I know how to smile properly. My body is mostly proportional. I’m not always factually smart, but I am conceptually smart. I don’t mind giving compliments, and it is impossible to tell the difference between the compliments I mean verses the ones I don’t. I’m decent at remembering what is important to my friends. I want to grow old next to an ocean, preferably the Pacific.
I’m good at listening. My mother taught me that last one. I think she acquired it from all the times my father didn’t let her speak at the dinner table. My father always commanded our family evenings, telling us about how he hated all his coworkers and the way the mohawk-having barista looked at him wrong when he went for his morning coffee. God, he never looked at her on purpose. He treated my mother like a therapist more than a lover. His sense of entitlement suffocated her. She took it with feigned interest. Don’t worry, I didn’t inherit my father’s entitlement.
I like all kinds of music, except country. It all sounds the same and I don’t want a middle aged man singing about his horse through my speakers. My clothes always coordinate. I brush my teeth more than twice a day. I know the difference between eye liner and eye shadow. Bookstores are my favorite place to get lost. I go on walks so I am already a professional for when I get a dog.
I am a bit of a movie snob, so I really hope you aren’t a fan of Hugh Grant or Katherine Heigl. My favorite movie is Rear Window. I don’t have anyone to watch it with because I live alone and my closest friends think it is too slow and they hate black and white movies. Rear Window is clearly in Technicolor and has one of the best suspense narratives I have ever seen. I dismiss most of my roommates’ movie preferences, mainly because I have heard praise for the Taken trilogy, and it wasn’t said ironically.
I have an unfinished Rubiks cube sitting on my desk I’ve had since tenth grade. I have only used one brand of pen since my ninth grade year. I don’t know what caviar taste like, but I imagine I would hate it. E-mails are my worst enemy. I’ve never been good at arts and crafts. Watching me attempting to use a pair of scissors is one of the worst sights on Earth. My friends always make fun of me for it.
I went to a Christian high school, but I wish I didn’t. Some of the “Christians” my age were awful human beings. They constantly talked behind each other’s backs and made up stories about getting drunk and going to Walmart to mess with employees they knew. I never told them anything too personal. I was scared I might be the subject of a drunken conversation with Brett the cashier.
All the new students who joined my eleventh grade year were made fun of because they were late to the clique. Formations had already happened and there was no space for them. Instead of making the new students feel welcome we would memorize Bible verses in second period, pretend creationism was the only answer to life in third period, and by lunch the seniors would be making fun of the girl who had pasty white skin. My high school was in northern Minnesota. Everyone was pasty white.
I learned faithfulness on my own. Well, not completely on my own, but I watched my father be the exact opposite of faithful so I taught myself not to be him. Every Friday night my mother told my father she is lucky to have him. She is lying, she must be. How is she lucky to be the wife of a man with two known affairs? After the first affair my dad salvaged the family with a flea market bracelet and roses twice a month. My mom fell for it. After the second affair it wasn’t cheap trinkets that dammed up my mother’s tears, it was apathy. It was the worst type of acceptance. Her resignation was a puzzle to me at first, but I began to understand how leaving lonely can hurt worse than staying. It is clear to me now that what my parents had was not love, it was twisted obligation.
I can never remember what my father gives me. I know he doesn’t put much thought into gifts and things unearned, so I don’t put much effort in keeping track of his charity. It probably seems like my father is the antagonist in my story, but that has never been his entire character. No one is completely good or completely bad. He was conflicted long before he was a father, just like most other fathers. His empathy isn’t entirely dead, He tried when the family needed saving. He taught me two things I won’t forget.
1. At all costs earn the life I want.
2. Maintaining happiness should be life’s number one priority
I like that philosophy. My father’s only problem is he rarely includes mother in that process. I tweaked my father’s philosophy a small amount. I’ve come to the conclusion that happiness in the now is hard to conserve, instead I look at any situation with the philosophy if it could potentially make me happy in the future being unhappy to get to the happiness is worth it.
My family is broken and patched up in some areas, but we care about each other. I am thankful for them. My parents always check up on me. I haven’t spoken to my brother for quite awhile. He got married six months ago and has no need for me at the moment. I can’t remember the last thing we talked about. Probably something trivial like how much we dislike political bumper stickers or which brand of energy saving light bulbs we prefer. We use to talk about important things, but those conversations are reserved for his one-and-only Mary Anne. Being replaced isn’t so bad when you know the other person is happy. It hurts when its family, but I should have begun preparing for our brotherly separation when our cheap bunk beds became the prize item of the family’s everything-must-go summer garage sale eleven years ago.
