If I could write you a letter, this is what I would say.
Well actually, if I were really doing this, I wouldn’t start by saying. I’d start by asking.
Probably not hey, how have you been — awkward and out of the blue.
Except I am rather awkward. Or maybe I’m really not, but I sure feel that way, around you.
Delete, delete — good gracious, delete.
Truthfully…I have no idea how I’d begin. I think it’s more likely I’d wait another few weeks, hope for a more natural opening. That sounds about right.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. A natural opening? Doubtful before; doubly so now. Now that I’m out here.
I know you’re back there, but I wonder where you are, exactly. In line, scrolling through your messages, at the same coffee shop you saw me? What are the chances. I wonder if I’m your first unread email, or your fiftieth.
I’d think about just being honest, I guess, right out of the gate. I’d think about risking the truth. Hey. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, besides imagining you imagining me, and otherwise excelling at hoping too hard, but I’ve been looking for an excuse to say hi. For a long time, hi.
You said hi first. In person, I mean. That day. You came over to my table and you said something I forget, and it took me a minute to shake the writing fog free. It took me another sixty seconds to recognize you — to register you, standing in front of me.
I forget the details, remember the random things. Mostly disbelief that you’d come in, that I was there. And tall. I remember thinking you’re really very tall.
You have the kind of easy confidence I envy, haven’t yet grown into. And you have brown eyes: warm and kind. I remember seeing them sweep me up and down. Only once, and quickly. Apologetically? Your eyes never left my face, after that.
I remember blinking, blushing, babbling. Anything to fill the space. I stayed sitting, you stayed standing.
I remember wishing I’d done something about that. I remember thinking it was crazy, to feel what I felt, after five minutes in a coffee shop. You probably say hello to lots of girls in coffee shops. Think nothing of it.
I hadn’t felt attracted, intrigued, whatever you want to call it — in so long. I recognized it instantly, I’d forgotten what it was like.
You messaged me a few minutes later, like I’d hoped you would. I’d been working on something sad — you made me forget where I’d been going with it, if anywhere. I let it go. Shut the lid to my laptop, left my lukewarm coffee. Smiled, practically skipped, the whole way home.
If I wrote to you, maybe I’d ask what I really want to ask. Hey, how have you been since that time you wanted to get together, and something happened that obviously made you change your mind?
Did you think I liked your friend? I did like your friend — I do like him. He’s turned out to be a wonderful friend. If there were ever a time for bold, underline, italics, this is it.
I wish we’d had the chance to become friends too. You and I. Real friends, not just friends who like each other’s stuff, sometimes.
Actually that’s not quite true. I didn’t want to be friends — I wanted to see. I didn’t and I don’t, I want and I wanted. What I wanted was to see. I wanted that chance. That’s what I had my fingers crossed for, underneath my thighs, when you took your coffee to go.
“God damn I miss kissing. I miss coming up for air only to dive back in. I miss lazy intent, in a heady mix with competition. Push comes to shove. I even miss the fumbles, the too much, the too quick. God damn I miss kissing.”
Kiss me in the rain, drag me through the snow, stare at me in the sun, follow me in the fall.