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Lily—

Lovely, lovely Lily.
I’m an idiot. I am an idiot! I am an idiot, Lily!
How many times would you like me to say it?
Ten? Twenty? A hundred?
I’ll say it a hundred times. I will. I promise. Right now. I’ll write until my hand cramps, and I’ll keep going after that. One hundred times for you, Lily.
I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot.
There. One hundred. Count them. There’s a hundred, Lily. I swear. There’s a hundred. And I’ll say it a hundred and one more times if you’d just see me. Why won’t you see me? I love you, Lily. I love you more than you’ll understand. And I’m an idiot!
I’m an idiot, Lily. I know. How do you want me to write it? Do you want me to write it in capitals? I’M A IDIOT! How about Spanish? Except, you know I failed Spanish. How about in red? I’ll write it in red for you, Lily. Except, my red pens out of ink.

I’m walking. I’m going there right now. I’m walking to Staples, Lily. It’s ten o’clock at night and I’m walking along Winnichester Road and I’m going to Staples. And I’m going to get a red pen and I’m going to write it in red. And then I’m going to make pretty red hearts all over this letter. And you know how much I hate hearts. And you will open this letter and you will see how much I love you because all those hearts will represent all the love I have for you and there will be so many you’ll lose count after two hundred.

Damn it! Staples is closed. I’m banging on the window. I’m banging on the window with the fist and pressing this letter against the front doors. The salesperson tells me to “Go home! We’re closed!” I bang on the window with my fist, harder this time. Hard. Bang. Bang.


I bang on the window until the salesperson throws a box of paperclips at the window. They explode as the plastic of the window collides with the little paper box. Paperclips fly every which way, and the salesperson screams.

Now I’m running. I’m running away from the salesperson because he’s running around the parking lot, looking for me. He’s checking under the cars and crawling between the shopping carts.

I’m running fast, Lily, because I love you. I love you so much and I don’t want to be killed by the Staples’s salesperson. And I promise you I will go back tomorrow and I will get that red pen and I will cover this letter with little red hearts just to show how much I love you. Even if it means the salesperson will be there and will kill me with a box of paperclips.

I love you, Lily. I love you, who wears you hair in little braids at night so that it curls in just the right way. You who always says you will study for the history test for hours, but is always frantic the period before the test as you search for the notes you know you didn’t take. You who accidentally waxed your eyebrows off in eighth grade and consequentially has never looked the same. You who used to love me.

Oh, I’m an idiot, baby. I’m an idiot and you know it. You know it and yelled it at me as I tried to climb that tree in your front yard. And you screamed, “Get out, you idiot!” as you pushed me out of that tree, tears in your sweet hazel eyes, and I went tumbling back to the first floor.

But I love you, Lily. I love you even though you broke my arm and even though I can hear the salesperson breathing heavily not more than a few feet away. I shouldn’t write—I really shouldn’t write. He can hear my pen, I know he can. He has grown quiet. He’s listening.

But I love you. I don’t care about the murderous salesperson or the red pen or my lime green cast or my ripped jacket or the oil on my pants. All I care about is you, Lily, because you loved me. You loved me, Lily, when no one else would. You loved me even after the skunk that I thought was Muffy sprayed me. You loved me even when I fell off my roof and couldn’t get off my back for five weeks. You loved me even when my mom dressed me up as a girl for Halloween and made me take Penny and her friends around the neighborhood.

Don’t you remember this, Lily? Don’t you remember all the things you loved me for? Don’t you remember putting on eye shadow up to your eyebrows and those fishnet tights and walking around with Penny and me, laughing when the old ladies clucked their tongues at us? Don’t you remember this?
I remember all the things about you that I love.

I love how your lips are always chapped because you lost all your chap stick. I love how you forget to tie your shoes, and once got a black eye because you tripped over your shoelaces and landed face first in Coach Oliver’s cart of basketballs. I love how some days your hair is so big because you accidentally brush your hair and the curls go wild.

The salesperson gave up. He’s going back inside now. But I won’t leave. It’s kind of peaceful, lying under this Mini Cooper. And it gives me time to think about you. About how whenever a REO Speedwagon song came on the radio, you would close your eyes and dance along, like no one else existed.

“Come out, come out, little boy.” That’s the salesperson. He’s back. He’s locked up the store. Now he’s walking around the cars in the parking lot, shaking his keys and saying, “Here, little boy. Here, here!”

But don’t you see, Lily? Don’t you see what I’m trying to say? It’s not about the salesperson. It’s not about the red pen or my green cast. It isn’t about the jacket that ripped in half as I fell a story and a half from your Elm tree. It most certainly isn’t about my jeans with the oil on the knees from hiding under the Mini Cooper.

It’s about you, Lily. It’s about how much I love you. I love you more than Romeo could ever have loved Juliet. I love you more than Beyonce loves Jay-Z. I even love you more than Ronald Regan could ever love Nancy.

I love you, baby. As Sunny and Cher would say, “I got you, babe.” Or, did have you. Oh, Lily, please, please take me back. You know I’m an idiot. That was the only thing I was hiding from you. I swear! I don’t hide things! I didn’t even mean to hide the thing about being an idiot; I just didn’t know.

I’m running again. I’m running along Winnichester and it’s ten-thirty. The salesperson is driving a green Camry and driving on the sidewalk. He’s screaming and he’s gaining on me. I can’t outrun a car. I can’t outrun a car, Lily.

But I don’t care. I don’t want to outrun a car if you won’t take me back, Lily.

“And I’m gonna keep on loving you.”

“What are you singing about, boy? What you singing? I’m gonna kill you, boy!”

“’Cause it’s the only thing I wanna do. I don’t want to sleep. I just wanna keep on loving you!”

“Shut up, boy! Shut your face, boy. I’m going to KILL you!”

Can’t you see? Don’t you see now? I love you. I love you. I just serenaded you from afar. And I will do again if you let me.

I love you, Lily. I may be a idiot, but I love you with all my heart. If it would help I would give you all the red pens in the world. I would break both my arms—even my legs. I would sit under a Mini Cooper all day for you, baby.

I love you, Lily. Please take me back.

“I’m gonna kill you, boy!”

Love,

The Idiot





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