for Alex.

I think for some people there isn’t a whole lot to say when someone dies. For me it’s the opposite, it’s everything. It’s everything I ever said and everything I didn’t say. It’s canyons and oceans of time that passed between us. You for me, felt like so very long ago while you were alive, but in death feel immediate, dredging my memories to build new land on which I will lay you to rest. You, Alex, you were my golden boy. I worshipped you in a way one can only do at sixteen. I literally gravitated around you. Those blue eyes, that blonde hair, that laugh. You were the coolest person I had ever seen, a stone fox. But it wasn’t only me, you seemed to always have a pull like this. Everyone wanted to be near you, be friends with you, be in love with you.

I infamously and debatably lost my virginity to you on the leather couch in John Lopez’s basement. And that was how those years went between us, a stockpile of secrets, of closed doors in the middle of house parties, hushed encounters in hallways, bathrooms, backseat of everyone’s car. You taught me what it felt like to be wanted, to be passionate, to be turned on. Every first feeling I had about sex I had for you or with you. My journal from those years is filled with steamy details of anytime you so much as looked in my direction. And when you graduated and left to Florida I cried in my bedroom for hours, I wrote you countless letters that I never sent, I pinned photographs of you to the wall in my bedroom. I don’t think you ever really knew that, any of it. I recognize that the extent of our relationship probably happened in my imagination. A teenage girl is capable of enormous things. But nonetheless. I loved you. For periods of time you were the most important thing happening to me, that was how you always felt to me: unavoidable and magnetic in everything that was wonderful and difficult about you. Now that you’re gone, I feel somehow ashamed of that, or maybe it’s not the right word. I feel undeserving of this flood of memories I have for so long kept at bay. Do you remember that night I snuck out and I walked a mile in the snow back to Jono Slater’s house just to kiss you again? Or the times we watched the sunrise at Fred’s lakehouse? New Years Eve? Your Volvo? Bonfires? That year in the apartment where Julie lived alone near the high school? I wonder if you did, if you knew. And if you didn’t, I’m sorry I never told you.

I know I’m not the only person having circular thoughts about you. I can almost feel all of you out there. You know we are bound together by more than circumstance. Growing up, those years of self discovery, they are rooted between us, and like redwoods one never grows too far from home. And I send my thoughts to my friends, and my not so friends, and to all the people I never met that loved and knew you in their own way. I suppose this is my last letter to you. Right now, I get to choose which memory of you I will keep close to me, and I think you and I both know which one it is.

with endless love, Erin Rose

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