I write love letters on tattered pages
When the owls awake and the mice have burrowed into the thawing soil to rest their beady eyes
When the moon smiles with apathy and the words spill out under her light with the fervor of a starved woman
They sit idly in a box under my bed
Wrapped in twine and blue ribbon that used to hold pigtails before the boys would tug them down.
Inside sits a notebook worn down only by time and sticky fingers from blue raspberry seltzer and tangy orange popsicles engraved in the pages after a hot summer night
They are not labeled by name (I know them by heart), only by initials
For that information is too sensitive to be so easily revealed,
Too hard on my heart to see it so easily scrawled.
I may call them love letters but they detail a cruel past
Filled with rumpled tissues and missed calls
Willful ignorance in the face of confrontation
If only to save myself the heartbreak of submitting to the whims of a hopelessly failed romantic.
The inspiration for them never fails to evade me until it is over
When I can write as a regretful escapade rather than a pining admirer
When the past can remain firmly in the past and I only have to worry about the notes assigned in my history class instead of the subconsciously measured reply times of a dwindling romance.
I’ve always been incapable of putting the experience into words until it has ended
When the feelings have dulled to the point where it’s possible to reminisce of earthy hot chocolate mixed with bitter coffee that sits heavy on my tongue and stargazing on a locked rooftop chilled to the bone with nostalgia
Once the guilt of regret has dampened over time.
The letters, though, are sparingly kind
Too many bleary nights trying to move on and the sting of realization that the turning point has long passed and the end is much closer than previously predicted Is not easily erased by fresh ink and a hardened peace of mind.
Molten warmth in the pit of my stomach and a sudden loudness of my pulse thrumming in my ear at a shared glance
Sweaty palms and small smiles, laughing internally at a joke only you can understand Cannot be separated from the sickly taste of dread in the back of my throat at a knock on the door and a newly unknown number.
A heavy-laden end to a saccharine story
Dripping down and binding to the rose-colored lens
Clearing up my vision until the color bleeds into oleander.
The bittersweet tang of a key lime pie winds its way into my letters
Tracing a soft curve in tandem with the rhythm
A tell-all bestseller woven in between the lines
Of a cynic bent on dredging up the past
In purposefully laid traps filled with secret messages for a future reader.
I write love letters that will never be sent.
The two letters after “dear” may represent part of the past,
But the message inside is for my future.
Jolie Barnard, a sixteen year old amateur writer from Sacramento California, hasn’t always loved writing. Up until a few years ago, she much preferred reading poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and whatever else you could think of. She has since turned to writing, usually poetry, as a way to vent and document her life.