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A love story in several moving parts. Originally published incrementally on Instagram.

Title: Punctuation: A Poorly Titled Story About a Boy. Title: All the Things we Left Undone: A Story About Two Boys. Title: This is What I Have Left: About You. Title: I Tried to Title this Once: The Title Kept Growing: I Just Kept Adding to it Because I Couldn’t Bring Myself to Summarize You like That. Title: ~

You were sad-happy—sometimes happy-sad. On more than one occasion I caught you in a fit of angry-sad-happy, which was a nice—frightening—break from your simply being sad-happy. March–June you were mostly just sad-sad. I don’t blame you for it—some things in life are worth being sad-sad about, for at least a little while—I couldn’t ever blame you for it. Now—from where I’m standing—you’re most often happy-sad.

I liked it, that thing you did; the thing where you’d lift me up by my lips and set me down someplace I’d never been, never thought to go. It wasn’t much like you, but I liked you, and I liked it when you did it, and when you did it I didn’t tell you I liked it, so I’m telling you now. I’m telling you now, how much I liked it.

I was always tired/lonely/very lonely when I’d roll onto my side to look at you. The moonlight creased/split/slit your face in two and I couldn’t touch it. I couldn’t mend/sew/heal you and you didn’t even know you were splitting at the seams. Quietly/silently/seamlessly you slept and I didn’t. I didn’t.

You were #3. You were also #2. And I suppose #1 if we’re being honest. Or also #1 if we’re being wholly dishonest. Though if we’re being dishonest, I suppose you were also #5. And #6. Sometimes I like to think of you as #27, that’s only because I like the number 27. And of course, if we’re going only by your word, you weren’t at all.

I couldn’t’ve, shouldn’t’ve, wouldn’t’ve loved you. And, since I do, I’ve done a lot of things I couldn’t’ve, shouldn’t’ve, wouldn’t’ve done if I didn’t. So now I’ve done a bunch of things I couldn’t’ve, shouldn’t’ve, wouldn’t’ve done all because I did something I couldn’t’ve, shouldn’t’ve, wouldn’t’ve. But I can’t, I won’t, I don’t want to get over you.

What was it you wanted to ask me? Just urgent enough to unstick your body from my own, but just muttled enough to retract, what was it? Why?

If you ever were to say ‘I love you’ you’d surely say it with an exclamation point. An enthusiasm reserved for moments when sincerity is questionable, exaggerated if not falsified. Reserved for emails to people you don’t miss or text messages to one’s mother. Reserved for times you feel you should be feeling, but you aren’t.

“Would it be weird to say I miss you?”

* **** ***.

We sat together (facing each other) on your bed (with the red wine) and I helped you pack your past into a glass box (one of those shadowboxes, you were going to hang it above your bed in your new place). The box was too small (there was too much of you that mattered). No matter how we tried to spin it, no matter how we shifted, snipped, and folded, we couldn’t fit the pieces together in a way that made sense (we didn’t fit together in a way that made sense). So I left (eventually). I packed up and left you there (with all the pieces of your past spilled around a glass box).


Writer, Animator