To The Boy I Never Got The Chance To Love


After I left you, I wondered what your hair looked like when you woke up in the morning.

Did your ringlets settle around your face? Did it stick up in all the best places?

When I left you, I downloaded your city on my weather app and my phone clock. I wanted to know what time it was where you were, and whether or not you needed an umbrella (even though I knew you were the type who probably never had an umbrella when you needed one).

There’s something strange about the act of never getting to love someone. There’s a tremendous sense of loss and mourning over imagined things. Over the potential of something, rather than its reality.

When I left you I longed desperately for more – and we hinted at it for a time, didn’t we? Now, two months after we dabbled and I pulled away, I still wonder. Isn’t that the way with unfulfilled things? They nag and linger long past a logical expiry date. Like nice cheese you can’t quite bring yourself to throw away.

I deleted your city on my weather app and clock a long time ago. But I didn’t delete the teasing memories of what it meant to know you, from my heart. Every so often those memories come flooding back and they nip at my heels like hungry, anxious dogs. I want to isolate them as something beautiful and transitory. I want to allow them to stand alone as an exquisite testament to the power and mystery of human connection. Maybe someday I will be able to do that.

To the boy I never got to love, do you know that when the sun lights up on something golden red, I think of fire cast across your hair? To the boy I never got to love, do you know that when a stray cat crosses my path, I think of the cats that seemed to carry us through that European town?

To the boy I never got to love, do you see that you, in tandem with my soft imperfect heart, have set an impossible standard for all the boys that I will get to love?

Do you know how I wish I kissed you then? How I wish I abandoned caution and promises from faraway lands, and kissed you then? And showed you with my lips, my hands, my body just how much magic I felt when you spoke my name in your rich baritone way?

To the boy I never got to love, I got scared and ran because I knew how much you could hurt me, and I knew I’d rather hurt myself. I got scared and ran because I was sure I either needed to know you deeply, or not know you at all. Does that make sense? Does that sound foolish?

And sometimes, I still wonder, did I break it fully? Did I end it permanently with my cowardice? Or, dear boy I never got to love; will I get the chance to love you some day? When I am braver? When I am ready? And when I do will that love thunder through me in a way I can’t control? Will that love rip me open and reveal me? Will that love make a mockery of my proud, fierce independence? Or will it be so beautiful that I will cry at the very fact of knowing it?

I am not ready now. So, for now, I will continue to not love you.

I will continue to fill your corner of my heart with other people who dare to try and fill it. I will tuck my memories of you into old drawers, to be aired out on occasion when they need to see some light.

And I will wonder, dear boy I never got to love, if you once added my city to your weather app and clock. I wonder if you look at them sometimes and imagine me, face tilted to the sun, lost in thought.

Until we meet again,

The girl you never got to love.