don’t say goodbye

by Lila C., 12

Dear you,

You used to be a living man. Angry? Yes. But living. Your breath smelled like beer and crab cakes. Your favorite meal. Your short brown hair was always messy, irregardless of how short you cut it. Your smile never faded from your lips, though your eyes never felt the pure joy of freedom your lips gave me. You never could stop telling me how beautiful I am. Was. Before I killed you. I still taste the salty tears of your loss everytime I whisper your name. And I remember the crack in your ribs when they carried you to the hospital. 

“Are you family?” the nurse asked when I begged to see you. I knew you were dead by then. You didn’t have a chance. But I still longed to see your face one last time. Even if it was to brush your eyes closed and pretend you were just asleep. That would have been so easy. But instead I shook my head and ran away. I left you.

If you’re Romeo. I’m Juliet. That’s so cheesy, I know it, love. You always said I’m too sappy, crying everytime I hear about a stray puppy. You also said that was one of the things you loved most about me – my big heart. 

I would do anything to see you one last time. To rest my lips on yours. But instead you’re dead. 

In loving memory of my soulmate – rest in peace, my love.

Sincerely,

One who is still alive 

Dear you,

I don’t know why I’m doing this, honestly. Writing letters to the dead. Remembering you, my soulmate. Remembering the pain I put you through. I am your killer. I heaved the knife into your numb body over and over until it was no longer a cut but a deep gash of hate. I let you go. I loosened life’s grip on you until you just floated away into death. And then I managed to pull myself away from your lifeless, dead, cold body. 

Now, every morning, when I awake, I open my eyes, hoping – praying – to see your helpless eyes staring back at me with a smile on your closed lips. But instead, I face a pool of blood. Your blood. The blood that I see every single time I close my eyes to dream. And your abandoned cries. Screaming for someone to love you. And that’s how you died, my love, cold and abandoned, letting go slowly. As if only then the realization hit that you were dying.

I’m sorry. That’s all I can say, love. I will have to live with myself, if only to preserve your holy memory. But that is a punishment in itself. I will always love you. And I will never forget the blood.

In loving memory of my soulmate – whose last living memory is clouded in blood.

Sincerely,

One who is still alive 

Dear you,

Why can’t I remember the happy times? Us. . . I remember the day I awoke to see the other side of our bed empty – your side. You always slept late. You wouldn’t wake up early for anything. Anyone. So I was a nervous wreck. I looked all around the castle of a house you bought us after we shared our vows. All rooms were painted a gorgeous royal blue. And there was one room, your study, where the entire wall was just a window. Just glass, like me, you could see right through it. That was your favorite room. 

I ran into the kitchen first, that was the only reason you’ve ever gotten out of bed. You weren’t there. I called out your name in hope but silence greeted me instead. My blood ran cold. I looked around. Then I walked into the dining room. The candles. You decorated the room with cheesecake scented candles, my favorite. I sobbed out your name. Tears of relief and joy flooded my soft cheeks. You made me a feast. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast, fruit, scones, biscuits. I leaped over to you, our hands touched. “You get so worked up all for nothing, dear, isn’t that right?” Your face was bright. That was before you died. Before I killed you.

I wish I could remember more things like that. Things like sunsets and. . . and just pure happiness. You were a ray of sunshine. You were my ray of sunshine. I want my ray of sunshine back. I want it back! I want it back! This isn’t fair. 

In loving memory of my soulmate – I’ll remember the good times.

Sincerely,

One who is still alive 

Dear you,

I’m getting tired of doing this. Letters for only a ghost to find. I can’t keep living without you. I can’t live in our house. I can’t sleep in our bed. I can’t walk on our land. Without you I’m alone. I’m nothing without my loving soulmate. I need you back. I need someone to read this. Someone who loves me. Someone who understands that I only did it for you. I let you go so you could achieve your dreams. And you can’t achieve your dreams in a small study with no one but. . . but me. I watched you rot away, trying to concentrate. Trying to make money. I had you pinned. I didn’t want to leave you, but what choice did I have? 

I tried to make you understand. I tried to tell you that I loved you and I just wanted you to be happy – with or without me. But then you were murdered. I killed you. I am guilty. And I hope you haunt me. I deserve it, for what I did. 

I didn’t even want to believe it was true. I nearly fainted when I saw your murder for the first time, I understood. I was there when you lost consciousness for the last time and I called the police, the present bastards just watched in horror. I was scared then. I wanted you back. I still do. I needed you. I still need you. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have children. I don’t have a family. I don’t have anyone. And now I don’t even have you, love.

If I died today no one would come to my funeral. If I couldn’t care for myself no one would care for me. If there was a gun pointed at my neck no one would rescue me. 

I will never love again.

In loving memory of my soulmate – I’ll always miss you, love.

Sincerely,

One who is still alive

Dear you,

You, my love, were always trying to forget. The day your mother died you said you didn’t have anything to do with her the minute you turned eighteen. You said you didn’t care for her. You said my mother was a precious, dear girl at heart and was as sweet as her homemade cherry-apple pie but, no, your mother was a terrible person, a murder. Just like I am now. I remember looking you straight in the eyes and asking you if you didn’t remember the surprise party she threw when you turned twenty. She flew in a week before to make the arrangements. It was amazing. You were so happy and surprised. There were party streamers and confetti decorations everywhere. Your mother invited all your closest friends. I remember she asked me ahead of time what your favorite flavor was, so when there was a six layered chocolate cake awaiting.

