Dear John Klein,
I think about you all the time.
I think about our mean nicknames for each other, our racist smack talk and flirty bickering. I think about your constant emotional distress over your incredibly messed up ex-girlfriend.
I remember making fun of you for your stereotypically “girly” tendencies: eating salad, feeling raw emotions, wanting to communicate all the time, being overly friendly with gay men. You contradicted me in every way.
I think about how one of our best friends was in love with you, but you never even noticed.
I remember how your sense of humor was so similar to mine. I think about how I told our Spanish class, in my limited Espanol vocabulary, (practicing future tense) that your wife and children would hate you. In return you called me ugly and stupid.
I think about our first period class together, where you sat in front of me with your dark shaggy hair and never failed to turn around and ask, “How are you?”
I think about your weird taste in violin music, and your illegible and atrocious handwriting. I think about the time we watched National Treasure in your basement. I think about how badly I wanted to go to Prom with you, because who else would I want to spend the night with, people watching?
I think about our weird conversation about what we would name our children… I remember we both liked Savannah.
I think about how you told people I was like a sister to you. But then you told me I was a beautiful, gorgeous girl. I think about how confused I was about my feelings.
I think about how much I missed you while I left for vacation in the summer.
I think about how much you helped me during my graduation party. Dancing the night away to weird Indian music like it was no big deal. I remember how much my parents loved you.
I think about how hard you tried to get to know me. How often you called me a “mystery” and were desperate to break down my unjustified cemented walls. I think about how comfortable I felt with you. I think about your friendliness and ability to soften the people in your life.
And then I think about how, two weeks before we left for college, we sat on my porch, sweating in the summer air. You had ridden your bike over. It rested on the grass. You wore your hat backwards, the way I liked it. You sat with your arms crossed over your legs. And you told me you liked me.
I think about how, my eyes bulged and all my energy was put to staying calm. My heart, momentarily, was in the depths of my stomach. If only you had told me 2 months earlier… But it was too late. I wanted us to be able to start our lives single, happy, and free.
After that, I want to stop remembering. Your sadness got the best of you. It got the best of our friendship. Now all I can think about is how we don’t talk anymore. We don’t text. We don’t laugh together. We’re strangers, sitting in the same room pretending to be happy.
You most likely hate me. You probably feel that I left you in your time of desperation and need. Know that I just wanted you to find help, help I couldn’t give you. I hope you got it. I hope you are happier these days. I hope that even when your days are dark, you’ve found ways to cope.
You may never read this. But you must know: I will always care about you, John Klein.