yes and being a gentleman. You gave me a beautifully perfect moment and proof that being brave is a good thing.
Dear Broderick. You’re married. You have three kids. You’re my karate teacher. You are 34 years old. You are the very definition of unattainable. I’ll always regret that just a little bit.
Dear Brian. I don’t like you as much as I thought I would but something about us just works. You have some seriously messed up attitudes and ideas but you taught me that everyone has baggage. The goal is not to drop your baggage but find someone who loves all of you, baggage included. I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for. I’m sorry I couldn’t be that.
Dear Matt. You are my unfinished song, the story without an ending, the sentence stopped halfway through. You ended it for reasons I still don't know. I wonder if I ever will. I tried for years to be your friend but the day eventually came when I deleted your number and unfriended you on Facebook. We're really truly done, but part of me will always what wonder what might have happened. Part of me will always hope our story doesn't actually end like this. Thanks for liking me during the worst times of my life and being there when no one else was. Nothing can erase the memories or the emails - all three hundred and four of them.
Dear K.C. I loved you because you were as broken and beautiful as I was. I ripped off pieces of myself to give to you and called it love. I spent 3 years in our almost relationship as the little Dutch boy with his thumbs in the holes of a dike, trying to save people. But I can't save you. And you can't save me. Trying to keep my thumbs in the holes of you almost broke me. But I'll never forget the nights alone when souls were bared, brokneness shared, and anything seemed possible. You looked at me like the sun and the moon were combined in me and I held all the earth in the balance. Leaving you nearly destroyed me but I'll always love you for the way you looked at me.
Dear Emily. I thought I was straight. Really really I did. My teenage crushes on Orianthi and Joan Jett were really just because I loved rock music right? Right? Yeah... I left because life and the ache of you wouldn't leave my soul. I loved you in all you were. You were crazy and beautiful and crazy beautiful. You made lonely decisions because you were lonely and pushed away everyone who tried to help, my hurricane girl. I remember the nights we were infinite and your body curled around mine in the backseat or on the hood of a car. You were incandescent and impetuous. The candle burning herself out in a jet of flame. You were so young, so broken, so beautiful. But then, so was I.
Dear Daniel. You, my love, are nothing more than the whisper of possibility. The thundering road of surety. I'm going to marry you. I met you and something in my soul went "Oh there you are! Of course it's you." It felt like I found something I didn't know I was looking for. I met you and I was hurting, scarred, attempting to heal. You cupped my soul in your hands and told me it would be okay. Told me I could get better. You held me on long dark nights and loved me unconditionally. I'm scared and scared and even more scared, but when I'm with you it feels like the closed door of my heart has been flung off the hinges and everything in my blazing heart was made to invite you in.