love letters i never sent

November 9 , 2023

Graphic by Vivian Montoya 


I can feel every grain of sand on my toes, all over my face, and my hands. It's all over my best friends and their faces too.

Majorca, Spain 6:34 p.m.

We laugh on the beach as we co-exist like all we know how to do is laugh and breathe, and we lay here for no reason. With the same song on replay as we fall asleep one by one. There's nothing like seeing your friends in love, excited about love, and crying about love. When your best friends feel so deeply and when they love love so much, they can't begin to explain it because nobody will understand. They make you want to love more.

There's nothing like falling asleep on the beach.


It smells good on the train today. The only things I seem to notice, the only things that seem worth smiling about, are the way that things smell and the things they remind me of.

Castelldefells, 12:33 p.m.

I can count my steps.

In places like this, where the air is breathable, where you become so light inside, where the coffee tastes stronger, the breeze hits you harder. In places like this, where the air is food and the sun is water, I realize all you ever need to do is step outside. For me, feeling this way is something temporary. But why can't I live like this forever? Why can't I stare at the sun and watch my skin brown without a single thought to distract me? When I go to places like this, I am whole.


Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if I was raised like you, with all the time in the world, within gardens, and so much green, good smelling air, and two main roads. I asked you once if you’ve ever wanted to quit smoking, and you said, “if i enjoy it, why would i quit?” Even when you weren't smoking, you tasted like cigarettes. I could taste your  breath in the mornings. You might think it's weird that I think of you like this, like a character, but I do.

I cried when I said bye to you. All I could think about was you in your garden — how you would go there and just walk around barefoot. How you would send me pictures of still water and friends. You choose to live life simply and remind me that I could too. How one day, you will find someone that lives near you, get married, start a family, and still walk barefoot in your garden because all you ever did was let time pass, and letting time pass means letting your feet sink into the soil as you stand in silence. How, with time, we will forget each other and all of the intimacy and obscureness of crossing each other's paths; we will live our real lives, not our temporary ones. How I will go home to live at a fast pace, and forget the sort of rhythm that living like this beats at, and what it really means — how it really feels — to wake up and simply feel grateful for the sun, for my walk home, and the way the light shines between branches. How I will eventually surround myself with people who run so much faster than you. A part of me will think this way, while the other will casually remind myself every now and then about someone like you, and that will bring me hope. I’ll make up a life for us all in my head and lay my hands on your chest. We’ll hang out when the sun is out and listen to birds chirp, and then I’ll sit in your lap. We’ll learn how to make pottery, and then I’ll watch you water your plants.

How beautiful it was to live this way, but how tragic it feels now.

I don’t know you at all, but I see you completely — when I look you in the eyes, when I stare at the tattoo on your back, when I run my hands through your hair.

Graphic by Vivian Montoya


I saw a girl on the street today caressing her boyfriend's face. She looked so in love, I could see it in her eyes and how they lingered. Usually, I wouldn't pay attention to this sort of interaction, but today it felt different. I understood how much one touch could mean. How being unafraid of feeling this way is to live wholly. How I’m reminded of my youth now more than ever, and how every person I meet is a chance to fall in love. How every word is a song and every step a dance, and how the best part of my day today was the sight of a ripe strawberry. How my life is about the people I meet and the ways they make me want to write about them, and the ways they bring me to tears. The girl I saw on the street today had everything she could ever need, and you could tell. To have everything you could ever need is to be able to touch someone's face every day, to hold on to someone's face and feel something so relentlessly that it makes its way up into your eyes.


I’m not in love, but I’m writing with it – next to it. You see me as exactly who I wish I felt like every second of every day. If you knew me the way you had hoped, you would ask me a million questions, and you would never get tired. I would always make you laugh. I’m selfish because I’d rather be your friend, the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen. I’m selfish because I might be making all of this up. This might all be in my head. I’m not sure of anything except that I’m selfish.

Nobody has ever looked at me like you do. You listen to everything I say and smile. You kick my foot when I giggle.

Every word, with your eyes and your lips, too.


At that moment, I realized you listen to music the same way I do — the same way I think everyone listens to it in my head, when I’m drunk, sinking my feet into the ground. I never want the lights to turn on ever again.

To others, it feels like this moment is minuscule and unimportant compared to our real lives: you and me, dancing. But to me, this is everything.

I wish we could listen together forever, but our hands would get so tired.

It feels like these are the only moments I’m here.


I go to a bar to meet him casually, and I show up as myself. It's so simple, so easy. I catch him smiling at me while I’m talking. He tells me he just realized that he's with me and that he's in Barcelona.
He tells me about his flight and how he asked the man next to him for the book he wasn’t reading and reads me the notes he took on it.

As we walk home, he asks for my arm, and we lock limbs like good, civilized people, and then we chase the seagulls. At that moment, like him, I realized where I was.

He takes me to my door, and we kiss.

Graphic by Vivian Montoya


At the beach in Barcelona, 5:46 p.m.

She goes to the beach often, and every time she does, she feels every inch of her body, from the tips of her toes to her last strand of hair. She notices how the water feels on her skin, and she tells herself how she belongs to the ocean and how she’s loved it since she was a little girl. She will never put her hair up. She lets the sand stick to her body. She smiles at the sight of children and pets every dog she sees. She will be grateful for her day no matter what it is, as long as it's a full one and she's there the whole time.

Living life like this is beautiful.


I’m not reading at all anymore. All I do is think about you and smile when I’m alone. All I do is talk about the way you said something. All I do is wonder what you're doing. Right now, you're probably lying on your bed with your feet crossed, sewing flowers onto a sweatshirt with your initials on it. Or you’re taking your dog out for a walk past vines of vibrant green, clear mountains, and not thinking much. I’m not reading anymore because I don't have the time. I just want to cry instead. I cried in the shower last night thinking about how scary it is to feel this way, to be capable of this, to have no idea what could be next. To want everything and to feel like you have it. This is enough. The thought of your breath is enough. Your eyes are enough. I see it all in them – they show me I’m enough, too. ■

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