I remember you fell to your knees afterward, you remembered. You had to remember. Tears fell like rain down your pink cheeks. I held you in my arms for a long while. 

Before you died – before I killed you – we were inseparable. We were perfectly happy. But, at some point, I realized you could do so much better. You didn’t need me. I was just another person to feed. I was just more weight in the bed. Another chair at the dinner table. 

But now. . . I can’t wake up to an empty bed anymore. I can’t sleep on such a big mattress. I can’t breath in this mansion. I get lost walking in my own house! I need to leave. I need to escape the painful memories that bind me and this house together, this terrible place! I’m scared. Help me, my love.

In loving memory of my soulmate – We always forget ourselves in the memories.

Sincerely,

One who is still alive 

Dear you,

If I swore my life that this was the last letter then I’d be dead by tomorrow. I need you. I need to see another human staring back at me. No, I need you. I need to see your bright eyes and pale skin, you hold no judgment. I want to rest in your strong arms once again. I want to feel safe under your protective eye. Like the time we went to the town market – there was a handsome young man there. You were coming back from the restroom at that time so you didn’t see him. He was staring at me in an odd manner. He walked over and put an arm on my shoulders. He told me his name and handed me a notecard with his number written on the back. He was tall and muscular but you could take him out in a heartbeat. But by then you seemed to notice what was going on. “Can I help you, sir?” you asked in a tone I’d never heard before. I never imagined you could ever be so cold and vicious. You grabbed the notecard, which he was still holding out for me to take, and ripped it in half, breaking the remains into tiny pieces. “I’ll do that to your head if you don’t get!” you threatened. You dropped the tiny remains of the notecard on the ground. The man looked shocked. “Well? Don’t litter!” you yelled. 

I never really remembered that man’s name. I guess it never fully computed. I never saw him again nor do I hope to. But I need someone. And that someone needs to be you, love. I need you back.

In loving memory of my soulmate – you protected me.

Sincerely,

One who is still alive

Dear you,

Yesterday. Yesterday it was too late. I already wrote the letter. But then I remembered. A remembrance you might call it. A memory. I remember after finding out that I killed you, I ran to our room and cried. But then I found a letter addressed to me. I guess you wrote it and put it in my room – our room – before you died. The day you died. You put it there the day you died. Placed it under the duck feather pillow on my side of the bed. 

“Love,

Without you I’m alone. I need you to. . . be. And without you I can’t be. I say goodbye to you, love, knowing that I was never enough digs my grave. Now it’s time to put me in it.

After death,

Your Romeo”

I remember the pain that sliced through my veins. I’m reliving the memory all over again in my heart. It hurts. I want you back, my love. If I’d know how destroyed you were. If I’d gotten home sooner. . . I could have saved your life. But instead I killed you. I am the murder. I am guilty! I am done remembering! I rather remember you as vicious and cruel. I rather remember you when. . . no. I can’t remember. I won’t remember. I refuse to remember, my love. Goodbye, love. 

In loving memory of my soulmate – I am the reason you killed yourself.

Sincerely,

One who is still alive

Dear you,

In my previous letter I committed the most vile, terrible crime. I said goodbye. So I must be punished. I tried to leave you once again! You, even as a ghost, have skin woven into my heart binned with only love, the unbreakable chain. I want you back. I can see your eyes as you haunt me. You read the letters. I deserve the pain you put me through. I killed you! I am the guilty one! I left you! If I hadn’t left you then you’d still be alive. My heart is thumping in my chest for every memory I have with you. When they’re all gone, I will be too. I will join you. My life is incomplete without you. I can’t control the fear. It won’t stop. I am dying. I can feel it. I am being pushed under the waves. For every sin I’ve committed I get pushed deeper into the haunting waves. But I don’t die. I’m so close to death but I can’t die. I’m being tortured with the one thing I want for than you. Please, life, god, anything, anyone. . . free me. I am lost. I need you back, my love. Why am I not dead yet? Why isn’t my punishment over yet? When will life give us the same ending? 

I need something that only you can give me. Forgiveness. And I don’t know where to find you. All I know is that you’re in hell somewhere. Slaving away, wishing someone had loved you. You don’t deserve that. You deserve the world. You promised me the world. You never gave it to me. I’m not the only one with forgotten promises, love. With secrets. I know there was always something you were trying to forget. Something from your past, haunting you. I wasn’t the only one there the night of your death. It’s as if someone. Something. Something was lurking. 

In loving memory of my soulmate – you will never truly die. 

Sincerely,

One who is still alive

Dear you,

Exactly three years ago I met you, the love of my life. The one who held me close. The one who told me that it’s okay to breathe when nobody’s watching. The one who remembers the pain I put you through. I am forced to remember. I just can’t anymore. It hurts too much. The bitter truth. The distant feeling of pain. No. The ongoing pain. My life without you. 

Sometimes I still wake up and look for you. I stare up at the sky and look for your face in the skies. What we could have been. . . the stars will someday carry me to you. But only once I end my debt to the world for taking you away. 

Love is still a memory. And unless I die soon it will be long forgotten. Just like you. Writing these letters is becoming too painful, love. Without you I am nothing.

But maybe it’s time I let myself forgive a little. Maybe I can die and go to hell. That would be nice, to finally end. I’ve lived a painful life so maybe it’s time I end it. I love you. Goodbye.

Madison, Wisconsin