letters to men (i’ve never sent)

keeping things & letting them go

sara david
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readDec 16, 2013

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the other day i sat across from you on my couch and we started laughing. you said, “oh, those dimples…” under your breath and i turned bright red. i stroked your face while you talked about your inability to grow facial hair, we laughed at your feet that stuck out of my bed. (you are too tall.) you were so vulnerable in my hands, between my legs, on your back, under your clothes. when you lay down while i sucked your cock and laughed when my hair tickled your stomach, i fell in love with you. and when you wrapped your arms around me, i tried to sleep that way. i was so close to your perfect mouth and right up against your perfect skin. but i tossed and turned.

i had prayed for your death since i was twelve. when i ran away from you, you still found me. whenever i received a letter from you in my campus mailbox, i could not go to class for the rest of the day. i could not leave my room. i could not leave my bed. when i had dreams of you, i woke up in the middle of the night and sat in my shower, scrubbing my pussy and hands raw until they bled. (sometimes i cried, but it didn’t matter.)

you once wrote in a letter, “everything i did was out of love for you. if i was wrong, it was because i was so overwhelmed by your perfection that i could not think straight. i would never hurt you. i love you.”

when she told me you died, it knocked the wind out of me. i ran home, gasping, crying, choking. (like the time you saw me last.) i cried and cried. i burned your letters on the beach. alone in the dark, i whispered your name out loud and thought, the only man who loves me is dead. thank you, god. thank you, thank you, thank you.

i found this years-old memory while i was scrubbing my archive of photos of myself. you took it when we lived in the east village on your parents’ dime. we were good, and then euphoric, and then tragic. but never safe. maybe that’s what you look for at twenty—something that burns twice as bright and twice as fast, like that time you slapped me hard across the face so i threw your records out the window. you iced my eye and held me while i cried. as you slept, i went outside where your records crashed to see what i could salvage.

(nothing.)

your mother still sends me christmas cards, did you know that?

i ran away from you. i ran away from home. i ran away from school. i think i tried to find myself, but i found you instead. i think i tried to make my life without men, but i found los angeles instead. on the fourth of july, i grilled for my girlfriends and felt at once happy and lonely. you sent me a text message, “hey stranger, curious where you are these days… moving to san diego in august.” as if you knew exactly where i was. as if you always would.

do you remember what that day was like? grey and rainy, cold and sleepy, swaying back and forth on the g train. we fucked all day in a room without windows and it was the first time someone ever came in my mouth (but i didn’t tell you.) i lay there and held it inside, the way i cupped lightning bugs in my hands my first summer in america. delicately, eyes wide with fascination.

you stood up and turned the light back on while i pulled the sheets over my body. you were looking for something to say to get me to leave and just like that, it had passed. this thing that was supposed to be special, gone forever with no acknowledgment. i wondered why it had always been that way or if it will always be that way.

that time i tried to keep all the lightning bugs in a jar, when i woke the next morning, they were all dead. the next night i caught them in my hands and let them go after a little while. once i started doing that, i lost interest and didn’t find much reason to catch them at all.

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