dear alicia.


dear alicia,

my stupid cousin used to make me listen to new kids on the block with her. she'd put on one of their ballads on my aunt's stereo, and we'd sit against the speakers and listen. this would usually happen late at night, and when i think back on it, i don't necessarily cringe or anything. i just continue to think about the absurdity of life. anyway, whether it was nkotb, atlantic starr, hi-five or whatever ballad was hot on ksfm 102.5, you were the person i thought about while listening.

i still remember your birthday: january 24, 1983. i thought it was cool that we had birthdays in the same month, even if we weren't the same sign. later, when i watched the o.c. and seth cohen admitted he knew summer's birthday, i didn't feel like such a freak anymore.

ms. crawley paired us together on the last day of class, and i thought that it meant something. there are few things i remember from kindergarten. one of them was doing good deeds to get feathers to be indians on thanksgiving. another was when i threw dirt at some girls and got in trouble. and then there was the time i told ms. crawley i could count by fives to a hundred, but i messed up. i didn't see you much, since you were in the morning class and i was in the afternoon one. but i do remember that last day. i remember thinking: i'm going to marry this girl.

but of course it didn't happen that way. after college, your dad died and you married this other guy i didn't even know. at that point, anyway, i had assumed i was going to marry someone else, so what did it matter? i didn't marry that girl, either.

i watched this video recently called how to be alone. you can find it on youtube. the girl in the video makes being alone look easy. you had three sisters, so i wonder if you ever knew what it was to be alone. one of your sisters even went to college with us.

that was another thing. of all the colleges in this country, we ended up going to the same one in a totally different state. i thought that, too, meant something.

in the second grade, i did my best to make you laugh. i fell out of my chair, dropped pencils, cracked jokes. one day after class, you told me that it was the happiest day of your life, and i believed you. because it was mine, too.

i was really down one night in bellarmine hall. school was overwhelming, i was homesick and still a virgin. you just looked at me and gave me a hug.

whether you know it or not, you got me through elementary school. it was just a big joke, putting on the stupid white and navy uniform, sitting still all day, dealing with a bunch of kids i didn't even like. but then there you were, and i'd get to hear your high-pitched voice, see the way you threw your head back when you laughed. how you would lean in and poke your head out when you got excited or surprised by something. was your hair going to be down and curly today, or up in a bun?

in the sixth grade, a group of us boys wanted to impress you, so we took turns stepping inside the girls' bathroom just for your amusement. me, i went all the way in. back in those days, i swore i would've gotten expelled for you.

this one time i tried to give you a bag of bouncy balls that i couldn't sell. you must have been having a bad day because you just said no and looked at me like i was the stupidest person in the world.

i'm doing it all wrong, aren't i? my timing is off. it's just important these days for me to tell everyone everything.

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