A Letter to... The Guy Who Ghosted Me
Your favorite color is cobalt blue.
To: The Guy Who Ghosted Me,
I learned recently that not everyone goes through a phase in their life that they feel suicidal. So, maybe you won’t understand when I tell you that in high school you were the person that tethered me here. It’s funny because come to think of it, I never knew you all that well. You had all of my secrets. I gave them to you locked up in a box to hold onto for me. To keep them safe.
And you did.
In the most dutiful way. I think that is the best way to put it. Dutiful. It was something you did not shame me for but also did with little attachment. And you never gave anything back. I don’t have a single secret to keep from your box.
But I do know your favorite color is cobalt blue.
You sent me a text once that said you'd found a letter, I had written to you. Funny. It seems this might be a pattern. We had graduated a few years before this and you were cleaning your room. It was some sappy thing from when I was hopelessly in love with you.
But if I remember right the main point of that letter was to explain how grateful I was that you didn’t hate me for being hopelessly in love with you.
That would have been easy. A teenage girl with feelings bigger than she knew how to hold inside so they were always spilling out. Who wouldn’t run the other way?
I might have had the roles been reversed. But I’m not sure that statement is true. I longed too much to be needed by someone like you. Someone who made the room shine when you walked inside. Someone who everyone liked. The guy that got the applause in the duet when the partner got a whispered silence.
Man, you were something on a stage, weren’t you? But I’m getting carried away. Caught up in the show like the day I was caught in a photograph looking at you while everyone else smiled at the audience.
It kind of makes sense, that your favorite color is cobalt blue.
I think this is starting to sound like the letter of a scorned lover when I don’t mean it to be. You love who you love and we weren’t meant to be. I got over you in high school and now it’s been eleven years since freshmen year.
Eleven years. Now that is something.
Some people stick to your bones no matter what you do. They burrow in deep without trying and leave a mark that heals but scars. And not the kind of scar that fades over time. The kind of scar that one day your grandkids will beg you to tell them where you got it from. I don’t think we choose who those people are, so it’s okay that I am not one of yours.
But I can go months without thinking of you and then just like the ache of an old injury on a rainy day, there you are. Prevalent and persistent. Something I don’t want to think about but can’t ignore. I want to call you or text you. I want to catch up and say hello.
But I know we can’t do those things… even though I know that your favorite color is cobalt blue.
I thought we would be friends. I only had one perspective, I saw it all from my side. You see the discovery that I never really knew you, that you did not open yourself to me in the same way that I did, is a recent one. I thought were best friends but you were my best friend while I was an obligation.
And here is where we walk the line. I will never not be grateful for the gracious way you handled my constant deterioration. Because maybe had one flap of a butterfly’s wing been different, I wouldn’t be here to see what my life has become today.
But the memory of how much you meant to me is not an easy one. It isn’t one that comes without pain.
You were there and then you weren’t.
We were friends and then we weren’t.
I am selfish when I let my mind wander too far down this path. I wanted to know you. I wanted to connect. I wanted to shower you with all of the care and understanding you showed me when I was just a child with a death wish.
I wanted to show you I was more than that. That I could laugh instead of cry. That we could hang out and talk about you instead of me. That I could be your rock when the waters got choppy instead of having a panic attack. But I wasn’t given the chance.
You rejected me.
And I don’t do well with rejection.
I want to know what I did wrong. I want to know why you smile at me and hug me with so much enthusiasm when we run into each other in the town where we grew up. But won’t respond to a text, a chat, a message, a DM, a phone call. I want to know how my affections are so easily disregarded. I want to know why you insist on making me feel like caring about you is a sin.
Why not just ignore me then in person? Or give a simple wave?
I can take a hint. I can walk away.
I think it would be easier if you just told me to my face you didn’t like me. Instead, I circle back to every message I’ve ever sent wondering if a moved comma or an extra emoji or one less ‘lol’ would’ve equaled a response.
And it’s so easy to feel sixteen again. Hurt by something that is only caused by my own desperation to connect to someone who doesn’t want to connect to me. I didn’t have to reach out. But I did.
I did because I can't forget that your favorite color is cobalt blue.
Most of all I don’t want to believe there is a worst in you. I know what people do when they care. I know that in a generation glued to what they can hold in the palm of a hand, that my messages were not missed. A lack of reply was not a slip of the mind. I know that if you wanted me to care about you, you’d open the message.
So, I lie to myself and pretend something must be wrong with the internet connection or maybe you changed your number.
It’s funny how easy a presence can become an identity which then becomes the outsider’s reality. We built the mask for you, all you had to do was put it on. And it fit so well. See, I did not create this fabrication alone. The student body named you a high school celebrity and fawned accordingly. And I tripped into biology class with a seat next to yours and became your number one fan.
I don’t want to open my eyes and see that you’re not as great as I built you up to be because ten years ago you drew butterflies on my arms when I asked you to.
And I still know your favorite color is cobalt blue.