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I know it’s stupid and so like a teenage girl for me to be writing secret love letters to you; ones that I’ll never send. But I just can’t help it. I need to tell you all this stuff. Even though I’m never gonna actually let you see this letter.
I know you already have a girl in mind that you’d like to become your girlfriend. I know I’m only your friend, and I don’t stand a chance in being anything more. But I can’t help being mad at the girl (Elisabeth, I found out her name is) because you say she’ll never love you back.
Of course she will! And if she doesn’t, I’ll punch her. I’ll send her to Australia, to live with the convicts. (And here is yet another sign of why you wouldn’t date me – I’m too old-fashioned. Anyone knows that Australia doesn’t host convicts any longer.)
I wish her name wasn’t Elisabeth. It’s spelled with an “s”, which means she’s probably creative. So she can’t be all that bad. And if you’re in love with her, she must be something amazing. I guess I could like her, if you do.
Did you ever catch an inkling of how much I love you? Maybe not. Whenever we talked on the phone, all those two-hour-long conversations, I’d always want to hang up (or I’d pretend to; I was really dying to talk to you forever) and you’d always say, “No, don’t hang up.” And we’d keep talking.
Sometimes, I just want to slap myself for being so much like a teenage girl and so…stupid and wanting you to love me. But sometimes, I obsess over you. It’s true. I actually have made up several code names to you, so that I can enthuse about you to you over IM. It’s stupid and kind of weird, I know. But somehow, telling you about how much I love you made me feel better. Even though you didn’t know I was talking about you.
And you’re always so concerned. Whenever I say I’m dating a new guy, you always want to stalk him on Facebook; you want to meet him; you want me to tell you how the relationship is going. You’re always so overprotective. I wish you were overprotective like a boyfriend or husband would be. But you just care about me like a brother, like a friend. And I always tell people, “He’s just like a brother to me. He’s just a friend.”
I can convince anybody of anything. I could convince Newton that gravity didn’t exist or Columbus that the world is flat. But I could never convince you to love me. Because even though I don’t consider myself old-fashioned, I would never force anybody to love me.
In fact, after Aaron, I really didn’t want anybody to love me. Anybody but you, that is. I wanted everyone to hate me. But you loved me. You held me tight. I remember that you were astonished at first to find that I was crying; and I had never had such a strangely proud moment before. Because for some weird reason, that meant to me that you thought I was brave.
But for that moment, I didn’t want to be brave. I wanted you to be brave. And you were. You wanted to kill Aaron. You wanted me to get better help than you. But I wanted you. I didn’t want my parents or the law or any of the other people you suggested. For that moment, I just wanted you to hold me and never stop.
I remember that one moment when we were talking about Aaron, and suddenly, you just stopped talking and came a little closer, your hand drifting a little as though it wanted to reach out and touch my face, but you restrained it. You said, “Emma, are you okay?” You said my name in a way nobody had ever said it before.
And I don’t know why, but those four words undid me completely. I was already shaking and about to cry, but when you said that, I burst into tears, and then you stopped restraining yourself, and you just wrapped me in your arms…and you held me, and you weren’t embarrassed. You smelled good, and your arms were strong, and they felt like they wanted to hold me forever.
But I know they didn’t. You want to hold Elisabeth. But you think she won’t let you hold her. Oh, won’t she? Girls have always fallen all over themselves trying to catch you. And yet – and yet – even though you’ve always paid attention to me…you somehow…it was different.
You never flirted with me. You were always so careful with me, like I was a white rose that would become stained or ruined if you touched it. But I didn’t care if you ruined me. I never considered myself a white rose; that was how I presented myself to you. I’m more of a rambling, wild, red rose. A crimson rose. Full of the blood of others and passion to possess.
But this letter has become too long already. I don’t know if I’ll write you more letters, but I hope they’ll be more…cheerful than this one. Actually, come to think of it, I needn’t make them any more cheerful. Nobody’s ever going to see this, if I can help it.
Well, I guess I’ll just close by saying that I love you. I’ve said that to you before, and you’ve said it to me, but it’s very different this time. I’m not drunk while I’m saying it this time, and I’m not meaning that I love you like a brother.
I love you like I want to marry you. And I can say that shamelessly. I love you.