My favorite gift I have received for Christmas was a gift from my Grandma. It was a Hallmark book of The Night Before Christmas. What makes it special is it has a recording option. My Grandma Recorded herself reading the story to me. I love it because I’m scared of the day she will die. She is healthy now, but I have already began noticing she is not the same woman she was five years ago. Each time I see her she seems to shrink, like she is trying to save money on a coffin by fitting into the smallest option available.
I’ve been called ruthless before, But that is only because I know what I want and other people do not. At times I am selfish, but only in small portions. I think that is why I am ready for you. Love is selfishness in a costume. Could you play the part for me? I am willing to play the part for you. Family and friends can only take me so far, that is why I am addressing you now. I am not writing for the sake of conquest. I am writing for something real.
The first attribute I notice about a person is their hair. I own a yoga mat. I always buy vanilla scented plug-ins for my bedroom. My favorite person in history is Nikola Tesla. I have finished every book I’ve started except one; I can never recall the title. My passport has eleven stamps in it. The lamp on my desk looks exactly like the one in the Pixar logo.
I have a scar on the inside of my righthand pointer finger because I got it stuck in a running treadmill when I was six. I’ll notice when you are wearing a new pair of pants. I wear plastic rimmed glasses when my eyes get tired. I’ve had the same pair for over two years and have never scratched the lens. I keep them safe in a water-proof-glasses-case.
When I am found, don’t cheat me of my idiosyncrasies.
I always keep a hair binder on my wrist in case you need one. I’ll never eat your food even if you ask me. I enjoy running for exercise. There is something romantic about running, it is physical freedom in the rawest form. I ran in a half-marathon and like to talk about running in one again. I don’t mind if you have tattoos, as long as they are well thought out and have personal meaning.
I don’t believe in fairy tales. I do believe in God sometimes. I don’t think we would be a perfect couple. I don’t believe we are soul mates. I do believe we can become soul mates. It is much more romantic to think we can become perfect for each other by developing a real relationship. That idea excites me. I want to work at something, not be handed a perfect pairing and be Stepford wife boring.
People watching is one of my favorite activities. I like guessing which people know how to feel. Generally it is the people with brighter eyes. Normally it is not the people who don’t know the volume of their own voice or who wear carpenter styled jeans away from the construction site. I don’t like airports or hospitals, but they do offer incredible people watching.
I would make the argument I am fairly brave. In sixth grade the perennial bully told me he would demolish me like a lion demolishes a lamb. I responded by saying he used the wrong metaphor. Lambs should be scared of lions, but one worm is never scared of a slightly larger worm. He didn’t like that comeback. The record in my head skipped when his fist connected with my lips (the lower canines took on the role of “victim 1 and 2” and cracked instantly).
I realize this list may come off as vain but it is not vanity that hands you this note, it is the fear my voice won’t work when I am standing in front of you. I get incredibly anxious around people who matter to me. Being distant from others is sometimes an issue for me, but each person has issues. Some issues are more visible than others. The weaker people call them demons, I prefer to call them adjustment areas and my adjustment areas are few and far between.
I consider myself fashionable. I always look put together, which I think you will soon appreciate. I have thought about the outfit I want to die in. Probably a collared shirt so I don’t look slobbish, but I am still comfortable when my time comes. I find it odd people are scared to think about their own death. If you are that way I won’t pass any judgment, but I hope you won’t get offended by me talking about whatever is next for me. Reminding myself I’m young, not immortal, helps me wake up.
My Imagination is wild! I dream of gardens most nights. I walk around and eat the exotic produce until my stomach hurts. I can’t help myself, the fruit is begging to be plucked off bunching branches. I walk pre-existing paths; I stumble through brush so I can call myself a pioneer. I let my hands wisp over the top of every colored surface as I walk. Each plant seems so fragile, I am careful to only brush against them so they do not deform from my intrusion. Whenever I wake up from my gardens I feel like I have witnessed colors that have gone unseen until that night. It leaves me bored with the bland off-white walls in my room and the pale blue handle of my last toothbrush.
