This is cruel, but 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 be over. I’m sorry. I have to do this.
I’ve written in the past about how little regard I have for relationships and repeatedly scoffed at the idea of dating. If I may, I’d like to take all that back. I’ve fallen in love with you. I was wrong.
When we met, we knew this was a bad idea. It was casual. It was sex. But that sex led to sleepovers, then movie nights, then we were eating together, and I met your friends, and it became something. Then one day, I showed you this blog.
The next morning over breakfast, you told me, “You think relationships are nothing.”
That’s true. I did. I have presented those who try to date as delusional — as children believing in a fantasy. But I found the fantasy. I found you. How childish of me to think I would never find someone who fills my thoughts this way. I met a handsome man who changed my mind. It’s really that simple. You are not committed to any fantastical idea of love. You are realistic. You know better than anyone else what dating really is. You know the work, the listening that goes into it, the struggle. We knew the odds of us working out were slim. You were new to Savannah and I was on my way out.
When we met, I was president of the LGBT student group at our college. You attended a meeting one night — I think it may have been the first meeting of the year. 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 book characters on it. I remember. 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’ve been leading these meetings for three years and have never 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. This was a public space we rented from the school. But take it, take whatever you want. It’s 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 dorm — you were a few floors below me. I walked down to your door. You kissed me in your room. We took our clothes off. We slept together.
Then we had dinner. Then we went on a date. Then another date. Then sleepovers. Then afternoons not doing anything, just homework and watching movies. We understood what was happening. 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’m going because I have an opportunity there, a chance at a new life, and because we, as very young men, have made some kind of unspoken promise to put these chances first — to not hold each other back. Is this the right way to go about things? How will we ever know the answer to that question? How will we ever know what we might become unless I stay and we become it? How can I ever know what my life will be like in California unless I go?
I remember the moment I told you I was going. You didn’t speak for several minutes. You looked away. You knew and I knew that this was it.
I’ve been watching you in the shower. You’re happy for a moment, but 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 a greater wrenching when we have to say goodbye. And you’re right. It will. For what it’s worth, my heart is breaking too.
I’m afraid that I’ll 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 regret all of it. There is nothing to say in my defense. There is no way to know if this move is wrong.
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 bizarre question. I go back to you, again and again, reaching through everyone else, trying to reach you, but you’re gone.
You have my whole heart.
Above: Jose dancing in Savannah, Georgia.