I think I should start with a hello, though it may be wasted on you. Business, and the slack jaw rapidness of an auctioneer, is your mode of conversation, so I’ll instead hope that wherever you are, it’s sunny and you’re happy.
I can’t tell if you are, to be frank. I know that’s hard to believe me not knowing you or really me not knowing me, but you’re young, Kacper. You’re a pup. A little fart. A mere shell of prehistoric fossils and I can barely remember you.
You see, I’m you but older though it’s very well possible my archaic lexicon gives that fact away. Words like archaic and lexicon are surefire indicators of how ancient you’ve become.
I’m sorry for becoming old, but there was nothing we could’ve done about it. Your knees crack when you bend and you feel tired even after you wake up and you start to drink coffee and you’ll figure out the rest as it goes on. Sometimes you won’t; I’m sorry for that too.
But I write not to give you a false sense of security or warning of the future. Know that shit happens, and loads of it will come flushing your way after those cherry-blossom twilight days you find yourself in pass. It’ll be shit so unbelievable that you won’t be ready and nothing can prepare you for it. Even these words fail to grasp their weight, and any warning now will only work to herald the inevitable end of the world for the both of us. They might even precipitate it.
But know that terrible events will occur, and they will always occur, even after you’re gone. That’s not exactly comforting, but it’s something and it’s enough. You are me, and I’m still here, and together, we always get through things even if it’s problems with ourselves. As you’ve been led to believe, and still believe to this day, there is sun even on the cloudy days. It’s just somewhere else.
I am writing to you on one of those cloud-riddled days, though I fear that this message won’t get to you in time. I’m afraid that when you receive it, you’ll be starting your fourth year in University with a dirty mop of a haircut and a laziness that seems palpable; your parents will look at you as a trophy on a case, a forgotten memory of triumph reserved for better days; you’ll be a mess of yourself, of who you thought you should be, and who you never were – and the three categories will never be in agreement, and you won’t either, and you’ll wonder if anything ever is, if it ever was.
And then you’ll look back to your grade twelve self, and you’ll see a boy who thought even if the world wasn’t flat, he could learn the limits of it, and if he only tried in whatever he attempted, he would eventually have success, and that boy, with an indefatigable dream of becoming anything but that boy, would be smiling.
From there, you’ll try to rearrange the haze of memories that you once somehow lived, and at that point, you’ll write a letter to that same boy you were to figure out why he was smiling way back when. And here is what you’ll get:
I hear you are in love, Kacper, and know that this is just about the best feeling a person can be in. It’s your first, and it’s beautiful because she is.
Before her, you used to wonder what love was exactly. You didn’t have much of a definition when you first found yourself in her arms and she in yours, but you promised to at least to give her poems and corny jokes until the morning came.
You waited six months to say you loved her and when you tried that first time, it came out choppy, roundabout, and borderline skeptical, as though you were questioning yourself even then. You first started talking about the weather. Then the movie. Then you kissed her to stop blathering altogether, hoping that your lips smacking against one another was enough sound and fury for now.
At the time, she laid on top of you and you wondered if maybe Adam and Eve was truth because you fit together so nicely, then you exhaled and she did too and you couldn’t tell if was your breathe or hers that you were inhaling.
Then you said it. The words came and went suddenly and it was your three-worded masterpiece. It was all you needed to say, all you never could until right then, right there, no sooner, no later.
It was love.
Though the first utterance was guttural and nearly incoherent, I want you to know that love hasn’t changed much since that moment when you first gave it existence by finding the words for it. As far as I can tell, the best definition isn’t any different than a stuttering young eighteen year old can figure out.
For love is farting around a girl and then farting around with her after the smell abates. Sometimes she farts too, and that’s when you know it’s real. Because no matter what you produce or sounds you excrete, love is just hot gas that can eventually grow cold without the right fuel.
What I want for you Kacper is more than love. Even though you’re just figuring out the former, know that this love you feel now will not last. Despite it not being puppy love, it’ll be gone before either of the two of you know it, and you’ll fight to keep it together, and then, when the ambers cool and the air between you two spreads, you’ll spend whatever is left trying to remember where the time went.
