Exes in the Inbox: Part 4.

Ahh, yes. Todd. Todd Box. This likely could have only been more poignant had Twinkle Star herself dropped us each a line--especially Twinkle Star, as their Matriarch might note. And no, he doesn't know either one of us, not that there's an 'us' to know.

Oh, Miss Milkshake. There are a lot of folks who like what I like, meaning that we can share in some small delight together like whiskey or shuffleboard. But there are times. There are some times when I come across some tidbit that must be shared immediately to make it static, to render it concrete; the act of sharing being the act that makes it real. And it's hard sometimes to let these things fade into non-existence solely because the obvious recipient is you.

But what is real, these days. I didn't even begin to know you until you were almost gone, until we finally each pulled up a barstool in Ballard just days before you moved to California and really got down--but to talking this time--and I instantly regretted not sharing you before. But you had walls then. In my memory you did, anyway; you and Sam high up in your turret, crafting nicknames for boys that held them at the length an arm at the very least, trading notes of this on your bathroom mirror that you oft forgot was not entirely private. You two shared yourselves with few, and I was not excluded from this.

And this, right here. This isn't real. You are the one who feels compelled to capitalize the first letter in a sentence in something as informal as a letter, not I. And it's also you who has dropped the second space after a period that I, the old dog that I am, just can't seem to let go of. I would similarly never end a sentence with a preposition, although I do sometimes start one with the word 'and.' I mean, I might say this. I might say something very close to this. It's not that this response is unlike me, it's just that it's not me. I mean, or wait--I suppose you mean--that this is literally not me writing this.

But that's pretty obvious, Miss Milkshake. This can't be me as I could craft this note with a much more careful hand, and you know it because I've already said my goodbyes to you just like this. I took my time with it; I wanted to say just the right thing, and while I typed it I thought of you opening Lakricia and scanning it that first time with your mouth parted and that Myricks brow of yours bent to a furrow. I thought you might then pour over it at length while your bottom lip quivered and the type blurred together and I didn't want you to find a single flaw. Just in case you kept it. Just in case it was the last of me that you ever read.

Ours wasn't an end that needed to be rewritten, BCT. It's odd to me that you chose to. I wasn't one of those mistakes that you made, some casualty of your monogamy, and I'm unsure exactly why you've lumped me together with them. It might seem, to the casual onlooker anyway, that the opportunity presented itself: here's Todd! Right in your inbox! Asking of us! It's funny to me that we once devised a fictitious character based on a very real man with a very funny name and now because of him you're now turning me into one of your characters--but it's not fair, Miranda Terese. It's not fair that you get to insert these words in my mouth, you get to make me tell you that I miss you and think of you and that I loved you--especially when I could do it so much better.

But that's why you needed me. I was better than you, and so my praise carried more weight than most. And I saw you work for it. I saw you stretch yourself for a nod from me. I used you for this too; I can admit that I miss dangling my prowess 'neath your nose whenever I ached to be showered with compliments from someone just talented enough to recognize my skill but not herself skilled enough to criticize me. Yeah, it's true. I miss that. I miss your particular brand of praise, but unlike you I'm not particularly worse off without it.

I guess that's what this is really all about. You at 23 in your grey skirt and bare feet, that balcony and your $5 bet with Jen; I would likely be better off had our meeting never transpired. But you need me to exist, to have existed. I am irreplaceable as your first naked wordsmith, and though you have but your increasingly scant memories of me to rehash you still wouldn't be who you are without them. So cheers, Miss Moure. You're welcome.

And we'll always have Rockapulco.


p.s.--As I once teased you mercilessly for using the phrase "fervent merger", I would just like to point out that I would never, and I mean never say "ached to be showered with compliments." This is an invention of your vagina. I do, however, quite like the little double entendre you've, ahem, inserted in p7 just previous to that: "dangling my prowess 'neath your nose." I put this up there with "one more John on my list among many" as another one of my favorite lines of yours. Ever. You will never eclipse me Miss Moxie, but one day you just might just come damn close. xo--MW

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