A Lover Letter

November 22, 2009
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Dear Olivia,

It has taken five months for me to work up the courage to write this. Ever since we were lab partners in chemistry, it’s been harder and harder for me to retain a good grade in that class. I started off early in the semester with an A. The day you moved next to me I’m pretty sure it dropped to a D.

I’m not sure what it is about you, but I can’t stop watching you. I’m not trying to be creepy, I promise. I think you’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. I know you don’t think you’re pretty, but trust me, you are. I love your brown hair and how when you move your head I can smell your shampoo. I love your hazel eyes and your long eyelashes that touch your cheeks with you blink. I love how your face becomes crimson when you get an answer wrong in class.

I wish I could talk to you. Writing letters like these aren’t satisfying. Jason keeps telling me to talk to you, but the thought makes me nauseated. I’m intimidated by you. You’re too pretty, too smart, too nice. You might not notice, but every time you look at me, my entire body gets all tense. Do you remember the one lab we did in November when you pulled my hand away so the Bunsen burner wouldn’t hurt me? When you touched me, it was like… I can’t even describe it. You were so nonchalant about it, but it was all I could think about all day. Your hand is so small and delicate, alabaster skin with your silver class ring. I wish I could control it, but I can’t help how my body reacts to you.

You’re amazing, you know that? I think this all started in 9th grade when you stood up to that senior who was tormenting Lisa. She was being so mean to her, but even your fourteen your old self wasn’t afraid to tell her to back off. I watched that from my locker and just stood in awe. If some older kid bullied Jason, I’d probably just accept it because we were younger. I wish I had that quality, to stand up for what I believe in. But if I had that, I’d have told you I liked you by now.

The one thing I don’t understand about you is why you’re not dating someone else. If I had the guts to talk to you, I’d ask you out in a second. You had a date to homecoming every year. First it was Jimmy Dawson. Olivia, he was never good enough for you. He’s not smart and he’s too much of a stereotypical jock. Sophomore year, Mike Bold asked you. He’s a nice guy, I guess. So why didn’t you date him? Secretly in my mind I always told myself it was because you liked me instead. And why not Lars, the foreign exchange student from Sweden from junior year? Or why not Sam from this year? These guys have tortured me for years. Every time a new guy asked you out, I’d hold my breath to see if you’d accept. I’d watch you flirt from afar and I listened to you talk to your girlfriends in chemistry about them. I was in pain these past four years watching you with these other guys, especially when they hurt you.

When I found out Sam cheated on you, I wanted to tell you, I promise. I was so close to just pulling you aside and whispering the news. I hate myself for letting you find out the hard way. I heard how it happened. You walked in on them in Sam’s parents’ bedroom. I heard you cried all the way home. I should have told you. That entire week I just wanted to hold you in my arms to comfort you. I wish I had been brave enough to tell you sooner.

Olivia, I know you were really upset after the break up. The week after it happened, your eyes were red from sleeplessness. Your hair was disheveled and your cheeks were more flushed than usual. I hate when you’re unhappy. More than anything else, I just want to see you smile or laugh. Your laugh is high and full of life, your smile full and toothy. I missed that. I hope you didn’t blame yourself for what he did. Someone would have to be out-of-their-mind crazy not to like you.

It’s almost a relief high school is about to be over. It will be painful not to see you anymore, but it’s even more painful to see you and not be with you. When you’re in New York for college and I’m still in Missouri, I hope you find someone who is worthy of you. You need someone who’s man enough to talk to you, unlike me. I can’t believe we’re graduating tomorrow. I remember first meeting you when I transferred freshman year. You were a few inches shorter, but other than that, you’re exactly the same. Strong, smart, independent, beautiful, witty, caring. I could list thirty more adjectives if I wanted to, probably better ones at that.

Before I clear my word document of these words, I want to list all of the things I love about you, just as catharsis – to get it all out. There are so many things, but a few come to mind right away: I love the way the arm on your sticks straight up when you’re cold. I love your freckles. I love how every time you get a good grade on a test you’re humble and you don’t tell anyone. I love that you say thank you to the lunch ladies. I love your signature, with its loopy script and thin writing. I love watching you do math; you’re so precise and careful. I love your collarbone. I love when you bite your lip.

I don’t regret feeling like this, although it’s not like it was a choice I made, liking you. It was painful at times, torturous even. But most of the time, I was happy. I was content to be just your lab partner. Although we never interacted much outside of chemistry class, those fifty minutes of school every day were worth it. I regret not asking you out. You’d probably say no, but I bet you’d be really nice about it. When we graduate tomorrow, I’m going to clap extra hard when you get your diploma. You deserve it.
Sincerely,
Daniel





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alex9426 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 26, 2009 at 7:00 pm
that was so sweet. i loved it. cuz u didn't say how it ended, i'm just gonna believe that he printed it and gave it to her or stuck it in her locker, and they got together cuz happy endings are the best!
 
Dreamer1013 said...
Dec. 25, 2009 at 4:53 pm
that was beautiful. is this an actual letter or fanciful?
 
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