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Gorgeous, charming, funny, wonderful Joe—
Some things must be said. I've been putting them off for almost two weeks now, but I’m running out of time. No, I’m not terminally ill, but I’m in terrible danger of breaking. Staying here is unhealthy for me, and I’m tired of being sick. I’m tired of not being able to eat. I’m tired of not being able to laugh and smile and tell jokes. I’m tired of being fragile and crying. Most of all, I’m tired of hurting you by lingering.
It breaks my heart that this may be the last letter you’ll ever get from me. Just remember that it doesn't have to be. This doesn't have to be over. This never has to be over. And I don’t know if I’ll ever write another love letter, because by now it’s basically a Joe and Elaine thing. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write to you every day just to get it out.
I hurt, Joe. I hurt so much—it’s unbelievable. I can feel our love fading into the past, and I’m standing here gritting my teeth and stamping my feet. I don’t ever want to let go. That’s why I’m writing in purple. Our love is not red anymore, but it’s not dormant—it is not blue. In art, I was taught that purple comes from blue and red put together. Maybe it only makes sense to me. (Note: I wrote this by hand first. Then I decided to add on to this.)
I don’t know how I can even do this. Part of me wants to back down from this and retreat to the safety of my misery, but I can’t. I’m just so afraid of making the wrong decision again. My entire being is at war. I wish I could choose to follow my head or my heart or my gut, but every part of me is screaming out for you.
This is the hardest thing I've ever done. Every time I see you, I tell myself that it will be the last time, but then I break. I keep stalling, putting off the last kiss, the last hug, the last goodbye. But every kiss, hug, and goodbye has less passion, and I think my desperation takes over until I’m clinging to you as if you have the power to save me.
I love you, Joe. But I can’t stay any longer. Ideally, we separate now and our lives meet again in a few weeks or months. I hope that when I step back, the fog will lift and you’ll be able to see again. And hopefully I’ll be okay.
I don’t think I’ll be seeing you much. I want to hear from you, but I can no longer waste my time alternately waiting for a reply and wondering if I’ll ever get one. I’ll be around if you ever need to see me. Maybe I’ll even be the one desperately needing to see you.
Joe, I know I messed up. My mistakes are cutting into me. But I've tried my best to make up for them, and it hurts so much that you still can’t give me some closure. It hurts that you don’t seem to care that I cry myself to sleep, that I’m crying now, that I've spent every second of every hour agonizing over you.
Looking back, our love was perfect. In Dear John, Savannah and John fell in love within two weeks. We were in love by the thirteenth day. Our romance was a whirlwind, and it feels like I’m losing years, when I’m really only losing three months. Somehow you managed to change my life in a matter of months.
Baby, you caught me by surprise. It took you thirteen days to call me yours. It took less than a week for me to introduce you to my parents. In another few months, I’d be expecting a proposal. Now all of that’s gone. It hurts. My mistakes cost me a future worth dying for, and I hate myself for that.
I don’t know who’s reading this right now, but I hope that sometime soon the Joe I fell in love with will read this. I don’t know who this new Joe is. He looks like my Joe, but he’s not. I don’t want him like I want my Joe. So, this is to MY Joe: I love you, baby. I've loved you for quite some time now, and I’m not sure that it’ll ever go away. I don’t want our story to ever end.
But, Joe, I was wrong. Well, I've been wrong a lot. I was especially wrong to think that I could keep messing up, that you wouldn't mind, that an apology would fix everything, and we could start back up, that you wouldn't mind, that an apology would fix everything, and we could start back up like we’d never stopped.
Please just remember how we felt. Remember how happy we were. What if we die tomorrow? Will we want our last page to be a tragedy? All I know is that I messed up, and I regret it with everything in me.
You've been wrong, too. You have always been good enough for me. You've always been perfect to me. You always will be perfect to me. I was so wrong to ever think for a second that I could be better than you. In the end, our past doesn't matter so much. Our humanity does. You felt so much, and it tears at me. You are valuable, and I broke you. I’m so terribly sorry.
And Joe? Remember everything you want. Don’t stop fighting for that. Don’t throw it away because of me. I’m not worth that. Please remember that pain is temporary. We fight through it instead of tuning it out. You told me you want to go to college and get a good job and raise a family. You said you don’t want to be an alcoholic. Please remember yourself.
And if you ever (EVER!) want to say anything to me, please don’t hesitate. If you even think about me, I want to know. It’s what will be getting me through.
This is the hardest thing I've ever done so far in my life. Because I don’t know if this is goodbye forever or goodbye for now or even goodbye at all. All I know is that I’m praying that this is just the preface or the prologue and there are hundreds of blank pages waiting to be filled together.
And I’m crying again, wondering if this will be the last time I’ll ever write my favorite phrase to you. So I’m putting it off as long as I can. (Prayer: God, I love José . He captured my eye and stole my heart, and I can’t breathe without him, but I’m going to try.) Joe, I love you more than words can convey. I choose you…always.
P.S. As all good letters go, this one is no different. It is nothing without the post-script. As I think of you, I realize there are more and more things that need to be said. They need to be preserved as these will be in my handwriting and hopefully in your mind. Remember that when you think you can’t take anymore, you can. I once told you while we were walking that I used to press as hard as I could on my bruises until I was swearing and crying and I was sure that I couldn't take anymore. Then I would press even harder for ten more seconds just to prove that I had lied to myself. We are stronger than we believe. You are stronger than you believe. I just need you to remember for me. I need you to face everything we ever felt in the past three months. It’s a lot. There was a lot of pain, but there was so much happiness. I am clinging to that happiness, but it no longer controls me. I want you to be happy, no matter what you do, no matter who you’re with. I want you to succeed. But I also want you to remember me. I want you to make a decision while things can still change, because I can’t wait forever. Please just think about how happy we were, how much we are both losing. And remember that I have loved you, I do love you, and I will love you. You will never lose me completely. In my mind and in my heart, you are still mine. And finally comes the moment where I say goodbye, but not in those exact words. This is an open-ended goodbye, just in case we meet again in the future or in another life. I hope to see you soon. And the most bittersweet words I have ever spoken, the most honest, truthful, raw words I've ever said are these: I love you, Joe.
P.P.S. Reading back through that, it was disjointed. There were so many words to say, and ideas kept coming and coming. I guess I never was such a great writer. But I guess what this post-post-script is about is this: I can’t just say I love you and be gone. I have to keep saying it, because it hurts me not to. Maybe this time can be the real thing. Maybe this time I can say it and never say it again. I guess I’ll settle for singing it to you when you can’t hear. I love you.