Big build-a-bear boxes will come to mind along with a rose that would never die. Crunchy wrappers and burnt pizzas, little scribbles and a first poem will clutter in your closet. Clothes worn for favour, hidden jokes, a litany of likes and dislikes will come and go, and you’ll be somewhere else when they do. The random flurry of memories will hit you when you least expect it – when you’re cooking, shitting, or kissing another girl, and you’ll smile from time to time for no reason at all except for her, wherever she is and however far apart the two of you are.
Nowhere in between these grave distances of space and time from your present to mine will you stop loving her. You always will. You promised her that much long ago and it’s the one promise you can keep without even trying.
Though I told you here that the two of you will end, Kacper, don’t rush to find the finish line. All things ends eventually, you included, and there’s nothing you can do about that one either.
So instead of racing towards something finite, cherish her. Laugh with her, talk with her, fuck her anyways. Even if you’ll end. Especially if you’ll end.
I want you to grab her hand right at this moment, and I want you to feel it with all the sensation you can muster. Course your fingers along her palm learning the contours of her skin, then maze your way to her knuckles and feel if they have any callous and then move slowly towards her cuticles, soaking in all the tiny hairs grazing across her fingers, and stop their, at the beginning of her nail where there are small, red scars from her incessant picking and try to press your fingerprints into the wax of her skin so as to make sure she won’t forget you and you won’t forget her either. Then when you’re satisfied, when there’s a print of your uniqueness on her, do it all again. Do it until you have her memorized or until she says, “Kacper, we’ve spent all day in bed, don’t you think we should do something other than play with my hands?”
And if she doesn’t say that, then I want you to do whatever you want – fully, entirely, with the sum of everything you can give – because it is you who loves her and you who knows what they want, whatever it is.
For now, it’s her. It won’t always be, but it is now and don’t you damn well forget it. Don’t think about anything else except this moment, this second, the very limited centimeter of her life that she has given you and you have given her. Together, you have almost made an inch and that means something.
What? Only you will know that. And maybe you already have figured it out. I mean look at how much you’re smiling. Look at how much she is.
Eventually, that smile will fade and when it does, the two of you will fade with it. During those times, I want you to persevere if not for yourself, then for her, and if that’s not enough, then for the both of you. Two are stronger than one, and so in the coming days and nights with no moon in sight, you’ll need to be strong. No light will guide you except the one you spark yourself, and it waves and falters and ebbs in the wind if you let it. Besides, you’re practically blind: you can only see during the daytime with your glasses.
In the coming months, because you won’t look straight at all, you’ll make mistake after mistake after mistake and people will suffer under it. She’ll be the reason for those mistakes and you’ll make the mistake of seeing her again after it all.
Still, don’t be an asshole, asshole. Apologize to those people; it’ll be a long time coming, and you might do it after this letter, but know that they’ll hate you for what happened, and in a way, you’ll hate yourself for allowing it – the love for her – to happen too.
When that’s done, and you’re in between those regrets where you will wish you could’ve acted differently, get up. Shake the sleep from those legs. Act. Do. Feel. Wear socks. Funny socks. Colourful socks. Live, for Christ sake, and if you’re in those socks while the thirst of life is at your tongue, then you’re all the better for it.
That way, when you see her again, and see how different the two of you have become and yet how similar she has remained with those hands and those fingers and those cuticles – those scratchy-scratched cuticles – you’ll have stories to tell that are shown in your laughter and the tapping of your feet.
She’ll say you look different, and you’ll say that it must be your glasses. You see differently, you’ll tell her.
She’ll let you know that her hair is dyed. You’ll say that you can barely tell. Must be the light.
Then you’ll talk about life, and love, and how silly the two of you were back then, and there won’t be an awkward silence between the two of you. Talk. Talk. Talk. It’ll be a time-machine of words, and each one, hesitantly weighed and anxiously delivered, will be a ghost of love, a ghost of the two of you.
When it ends, and the conversation fades away, she’ll leave and the words will be all you have left. You’ll be left with your own and she with hers and the two of you will see if they still meant what they used to.
You’d like to believe they do, but if there is a slight chance that they don’t, then say exactly what you mean now, eighteen year old Kacper. Make sure you mean what you want what you will say. Always.
For the future will be determined by the words you use and the words you don’t and you have a great start already. I love you was a masterwork.
So, Kacper, stay trusting with her because it’s better than anxiety, stay happy with her because it’s more fulfilling than sadness, and stay so hopefully in love with her because one day you won’t be. You deserve it, and she all the more.
Until we meet, warm regards,