An Open Letter to the Boy I Once Loved, and Who Still Has My Heart

Love shouldn't mean being ashamed.

I write this not for you, the boy who has my heart, but for the people who love a little too much, whose hearts are too big, and who allow themselves to be hurt by the people who will never love them the way they deserve to be.

I knew I was in love with you. It was the first time I spent the night, I noticed we were both falling asleep. I should have left, but I couldn’t pull myself away. You pulled me in closer, continued to snore, yet somehow, I could fall asleep. It is still my favorite way to fall asleep to this day. Now we have, what you think, is meaningless sex.

I need to let go.

I remember the way your eyes lit up when you looked at me, the way you held me. You still do sometimes I think, making it hard for me to believe you don’t love me. You often remind me that we aren’t dating, but when you look at me, your eyes still light up. It’s been two years since we broke up.

Looking back I realize if you feel shame when starting a relationship it’s not going to end well.

You have shaped me in more ways than you will ever know. At first your love filled me, you were my first everything. It hurt so much when you felt you couldn’t tell your friends about us. I was scared too, but never ashamed. Looking back I realize if you feel shame when starting a relationship it’s not going to end well. It never stopped me from loving you… until you didn’t. You just stopped. You weren’t there when I needed you. You slowly started to drift away.

I couldn’t force you to love me again. So we broke up.

You lingered conveniently close by, so I settled. I told myself that I was okay with keeping things casual. I lied, I told myself it was the mature thing to do and you just weren’t ready. I made myself believe that it was normal to be treated this way. I tell myself I’m okay with how things are. I want you in my life, but it’s never going to be the same.

It’s been hard to continue to lie to your face about my feelings towards you. I have pretended for too long that I don’t feel this way, lying to both you and myself has been draining. There are times when I really start to believe what I am saying. When you told me your ideas about love had changed, and you did not believe what we had was ever real, a little piece of me died. After all this I am ready to call you on your bullshit, and admit the bullshit I have been telling myself.

I think the reason this is all so hard on me is because I want it to be more than what is, or ever was. There is hope inside of me that in a few years this will all mean nothing to me, that you will just be a very long, painful, mistake I made at a foolish young age. One day I’ll be okay, after all, life is a learning experience. In high school, we make such a big deal out of everything, we fool ourselves into thinking that these loves will last.

So now what?

I have absolutely no idea what my future will bring, but I don’t want this to have meant nothing, I want to have been just as important to you as you are to me. We have invested so much time and emotion into each other. I want to know that I mattered to you. I want to know that you cared. I want to know that at one point in time I was loved.


Zaria is a senior at McClintock High School. She is a lover of dogs,...