(In which short messages are made to secret addressees)

1. You’re a new addition to the list of people-I-am-bound-to-regularly-disappoint, so allow me to clarify a few things. Believe me when I say that I’m bound to get better at this, at a pace that won’t hinder or clash with your agendas. Believe me also when I say that we haven’t settled into anything. This dynamic is subject to extreme upheaval as long as I am not ideal.

2. I was almost relieved when I found out you quit quitting smoking. Watching you re-accustom yourself to lighting up, cigarette shaking between your lips, I felt comfortable. These little struggles, they are testaments of breaking into old habits as new beginnings.

3. How I know we’re bros: I’ve lasted longer than both your ex-girlfriends, and so have you for mine. Nothing homosexual here. Just don’t be a stranger. I’m afraid I’m going to lose you in the glitz.

4. You are angry at the world nine times out of ten. It is when you let me catch you in your brief moments of calm I am reminded of the role I fulfill in this friendship. This, I am deeply grateful for.

5. This is the fondest memory I have of you. We’re both in a bookstore with a few other friends when you spot a copy of Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones. I assume you’ve only seen the film adaptation so I make it loud enough for you to hear, “I’ve read the book!” To which you reply, “You’ve read the book?” in such a way that leads me to believe at least for a few days that there is, in fact, a fighting chance.

6. These days I think I phased myself out of the old social circle as an act of glorified self-marginalization. Oh, take him back, we have only realized now that he is valuable to us! Ask me how I am when you see me. When, because I’m going to make every effort to accidentally bump into you. Tell me stories about your latest internship stint, I’l tell you what it means to be envied.

7. Since High School, you’ve been jumping from one field of expertise to another. From playing bass to scuba diving to Muay Thai to devout Catholicism to photography. I forget that your older sister doesn’t live with you. She’s been abroad for how many years? I don’t mean to cheapen your knack for constantly moving. I would love to meet her someday, though. If she’s anything like you, I think we’d get along. We’re all trying to fill a hole. We’re all trying to settle.

8. You were a valuable life lesson, I’ll give you that. But if I had the choice, I’d put myself in a position where making the mistake I made with you would be impossible. There are only so many things hair dye can disguise.

9. There’s that sweater envy. You have your thick coat and your furry hood and the cool weather so elusive to us here that permits these things. I want to ask you how China is. I want to know how having me as your first has informed all subsequent attempts.

10. If we had met in High School, I’m sure we would have hated each other. This is just how things work. I haven’t quite gotten down the logic of severing ties but I know that in these cases, breaking is more preferable than bending. Heart of my heart. To have met you the time I did, and to have fallen for you in a precarious place, makes me believe this is bound to survive all things.