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I Loved Him First

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PROLOGUE - Excerpts From A Love Letter & Suicide Note

1

We both know this has been coming for a long time. And tomorrow, it will become frighteningly real. I have always been afraid of forever. I never knew how to say it before, but after all these years, I think I have finally found the words. But you’re going to have to wait until the end to hear what I really want to say the most.

2

This part is never easy. In fact, this is the hardest thing I have ever done. And after this, there’s no going back, is there?

3

I have lost count of how many times I have reworked and rewritten this letter. When and if you read it, you will see that my hands were trembling.

The first time, I wrote it in red ink. Then I decided it was not only hideous, but cruel, and far too mawkish for the occasion. Too dramatic, I thought, to make it seem as though I had spilled not only tears, but my own heart’s blood on this page.

But it would’ve been ironic, wouldn’t it?

4

For months, I have been lying awake at night, thinking, and trembling with anticipation. And now the day is finally here, and I find myself hesitating. I always knew what it would look like, but I never considered how I might feel. The truth is, I always thought this would happen on a seaside cliff, on a summer morning—one where a grenadine sunrise is bleeding across the horizon, and waves are crashing below.

I thought this would happen one day, far in the future; that it would be sudden and spontaneous. But it wasn’t. There is no such thing as perfect timing for a thing like this, and I cannot wait another minute. For them, there is tomorrow, but for me, there is only today.

5

I wish I could promise you that everything will be okay. I have broken every promise I ever made, but I did not lie to you. Every day, I have set a course for tomorrow and weathered the storm, steadfast and strong. We will sail until we fall off the edge of the world, if we have to. And when we reach the eye of the hurricane, there will be quiet.

But you have also chosen to be with me, and because of that, the storm will never end. Nothing will ever be okay. It is to go against the nature of our love.

6

If you see the good in someone, promise me you will never give up on that. If there is a “Before Us” and “After Us,” and you fall in love a second time, promise me you will tell them.

I think we should redefine the world “tragedy” as “that which is impossible to recover from.” And unless you are profoundly lucky, it will happen to you. And on that day, when all your nightmares become real, when the worst thing you could ever imagine has already happened, promise me that we will not become a cautionary tale.

7

I cannot imagine how I will forgive myself for all the things I didn’t say until it was too late. How do I forgive myself for all we did not become? All my life, I have pushed away the things I couldn’t understand. I pushed away the unimaginable.

But this moment was once unimaginable, too, wasn’t it?

8

The saddest words I have ever heard were: “If only.” But the saddest descriptions of life are “should have,” “could have,” and “would have.”

I wish I had told you the truth. I am sorry I didn’t tell you I loved you, when I did. Would we be here now if I had? Would it have catalysed, or delayed the inevitable?

9

It’s addictive from the minute you let yourself think you might matter to someone. And because you don’t know, you hope. That is what got us here.

I feel like I am walking in the clouds. I may never come down to earth again.

10

Love is delusional sometimes, but reality is for people who lack imagination.

11

I gave up every chance at happiness I ever had for you.

12

I will not—I am not—asking you to make the decision you think will make me happy.

13

The more I try, the less it’s working.

14

I made you laugh until you cried, but with him, there’s a light in your smile that I didn’t know was there. Who am I to stand in your way?

15

Do you remember those cherry cordials you gave me on Valentine’s Day? I saved you the last piece.

16

Have you ever walked around the city in the middle of the night, and wondered where he is and what he is doing?

17

I hope one day you look down and realise you’re still putting oat milk in your coffee, even though you’re the one who teased me about it in the first place.

18

Have you ever seen someone that looked like him and smiled for no reason at all? Have you ever walked around a shop five times and still can’t find the one thing you came in to buy? Have you ever watched them throw away the poinsettias on New Year’s Day?

19

Have you ever cried in a supermarket at 3 A.M.?

20

Beautiful things don’t ask for attention. And behind every beautiful thing in this world, there was first something tragic.

21

When you think about it, is there someone you are living for? If you couldn’t live for yourself, could you learn to live for someone else?

When I am gone, I hope that every little thing in this world will remind you of me.

22

I don’t know if I should be apologising for this. But I will apologise for the length of this letter. I have always thought too much and felt too little.

23

I will apologise for everything else, but not for this.

24

I will never be ungrateful for every moment that I have loved you.

25

You are the one good thing that ever happened to me.

26

Love is such a dangerous game. How did I ever fall in love, when I don’t even know what it is?

27

When you look at me, it feels like my heart is exploding in my chest.

28

This is the end of life as we know it.

29

You know, I never imagined what it would be or feel like to die, or what Heaven will look like.

30

If I had to describe it, it would be floating, or flying. And if singing were a feeling, it would be just like that.

31

This is the kind of thing you can never predict, nor understand unless it happens to you.

32

Neither of us will ever know why.

33

So, what do you say in a moment like this?

34

I am guilty of so much when it comes to you—of loving you, certainly, although I feel guiltiest for that. The truth is, I live only to read your letters.

35

I need you to hold me tonight.

36

Do you remember the first time you told me you loved me? I didn’t believe you, because no one had ever told me that before. We used to talk about our future—about how perfect it would be. How did we ever make it here?

37

I am proud of us for making it this far. We’ve been so strong, and held on much longer than they thought we would.

38

Tell me a story, but not the truth. Tell me what it is like to be in love.

39

It begins with two unsuspecting hearts. Our story didn’t have a happy beginning, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the rest of the story.

Are we going to end up like our parents?

Everything will culminate in a happy ending, and if it doesn’t, then that isn’t the end.

40

You are the only person that has seen that little bit of sadness inside of me.

41

What you don’t understand is that I’m an optimist.

42

You know, if you were a season, you would be the summer. Somehow, you make the whole world bright.

43

I am glad this happened on a beautiful day.

44

A bad day doesn’t have to turn into a bad life.

45

Some see a hopeless end, where others see endless hope.

46

The only constant thing in life is change. Even when you think you can’t, you must move on, because the seasons will always turn, and the world will do so without you. I promise, there are better things ahead than what we are leaving behind.

47

I thought the winter would never end—and then, when I least expected it, when I’d nearly forgotten it, warmth came, and a different light.

48

But it’s no secret that both of us are running out of time.

49

I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in miracles. Living is a miracle. Laughing is a miracle. And because there was a miracle, I fell in love with you.

50

Everyone deserves a happy ending, and you are mine.

51

This isn’t goodbye. This is “until we find a way.”

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