Published by Open Love Letters


"Dear W,

I hate myself for not being able to flatten the curve when it comes to loving you. It’s been more than five years since you made that one half drunk confession to me: ‘It makes no sense, but I get jealous when I see you with her, I really like you’.

It made no sense because you were already in a relationship. We stayed in contact all those years. Countless times I was one click away from deleting you from my online life. But I couldn’t do it just yet. A few months ago nobody would have imagined we would be stuck in our houses on a Saturday night. We were both invited to join an online drink. I hesitated a bit, but I installed the social app Houseparty and amidst some of our mutual friends we talked, drank and played games. Games where nobody really wins.

I wondered if you remember all the times we ended up together in bars by waiting for everyone else to leave? Or that pitch I once gave you when you asked me what I wanted in which I said I did not have that much to offer, but I would do anything to make you happy? I like to believe we knew what we were doing those nights, just trying to have a glimpse of us together. Even if it was in such a hazy moment between days that really existed. It was always too short and too infused with alcohol, but the only place just for us.

Over the last five years I tried to forget you so many times. I did write you that one long email. Laying it all out there. You wrote me back and it hurt, even though you were right. Sometimes you would contact me late at night when I thought it was really over. But things changed, at first it were long and honest texts about things that seemed to matter, about us. Later we exchanged nonsensical memes, birthday wishes or best wishes for the new year. I still cherished those messages, as a sign of life, a heartbeat in the universe of our own. There was no reason for us to be social distancing then, but we did it. Because it was the right thing to do.

Falling for you – knowing you were in a relationship was stupid, but I couldn’t help it. I asked people if you were happy. Ultimately nothing physical happened between us. As if no-one would really get hurt if we would just keep this a ‘maybe in another life’ scenario. We both wanted to believe that there was a future somewhere. I remember that one time our legs touched under a table. Like to long lost lovers they embraced for what seemed like forever.

We didn’t talk for almost a year when a friend of mine recently told me you quit your job to travel through Europe in an old Volkswagen van. With COVID-19 you had to postpone those plans until things return to normal. I hope you can leave soon and collect all the happiness the world has to offer, even if you literally have to collect it from all over the world. Your plans, real plans, finally make me realize our final chapter would never – ever get written. So here I am, writing you this letter that you will probably never read. A fitting ending to something that never really was. Like all the other missed connections this virus is creating.

It’s ironic that a couple of days of social distancing in my room brought me more clarity than all those years of missed opportunities in crowded bars. Seeing you today - on one fifth of my iPhone screen - made me realize that I want things to go back to normal more that ever. I want to see you smile at some European beach at sunset. Even if it’s without me. I’ve been listening to Bright Eyes a lot these days and I think Coner Oberst said it best: ‘It all boiles down to one quotable phrase, if you love something, give it away.’

x Nick"