March 10, 2009
I was in my writing class tonight and someone read a quote from David Foster Wallace who we’ve been studying for his brilliant imagery. He said, “You have to die in order for your readers to move forward.” He committed suicide recently at the age of 46. Throughout the class, we’ve been talking about being brutally honest in writing.
I’ve been meaning to write this letter to you. I’m going to hammer it out now before I go to bed. You deserve the truth. I don’t think I was willing to admit it to myself before, but here it is. Completely raw, unedited. I will mail it tomorrow.
Remember the last time I saw you at Solstice? You wanted to talk. You wanted to know why I did it. What had changed? I said I didn’t think it was right what you had done, cheating on your girlfriend. That’s the truth, but not the whole truth.
I wish I’d never met you. Because when I met you, I thought I’d found all that I was looking for in a guy. You were handsome, fascinating, extremely bright, artistic, talented, worldly. I loved that you didn’t have a TV, that you were well-read. You made me laugh. You made me feel sexy. You were always up for partying, but could easily have fun sitting at home watching movies and cooking dinner. Except I wasn’t everything you were looking for in a girl so I felt inadequate. I felt horribly used. You tired of me easily and rare were the occasions when I saw you more than once in a week. For the most part, guys who don’t like me simply dump me. They end things. That’s the respectful thing to do, right?
The problem was…you never went away. So I couldn’t resist when you called or wanted to stop by. I relented because I thought maybe you would change your mind. Maybe this time you’d discover how amazing and gorgeous I was. You’d want to be with me all the time.
Oh Nate, what a poor, sad girl I was then. I wish I had the confidence to realize I deserved more than that. I wish I had the courage to simply walk away.
You asked what changed. What was different this time around for me to tell your girlfriend we were sleeping together. Nothing changed. That’s exactly it. I saw my life flash by. I saw myself—another fucking three years down the toilet—sleeping with someone who didn’t love me.
I knew I couldn’t resist you so I had to do something drastic. I didn’t have to read your emails to know what was going on. I knew you were sleeping around with half of San Francisco, part of Austin, LA, NYC. I knew it wasn’t just me and Meli. I just didn’t have the explicit details. I needed those details to build a case against you. Because like me, Meli was in love with you. I laid out the concrete details for her and still she didn’t believe me. It made me sad because I knew she deserved better and I didn’t want her ending up with a boyfriend we all knew was cheating on her.
I know what I did was shitty. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. It was a betrayal, but Nate, I wanted you to hate me. I wanted you to leave me alone and never talk to me again. The voicemails from you—that was exactly the reaction I wanted. I wanted to be dead to you. But what happened after all this blew up? You still tried to contact me. Unbelievable. And I took you back. Even more unbelievable.
But that was the final lapse.
I used to blame you. ‘What an asshole. What a scoundrel. What a cheat.’ Maybe I would’ve acted the same if I were in your shoes, sleeping with smart, beautiful women. Why not?
So here we are today. Ex-lovers, ex-friends.
We learn to write stories that describe a change, a lesson learned. I don’t have all the answers. Maybe I’ll never understand. But I do know that I stopped blaming you when I stopped blaming myself. I guess the change is that I finally fell in love with me. It shouldn’t have mattered whether you were in love with me or any guy for that matter loved me. All that mattered was loving myself. I wouldn’t have lashed out at you if I had loved myself—so I’m sorry for the pain I caused.
My biggest nightmare is having a daughter who grows up to be just like me—depressed—inheriting the depression my own mother passed down to me. But unlike my mom who has only been with one man, I will tell my daughter everything that I have been through.
Sweetheart, does he call every day? Does he grab the bill? Does he unabashedly tell you how much he loves you? Does he bring you flowers? Don’t settle for anything less. I promise, promise, promise you…he is out there.
Nate, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I have found my happy ending. And maybe it’s only because I have that I’m able to tell the truth.
Very sincerely wishing you the happiness you deserve,