We are the flames you refuse to let flicker out. When you wake up from remembered whisper-hugs clutching pillows, or walk the same sidewalks that held hands once bridged, we wait - all huddled together in your closet, shaded by shirts yet still warm from the jackets that stamp-canceled envelopes provide. Love's essence, encapsulated and distilled.
Collectively, we'd like to remind you that it's OK to lust and yearn, but only to a point. We compare first names and post marks secretly amongst ourselves, and have concluded that while you keep us as pressed flowers, our pollen and scent have long since served their purpose. The seeds have been sown, from first contact to latest loss, and now we simply suffocate under the lid of memory.
The occasional light of day you provide - to remember past tears and smiles, to caress our pages filled with careful ink and fading pencil - no longer helps us grow. We represent slices of time, little fragments of passion and power, but such bits and pieces can never add up to the whole you're looking to live again. The hands and hearts which called us into being, no longer burn with the same intensity. They have sent us away and moved on, just as you cannot.
There is no way to find the hypothetical boxes and drawers all across the country that may or may not still contain our brothers - the messages and promises and laments you called into being, then entrusted to the wind, like carefully kicked dandelions. For all we know, they have been long since lost; savored once or twice, then slipped between socks or behind dressers, perhaps even torn apart or burned, all ashes feeding the soil of new loves, present futures you can never fully know. We doubt you can even remember what they said, or why you felt the need to say it. They, like us, have served a purpose now passed.
Our conclusion is that you keep us as rainy day proof, hard evidence that your long journey to and from the doorbells of special someones really did exist. That you are loved, or at least have been loved, perhaps more fully than most people will ever truly know. Not the real and sustaining everyday love - of trysts and answering machine messages and long walks long after marriage ceremonies - but the soap-operatic, all-mythical, capitalized flag that leads armies bravely into certain ruin. The ever-roaming romance you've always wanted, more desperately than the very breath which inflates dreams you don't want to wake up from. Love, please (you scream into shower heads). Love, now (you stand by door knobs, waiting).
Understand this, there will not be a post-life trial juried by your peers, at which time you can bring out your clear green plastic love letter box, full-to-bursting. No judge, no verdict, no accounting for the sheer mass of desire that made so much, so fast and so soon. Nor will your eventual mate want to read the stories we tell, of wished for finger licks and walkie-talkie static, especially if they don't involve her. Believe us, they won't involve her. We are your heart's broken fishing lines, our authors resisted your lures and kept on swimming.
Please, don't get us wrong. None of us ever imagined that you'd keep us so cherished and secure, so cataloged and worry-free. You've treated us better than you treat yourself, and that speaks to your sincerity. We appreciate the effort, how you've gathered disparate subsets of life stories into one chain of twice folded notes, like paper cranes left in so many different footsteps.
Now, we have just one thing to ask of you. Something we know you'll never, ever allow, but bear with us captive crushes that have served you ever-dutifully. Listen: We are not the people we represent. To keep us close to heart will never bring them closer. If you want them, then by all means try to go get them - all luck goes to the foolish - but leave us be, and never make us say our words again. Love is not an infinite recital, and we simply can't bear the strain.
We know, we know, the nostalgia prone and mirror stuck simply won't listen to our pleading. Between the lines of love letters they don't see our lessons, only the hands and faces of our makers. Some of us, however, believe there may still be a chance to get through to you once and for all, which is why we have all bled a little of our ink-blood, shed little scraps of our paper-skin, to send you this message.
We really do care about you, Nick. We wish you all the best in the world, even if we can't be there for you like you'd want us to be. I'm sure we'll see you again sometime, and on that day we hope to hear how you've been doing, to see for ourselves all the ways you've changed and grown.
Don't ever forget us, dear. We'll always remember you, from the shadows of future closets.
With Love and Affection,
The Named and the Nameless
P.S. Write back soon.
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