I dream of gardens because I feel like I live most of my life on an island. It is an island with few trees and jagged edges swiping at my skin— my insides. I know of no shipping lines that could sail across me and when I see rescue helicopters they are usually a mix of mirage and lost birds. Abandonment is this island, but I am hopeful it can’t hold me much longer.
Waves of water— or is it waves of people? Either way they keep me where I am. I try to see them as separate from each other hoping to be less intimidated by their vastness, but it never works as well as I intend. The exception being you, I don’t see you as part of the waves. I see you, a person with a face I can remember. We could be together, making an island chain and we could take on the tides as a team. Water won’t keep us in a container, it will remind us of fortune and the way we pulled one another from the drowning years.
My favorite basketball team are the Trail Blazers, have I ever told you that? I’ve never been to Portland, I would love to attend a game soon. I think that is why I try to make new paths in my dream garden. I dated a girl when I didn’t know what I was doing. She often wore pig-tails so it didn’t last more than three months. When I meet new people I pretend not to know current events or pop culture details so we have something to talk about that lasts longer than five minutes. I rarely drink anything with carbonation. I have been to Europe. I have never had a cup of coffee I enjoyed, but if you want to go to a coffee shop sometime I won’t complain. I’ll get a tea or smoothie as long as you promise to not make me try your coffee drink.
Lately I have had a hard time sleeping. I think it would help to have someone near me. Before I go to sleep I normally drive around while the streets are empty. It calms me down and helps the anxiety of the day slip from my mind. I play my music loud and travel to the quietest parts of town. I usually talk to myself the whole time, which invites circular reasoning for all the little things I worry about. I think it would help to have someone near me.
I couldn’t change the oil no matter my effort level. I don’t know how cars work, but I am glad they do. My parents taught me independence, but forgot to teach me how to ask for help. I have nearly all forms of social media. I am terrible at keeping them updated. Posting feels fake to me. Why would anyone be concerned about my love for alternative music lyrics, or hashtag jokes. I am a member of a gym. When I go I never really know what I’m doing, but I like being around preoccupied people. It is comforting to know they are close while having no obligation to talk with any of them.
I want to be famous for something just to prove I could handle the pressure. I’m not talking fifteen minutes of fame on a daytime game show, or having a prank video go viral. I mean truly famous for something real. Maybe a respected cinematographer in Hollywood, or a local news anchor not far from Seattle. I want part of my job description to include being recognized at the Albertson’s a few miles from our dream home. Being remembered isn’t too much to ask I hope. I’m tired of telling myself what I’ll be someday. God, I am tired of telling people what I will be one day.
I have a feeling we would be good at stargazing together. I don’t know how to pronounce the constellations’ names, but we could make them up as we go. My hands sweat constantly and find a way to sweat even more when I am anxious. It can be really annoying, but at least one look at my palms will remind you how nervous you make me. I avoid having conversations over text just so I can say I am different than my generation. It is a cheap act of rebellion, but I like staying present in the room as best I can. The last time I told a girl I liked her she kissed me, then she pretended I didn’t exist until the next calendar year.
I normally eat healthy; mainly lean meat, and fruit when it is on sale. I remember the first time I tasted gelato. It was the second day of my trip in Poland. The city of Krakow was cooling in the summer evening, but still warm enough to justify a cold treat. They called it lodee, and the street vendors lined the city’s central block with different flavor combinations at each window. I walked through a few lodee shops asking questions about the flavors, hoping someone would ask about my American accent. When they didn’t I settled on strawberry with caramel drizzle zig-zagging across the top. American ice cream eaters have no idea what they are missing. Lodee is The Godfather, American ice cream is The Godfather part III.
I say all of this to prove a point. I need rescuing. Sometimes I see skyscrapers, other times I see piles of sand. When I imagine you I see your footsteps on the paths I’ve walked many times. I can smell fruit, the fragrance you leave lingering behind you. It is sweet, it is sugary. I chase where you have been so the scent remains strong. I am exhausted of this life.
I am willing to show vulnerability, willing to care, willing to become something to someone else. I know this note is longer than it should be, but if it convinces you of me I will write ten, twenty, fifty, two hundred and thirty-one notes. Hell, I will write you worlds if you swear to inhabit them. I am sure of you and me. When you read this please find me. Save me from these waves.