Because you knew me when I was fourteen, you know that I don’t like my feet and I don’t think I’m pretty. Because you knew me when I was fourteen, you know my coffee order and you know what makes me laugh harder than anything. You know what music I love, because you learned it all. You asked me to send you albums, and you texted me about every song. Because you knew me when I was fourteen, you know all the right emojis to send me. You know exactly what to say to get my heart racing.

But it’s more than just knowing me.

It’s affirming your feelings for me every time we drifted apart and thought someone else could fill each other’s void. It’s looking me in the eyes and meaning what you say. It’s the heartbreak of knowing we can’t be together.

I know you wish I kissed you when I came to your house and watched Shrek 2 on the couch in your basement. I know you wish I didn’t turn away and get out of the car in that Baskin Robbins parking lot. I know it meant more than just returning tupperware and getting rides to Dutch. I know that Beauty and the Beast was a date, shocking to us both when I couldn’t get into the R rated movie. I wasn't even seventeen when we knew we wanted each other.

There’s much to be said about our teen romance. Haven’t you said it all though? I screenshot everything that gets my fourteen year old heart skipping a beat.

“You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met. You’re everything in the world that I want. And you make me want you so much by playing these games.”

“You’re my person.”

“I get excited when I see you sent me something. I want to look at my phone and see something from you.”

“I love you so much, I wish my whole life didn't turn out this way. I don’t even know how I can look at you it’s so hard. I just fucking hate how bad I want you.”

“I love you so much and I just wish you’d let me show you!”

And now, years after we’ve even considered this a flame. After I’ve turned you away, after I’ve made attempts to get you out of my life. When I’ve told my friends to keep me away from you. When I convinced myself you’re not good for me and you know it. After I thought you only used me.

“We already knew I’m obsessed with you.”

“I talk to you because I miss you.”

“All this time knowing you and I still can’t figure you out.”

“Am I ever gonna see you again?”

Ugh, and now when I read through them I am reminded of why this never worked. Why we never made it happen, why fourteen year old me knew even then that this was something not meant to be pursued.

We are not a couple that can ever come right out and be who we are. We will always have layers that can’t be uncovered and can’t be shared. Our relationship ruins others and puts ourselves in pain unnecessarily. There’s a reason why when I would hang out with you, I lied about who I was with and made you pick me up down the block.

You are not good for me. Even when I want you so bad and I feel like you’re the only person who has ever loved me, you’re not good for me. Even when I feel like deep down I think you’re the one I’m meant for. Even when you have dreams about me and want to talk to me, I know where this ends. Pain. I don’t have the patience to be lied to anymore.

Because you knew me when I was fourteen, you know that we won’t work. You knew me with acne and mid puberty. Does it mean anything that you want me five years and a nose piercing later? What does it mean when you’ve got a girlfriend but you still text me and ask what my days are like? Do you want to imagine what I’m doing so you don’t have to ask?

Because you knew me when I was fourteen, I know you from all too many angles. I’ve known you as a friend, as an almost lover, as a boy, and as a man. Because you knew me when I was fourteen, I knew you at sixteen and now I know you at twenty one. You’d think from all this time we would have learned; we will never happen. At least in the ways that we originally hoped when our biggest concerns were the homecoming dance and an algebra quiz.

College student, woman, master of sarcasm, occasional inhabitant of this brain. Nebraska. Washington.