It’s the night before the final orchestra concert of the year. Tomorrow, in our school auditorium, you will lay your bow upon strings and pure sound will flow from the heart of your cello and spread across an entranced audience. When the song ends, the crowd will applaud — standing ovation, I suspect — and my congratulations will be lost within the cheers of similar praise.
Though a small possibility exists that our status of acquaintanceship will change after tomorrow, the likelihood is so small that I’ve decided to snuff out the cigarette. There’s no point in waiting for something to happen before writing what I’ve been itching to write for a while. But it’s strange that only a few weeks earlier, I had planned that at some point before the concert I would tell you–
About exactly what, I’m not sure. I’ll simply relay what I told my friends about my plan:
“Maybe I should tell him. Not a confession of love or anything horribly sappy like that. It would be more like an ‘I think you’re cute, do you think I’m cute?'” sort of thing.”
Do you remember the funny way we met? It was July. I had just settled in to Skidmore College for my first week of sleep-away nerd camp — CTY — while you were in the same location for a music camp. I was at the pancake station in the cafeteria, pouring syrup for my flapjacks, when a very tall boy approached me. “H-hey, you-you’re from my highschool, right?” you asked.
Right! That older kid who sat a couple rows in front of me in Algebra 2! We marveled at the coincidence, realized we had forgotten each other’s names, quickly settled the issue, talked about our camps briefly, and then departed. I finished pouring my syrup. The conversation (as all of ours are) had a lot of stuttering on your part, which was alright because I also suck at pronouncing words and talking in general. I have a very high tolerance for awkwardness, but I was so incredibly unattracted to summery T-shirt-clad Paul that I have to laugh a little bit.
The feeling would be consistent despite several encounters afterwards. Things only changed when our paths met again in the fall when I joined our school’s Symphony (advanced) Orchestra. I’m a violinist. You are the first cellist of the school, a position well-deserved. The first time I heard you play a strand of music on your own, I couldn’t help but see you in a new light. As if even a simple demonstration demanded the spotlight of a bated auditorium. It’s due to the realization that you are one of the rare people with a combination of incredible talent and humility.
In the conversations I attempted with you thereafter, I was selfishly pleased that, for once, I wasn’t the flustered one. You were always so quaint and unsure and nice. I mourned the fact that we met during your last year of high school, often fantasizing about how things could be different if we hadn’t. Still, I refused to declare you as an official crush. Regardless of other human distractions, I simply didn’t know enough about you to consider this any more than an admittedly shallow attraction. Nevertheless, I was (and still am) quite fond of you.
When your senior prom pictures were posted on Facebook, I appreciated how the lining of your tux matched the color of your eyes, as well as your date’s sky-blue dress. As per tradition, I liked your new profile picture, and you liked mine, but I knew that no conversations would be held about cuteness or feelings.
I once was in this situation before, when I had a multitude of words that I wanted to say for an impossible person. Too many words for a breath, possibly for a lifetime. I managed to condense it. Three words were enough. Three words explained everything:
“I’ll miss you.”
I don’t think that those words apply to you, Paul. To say that I am above superficial qualities is a lie, and so I’m not going to be dishonest and say that once you are out of sight (and, additionally, out of earshot), I’ll still think of you with wistful melancholy. I think the correct words would be “thank you.” Thank you for showing me such beautiful music. Thank you for showing me such a kind soul. Thank you for making me feel noticed at certain times, perhaps the times I needed that feeling most.
The fact that you will never know this, thanks to my lack of communication skills and the world’s current habit of concealing emotions, makes my teeth grind. This could’ve been such a good story, I think. It needs to have an ending.
It is way past my bedtime. Everything is quiet and cool night air soaks in from the window. I think that there are some things that I will have to let go.
Thank you for reading! Please like/comment if you enjoyed.