He had wonderful handwriting that was sometimes hard to read.
My chest was on fire with each letter I came across, letters building words, words building sentences, sentences building apologies, apologies that felt fake because who could do this for real?
I won’t be around much.
I took a sharp breath, reaching the final paragraph.
My music is taking off. I’m the lead of this new band.
Another sharp breath.
Focused on my career…
My thumb fell between my lips. When I hit the final page of the letter, I set it down, staring at five pieces of paper completely filled with words front and back.
I won’t be around much, Sweet Aly. I hope you understand. Keep the music alive.
My father broke up with me through five pages of paper, and when the meatless meatloaf came that night, Mom said, “I told you so.”
I couldn’t eat. I spent most of the night in the bathroom, throwing up my insides. I couldn’t believe a person could do something so heartless. He wrote the words as if they actually made sense to him, too, which made me even sicker.
I spent the rest of the night on the bathroom floor, debating what I did wrong, and wondering why my father didn’t love me anymore.
“He broke up with you through a five-page letter?” Logan asked, shocked. I spent the past five days away from him, feeling embarrassed by the letter. Each day I could hardly keep anything in my stomach without it coming back up. What bothered me the most was how pleased Mom seemed that Dad let me down. She always seemed happy that I was hurting.
I sat with Logan at the billboard, knowing the five-page paper by heart. “Technically he broke up with me through ten pages since they are front and back.”
“Give me the envelope,” he ordered. His nostrils were flaring, his face red with anger. I didn’t know he’d get so upset by the letter, but he seemed on the edge from snapping.
“The address he sent the letter from, that’s probably where he lives. We can go there. We can confront him, we can—”
“There wasn’t an address on the envelope. He dropped it at the house I think, in the mailbox.”
His hands ran over his face. A weighted sigh left him. He began flipping through the pages once more. “What about the name of the band he’s in? Did he say?”
“This is bullshit.”
“It’s okay,” I shrugged. It hadn’t hit me yet. A big part of me still thought he was coming back. Hope was dangerous when you were relying on unreliable people. “I’m over it.” I wasn’t though. I was far from over it.
“Well I’m not!” he shouted, standing up, pacing back and forth. “It’s not fair. What have we ever done to these people? Your parents. My parents. What have we done wrong?”
I didn’t have an answer for him. Many people probably couldn’t understand why Logan and I connected. We were different in so many ways, except for the one which was the biggest fire that burned in us: we both longed to be loved by our parents.
“You’re a good thing, Alyssa. You’ve done everything to be a good daughter to him. You went above and beyond with this dick and then he doesn’t even have the balls to break up with you in person?! I mean, come on. Who breaks up with their daughter via snail mail?!” he hollered. “What kind of parent breaks up with their kid at all?”
“You see why I told you to break up with Shay in person, instead of via text?” I tried to joke. He didn’t laugh. “Logan, come on. It’s okay.”
“You know what? Screw him, High. You’re going to do great things. You’re going to change the world without him. You’re going to succeed beyond his wildest expectations. You don’t need him.”
“Why are you so upset?”
“Because how could he do that? How could he turn his back on you? On you, High. You’re the most beautiful, genuine, gentle person I’ve ever met. And he left you. For what? For music? For money? Fame? It’s crap, because none of that adds up.” He sat back down beside me, his breaths still heavy with irritation. “I’m just trying to understand, that’s all,” he said, hanging his legs off of the edge of the billboard as we stared out into the distance.
“How anyone could ever give you up.”
That night it finally hit me. Dad wasn’t coming back. He didn’t want to be a part of my life. He gave me up for music, which was ironic because to me, he was my music. I spent the whole afternoon sick, wanting nothing more than for the empty feeling inside of me to leave.
Me: Can you come over?
Logan showed up to my house around eleven that night. I gave him a tight smile as he stared my way, wrapping me into a tight hug.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
He narrowed his eyes. “Lie?”
I shrugged, my eyes watering over. “Can you just hold me?”
He grew extremely concerned, pulling back a little to study every inch of me. “High… What’s going on?”
“He really left me.” I swallowed hard. “He didn’t want me.”
He led me to my bedroom, closing the door behind us. As I climbed into bed, he moved over to my vinyl record collection and thumbed through each record. When he found one, he put it on, making my eyes water even more.
As Sam Smith’s song “Life Support” began to play, Logan shut off the light and crawled into the bed and wrapped his arms around me. As he pulled me closer, making me curve into him, I began to shake as he began softly singing the lyrics into my ear.
I began to cry. As he continued to sing, my body kept trembling against his. He pulled me closer, he held me tighter. The song played on a loop, over and over again. He kept singing against me, into my soul, taming the wild fire, making me ache.
His voice put me to sleep, his arms kept me safe.
When I woke in the middle of the night, crying from a nightmare, Logan was fast asleep. His arms had fallen to his sides, his breaths fell through his mouth, and I stared at him, tears still falling down my cheeks.
“Lo,” I whispered. He stirred.
“I had a bad dream. Can you hold me?”
He didn’t hesitate. He pulled me close once more, allowing me to rest my head against his chest, feeling his heartbeats.