I have always been an introvert. Half the things I wish to say go unexpressed. But people say I'm good with my written words---my writing strikes a chord.
I tried writing letters once. He was my crush in seventh grade, the cute boy with freckles. I was shy. He was outspoken. He'd smile at me and I fell for his charm, a little more every time. I'd admire him from a distance, his lovely blond hair, his sea blue eyes. It was my counsellor's idea to write letters. Perhaps she noticed I was the passive aggressive kind---the kind who'd suppress feelings until sick. She said I needed to direct my energy in a positive manner. She thought that it would do me good to share my feelings with James.
It was on her suggestion that I'd started this chain of letters that I'd never have the courage to mail him. One by one, these secret confessions filled up pages of my journal. Over time, I started immersing myself so completely into this activity, that it gradually took precedence over everything else in my life. I found excuses to skip the counselling sessions. My classmates called me queer. The bullying increased. So did the body shaming.
I ignored them. James was my Adonis, my God, and I would worship him for the rest of my life, or so I thought. Until graduation day---that was when my dreamboat chose a university in the US. I fantasised slashing my wrist at the farewell, bleeding before him until he changed his decision. But I'd dropped the idea knowing that I might bleed to death without uttering a word and offer my classmates a chance to ridicule me even after death.
Instead, I burned my journal in frustration. But I saved the ashes---to commemorate my first love. He was going away, and I still couldn't confess my feelings for him. As time went by, I consoled myself that it would have never worked. He'd have been in NY already asleep while I'd be wide awake here in Brisbane. How long could that kind of relationship last anyway? But then again, when has the heart ever listened to reason?
When I heard he'd come home for Thanksgiving, I found myself waiting in the bushes in front of his house just to catch a glimpse of him. In the days to come, I followed him wherever he went. I don't think he noticed. He was too busy on the phone. I figured he had a girlfriend named Liz, back in New York. She called him 'Jimmy' and texted him incessantly.
"I love you, Jimmy boy." "Sweet dreams, Jimmy boy." You must be wondering how I know. Well, I saw for myself. I sneaked around and checked his phone that day. I swear I was going to put it right back. But James entered his room just then and freaked out.
"H...how did you get in?" he stammered. I nervously pointed towards the open window. That's when I saw his blue eyes fill with shock and disgust. He savagely held me by the arm and dragged me out of his room, down the stairs, to the front door.
I panicked, and rattled off my feelings for him the best way I could. I had even brought along the urn of ash that I'd saved from graduation day. I'd intended to place it on his bed before sneaking out again. But on hearing that, he only got wilder.
"Grow up, Jess! You need to stop playing psycho," he screamed, incensed at my confession. "You are lucky my folks are out tonight. They'd have surely called the cops on you."
I tried to understand. Did James just call me 'Psycho'. I'd always thought he was different. All through school, he had been the only kid in class who didn't think I was a loser, who smiled at me, treated me like I was human. I could deal with the whole neighbourhood calling me names, but not James. He was my first love and probably my last.
In the eerie silence of the night, I walked back home, heartbroken. But I had no regrets now. All the letters I'd written to him had found a way to reach him in the end. It's true what people say; I'm good with my hands. All it took was one clean stroke to get him crashing to the floor. As I saw him gasp for his final breath, I collected the spilled contents of the smashed urn with my hands. The ash was a little wet with the trickle of blood from his forehead and nostrils.
But it was still good enough to commemorate my one true love.
I have always been an introvert. But I don't write letters anymore. I write stories now...