I have to write this. I love you. I’m moving to San Francisco in a few days. You know when I leave, our relationship will end. And you know I have to go — I have to see what I can do there and push myself forward. I’m a college graduate and have to try and make it in the world. There are no chances for me to work professionally in this little town, and I would not be happy here if I had to stay much longer. It’s time.
I’ve written in the past about my shifting regard for relationships and repeatedly scoffed at the idea of dating. I’d like to take all that back, if I can, because I’ve fallen in love with you. I was wrong about love and commitment, things that scare me and possibly scare everyone. But not you. It’s come natural to you stay, and I wonder at that. Am I deficient? Is this runaway impulse a blight in me?
When we met, we knew we were a bad idea. The sex was great. The relationship was casual. But sex led to sleepovers, then movie nights, and then we were eating together. I met your friends, and one day — you remember the day, on the blanket on the lawn, when I laid down and kissed your hands — we knew we were something. And then I showed you this blog. The next morning over breakfast, you said, “You think relationships are nothing.”
Yes, I did. I have presented those who value dating as childish and delusional — as children believing in a fairy tale. But I found the fairy tale, in my way. How stupid of me to think I would never find someone who fills my thoughts this way, who makes me feel loved in a way I have never felt. You changed my mind. It’s that simple. You are not committed to any fantastical idea of love. You are realistic. You know what it is. You knew what we were doing, what the risks were, and you still said, “I want to date you.” We discussed limits and boundaries, our different desires and requirements — mine, as we have learned, are harder to deal with — and we knew our chances of lasting very long were slim. I was graduating soon.
I was president of the LGBT student group at college. You attended a meeting one night. You stood in the back. I saw you there. You had your sweater tied around your waist and you were wearing a cutoff shirt with Marvel comic characters on it. I noticed you across the room and you noticed me. After the meeting, you came up and asked me, “Are there any Cokes in the refrigerator?”
I didn’t understand the question — I didn’t know we had a refrigerator. Then I remembered there was a small kitchenette near the entrance. I led those meetings for three years and never once looked in the refrigerator.
“You can look. If there are any, take them.” As if I had the authority to say what could or could not be taken from this communal student club room, one which many clubs shared. But take it, take whatever you want. It’s all yours. You nodded and walked away, and I forgot about you. The next day, I looked at Grindr and saw your message. By sheer chance, we both lived in the same dormitory — you were a few floors down. I walked to your door. You kissed me in your room. We took our clothes off.
Then we had dinner. Then we went on a date. Then another date. Then afternoons doing homework together. We understood. Yes, it would be hard, but we’d ride it as long as we could. Love never thinks ahead.
You know my views on sex. We see it differently, and this has been a struggle for us. I want more freedom than you will give me. I promise that is not the reason I’m going to California. I don’t know if you believe that, but it’s true. I’m going because I have an opportunity there, a chance at a new life, and because we, as young men, have made some kind of unspoken promise to put career chances first — to not hold each other back. Is this the right way to go about things? How will we know the answer to that question? I may look back at this decision and regret it forever, and that’s OK. I will add it to my long list of regrets, the people I should have loved, the relationships I should have pursued.
I remember the moment I told you I was going. You didn’t speak for several minutes. You looked away. We both knew that was it.
I’ve been watching you in the shower. You’re happy for a moment, then you break a little bit. You remember that this is quickly coming to an end. You check your happiness as if every warm moment now will create greater hurt when we have to say goodbye. And you’re right, it will. For what it’s worth, my heart is breaking too.
I will be in some other city someday, a little older, remembering how you looked in my bed, how I held you close and felt you breathing and could do nothing, and I will regret leaving you. There is nothing to say in my defense. I love you, but love isn’t enough. If you were in my position, I would tell you to go.
I return all the time in my mind to the day we met. I see you coming up to me through the crowd with that ridiculous question. I go back to you, again and again, reaching through the crowd, but you’re gone. Jose, you have my whole heart.
Like what you read? Please consider support. Above: Jose dancing in Savannah, Georgia.