There are many things nowadays that I do that defy logic: that I have just renounced love at sixteen as a passing fancy, but that I still cannot free myself from romantic trappings. Romance is something I cannot control; I dare not call it love because I dare not say what it will bring me. It has come before, to me and to you – separately, perhaps, but it has come all the same. I remember clearly how you ached for her, and your heart was bottled up in your mind, questioning and lonely but too afraid to hide. Everyday you would question me on the reliability of my reports about the state of her feelings towards you, and everyday I would tell you the same thing, over and over again: yes, it is true, she does like you. Of course it was a delicate business, treading over soft denials and rose-tinted cheeks, blushing with an innocence I never thought you both to possess. It was not easy, let me tell you, to get past both your defences, for the two of you are not so far apart in character: you are strong, and so is she; she is faithful, and so are you; and both of you are so painfully shy.
(As for me: well, we will not talk of me.)
But now this is between me and you, and I hurt myself to say this to you now, because while I say to myself that this will not last, it does not stop my heart from strangling itself whenever you are near. It is not that i like it, my friend; I cannot help it anymore than you can help your heart to beat, only that mine beats far too fast and way too hard for my liking. Falling in love is something beautiful, but it comes unexpectedly because you and I know that in each of our hearts we all have feelings for each other (and you could say I love the boy next door as much i do you) but it is only a matter of allowing these emotions to admit themselves to a conscious state of mind that you and I find trouble in denying. I cannot deny that I am falling in love with you, but while my lips say I cannot fall in love with you my mind takes on a life of its own and it tells me that I should have fallen in love with you sooner.
Perhaps along the way by some stretch of imagination I have sensed hints of desperation, of liking, perhaps, that you might see me as more than a friend. By some kind of masochistic psychology I have tortured myself with these thoughts that you could be mine, but it has been awhile since I have realised that one person can never be truly someone else’s; you are no one’s but your own. And so I push aside these musings on the possibilities of romance between us, and although (I may imagine) that you might someday love me, you are her life, my friend, and I cannot take this from her. I will not forsake two friendships so strong just to have you as a lover, for both of you are my life. There are things that I know I will not do; even if I have to slash myself and watch blood drip to the floor I will not do it.
This is so unreal that it seems almost beautiful, the picture is perfect for a tragedy: you love her, and she loves you; so where do I fit in?
There will be no place for me until she is gone, and I tell you this because in a relationship there can never be room for three. You must never let there be room for three, because in the end there will be no one left at all. This I tell you from a girl who has gone through the tragedy of three in too many relationships with people; it has ruined her life in more ways than one. I write this to tell you that I am falling in love with you, but this is the end; I will not go more than this. There will be no more letters to you, no more hints. But know that this friend will still be here, and she will be in love with you till you show her otherwise, and you will have a friend who will be waiting for you. And meanwhile the two of you are each others’ lives, and I wish you all the happiness one has to offer.
March 1, 2003