Dear Alex,

Hey prof 6-pack, how’s Covid-ridden PDX and your flock of law student-ducklings?

How am I? Annoyed. Why? Because I’ve been taking a hiatus from all of the previous fun things in my life aka (mildly elicit) drugs for the last month, and tonight, I’m finding sobriety to be terminally boring. It’s a Tuesday night and I wish I was on mushrooms so bad I can practically taste their disgusting, gamey, armpit-sweat flavor in my mouth.

Remember when we did them together before you went to Tel Aviv and we spent 3 hours cracking up over nothing while staring up into my star projector-lit ceiling? That was a fucking awesome night.

There was this one Mirage of Deep song playing. What was that song? It was a perfect song. It was downbeat – melodically, rich and tribal. It resonated all the way to the soul. You brought the sound-speaker downstairs to bed – cradling it tenderly as you walked deliriously down the steps to my room, setting it on the nightstand next to my bed. You pressed repeat and the song played over and over.

It lulled us to sleep as you spooned me, your arms wrapped around me, your snores becoming rhythmic and melodic. I stayed awake for an hour or two, feeling the way your body curved around me like a question mark.

What would happen after tonight, I wondered? You were to leave for Tel Aviv in 3 days. I was to get a labral repair surgery the next month. Covid had all but desiccated my business. I was thinking to myself that all I had left in my life that was worth anything, was this moment. Your body holding mine, emanating the scent of Tobacco Vanilla Tom Ford cologne, your breath smelling a bit like hard boiled eggs – not in a gross way, but in a comforting way, a way that distilled all of my memories of you into one warm, familiar feeling: love.

I had my love for you to hold onto. And I did, despite your texts becoming shorter and grumpier as the months progressed and your life got shittier and shittier (you claimed).

You were held up in a dingy studio apartment down the hall from your mother in Tel Aviv, unable to leave the house much for fear of catching the virus. Your previous existential proclivities metastasized. You turned into an asshole (via your short and dismissive texts).

Here we are, 6 months later. Everything is different. We have both changed. For one, we hate each other now. It sucks, doesn’t it. Let me retract that, I don’t actually “hate” you now, it’s just, that after seeing you after 6-months of living in the covid-trenches on opposite ends of the world, it is strikingly apparently that we aren’t the same people anymore.

For one, you used to look at me in this way that made you smile whether you wanted to or not. You could be talking about anything. You could be ranting furiously about how law students these days are entitled brats. But, your face would be glowing, almost beatifically so, because you were looking at me.

Your smile was always unguarded when you looked at me. Maybe that was because something in the way I looked back at you melted you before you could filter it out…before you remembered that you were supposed to be a loner and a badass.

I know I never made you fall in love with me, but I did used to make you secretly melt. Israeli James Bond used to turn into a pile of smiley goop when he looked at me.

I don’t know who you are now – an older, grayer, grumpier version of who you were pre-covid? I guess the stress got to us all.

I practically don’t recognize myself in the mirror either. I’m different too. Harder, not more jaded, per say, but just instinctually unable to take shit anymore. Unable to take your shit anymore. I suppose that makes us incompatible. Or maybe, another word for this- the not taking shit thing – is self-love.

Self-love should be a commendable thing. And, maybe tomorrow, I’ll recognize it as such. But right now, I want to run to you and melt at your feet like cookie dough for one last (metaphorical) glimpse at that boyish grin. Fuck, I miss loving you.

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