A Letter I Won't Send

By Jordyn Cowen | @jordyngrace215

cw: death

I know that I told you when my ex KJ died, and that she was dead, but I’m not sure that I ever told you how she died. I was asleep in her bed when it happened. She sent me three texts—one of them was fatal. She said that she had weed hidden for me in a desk drawer with instructions on where to hide it for her. She said that she was going to be back the following weekend for my birthday. She said that she loved me. The paramedics said that according to time of death, it was that second one or a text to her mom that said she was stopping soon. Her mother was only one room away from us. Her brother’s room separated us. She texted him good luck with his exam preparation. He responded, at barely 6 a.m., and told her not to text and drive.

They think that she likely sent the text saying she loved me after she crashed. Her mother received a similar one except she was weaker when she sent it, and it was therefore less coherent. She was dying when she sent it. I wasn’t ready to experience loss like that when I was 17 years old. I was not even ready to be in that relationship and feel the way that I did.

When I was hardly older than 8, my friend Jamie and I were walking along a frozen pond when he fell in. I remember distinctly how the ice was silent when it shattered and he fell through. I was several strides in front of him; for years I’d wonder if I’d loosened it. I ran for help and when I returned, having escaped the watchful eye of a well meaning neighbor, there was a fire truck at the edge of the fractured pond and his tiny body was in a full size body bag.

KJ’s car crashed in such a way that it made a cop at the hospital wonder aloud if she had meant to. KJ’s mom didn’t hesitate to slap him cleanly across his face. She was a religious woman. Everything I thought I knew about death from that morning with Jamie a million years ago shattered beneath me: how random it was, how seemingly arbitrary every circumstance surrounding it was. Suddenly it felt calculated.

I replied to her last text.

“I love you, J.”

“fuck you man”

My world shattered. I spent my waking hours dedicating time to the conspiracy that it was an accident. Her mother and I were it’s biggest proponents and her brothers it’s greatest adversary. I had to start believing in heaven just for her, and suddenly I had this foreign god to answer to. It was the hardest time in my life. The other day I read a journal I kept at the time and just cried and cried for that girl.

I really loved her, and most days I wake up and I’m scared that I’ll never love or be loved that way ever again. And then I meet someone like you, and even though we only had a little time together, I knew almost right away that I could’ve loved you. It was my 11:11 wish for weeks on end to fall in love with you. It’s okay if that doesn’t mean anything to you. It means enough to me for both of us.

I think in a few uncanny ways you remind me of KJ. You eat incredibly alike. It’s adorably endearing. You had similar breakup speeches. I read KJ’s back after she died and wished that I could tell her that she didn’t have all the time that she was talking about. All she would have is the extra long winter break we would spend together after she did it. But she knew. She showed me every day with the way that she treated me. Maybe I am worried that you don’t know. Not to prophesize your death or anything. Besides, I’m more worried about myself. The day after KJ died, I wrote in my journal, “I won’t survive this. KJ’s brother Elliott told me that I’ll either get over this or die trying, and I know that I can’t.”

That’s the girl I’m crying for. She didn’t think that she would live to be almost 21 or that she would see the year that KJ should’ve graduated college with a useless film degree and that stupid smile on her stupid face.

It’s okay if this doesn’t matter to you. But I guess I wanted to let you know that if you can ever find it in you to come back to me, the door is unlocked for you. Hell, I’ll leave it open.