Friday, May 26, 2017

Dear Corey

            Dear Corey,
I was naïve enough to thing you could be “the one.” Of course, you were the only outed guy in town that was actually attractive. As usual, I was wrong about you. I’m mad at myself for taking so long to realize this.
            Part of the reason I feel I latched onto you was because I had searched so long for another guy and we ended up working together. I was so stupid for thinking you would ever feel the same way about me. After all, you’d previously had a relationship with another boy in school and had already felt what I was so desperate to feel myself.
            You were probably the biggest reason why I applied at the same restaurant you worked at. I wanted to get to know you and possibly have a real relationship for once. It’s pathetic, right? My thinking at the time made sense to me, for some odd reason. I must have thought you were as desperate as I was.
            I suppose I’m still glad I got to know you. We had some similar experiences: coming out to our peers, which is an arguably difficult obstacle. I finally started to feel comfortable talking about my sexuality for once when I was around someone else who had been through a similar journey. I’m still amazed by how accepting all the other employees were, although everyone that stayed employed for a significant time was under 25.
            The fact that we had different experiences with finding out who we were still baffles me. For your whole life, you’d knew you were gay. I discovered I was bisexual at age 13. You’d had more negative responses from your peers when you came out of the closet (of course, you did that by kissing another guy at school in front of everyone). I did over Facebook and had only a few misunderstandings.
            At work, you were such a dork. That’s what made you even more attractive to me. You would always talk about a new video game were playing or the dirty joke your friend said that day in school. And you were cute. That’s why I fell for you, I suppose. For some reason, the combination of characteristics seemed to make up the perfect guy to me.
            It was really hard for me to tell if you expected me to come forward and confess that I had a crush on you. I hinted every now and then by giving you a hug or something. But you still seemed a little blindsided when I told you that night when we were closing the store together. You were preoccupied with wanting to get back with your ex. I respected you enough to encourage you to say something to him, because I wanted you to be happy.
            You never directly responded to my confession to you. That caused so much uncertainty that my anxiety skyrocketed. I remember waiting the next day for you to text me to talk further, but you didn’t. I knew I fucked up. Later that night, I decided to text first, to ask how things were going for you and you unexpectedly replied, saying you were still trying to figure it out. I gave you advice to say something to your ex. I knew once you knew if he wanted to make up that you wouldn’t suffer from the uncertainty that I was feeling.
            The night I found out you both had made up and had gotten back together, I was absolutely destroyed. From what you had previously said, he didn’t seem interested in you anymore, especially when he seemed to be avoiding you in school. I wasn’t expecting it to turn out the other way. When I drove home that night, I cried so hard I practically had to pull over. It didn’t help that I had sad music blaring (Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You,” to help you get an idea). You were finally happy and had the courage to speak up, the same way I had to you earlier. But the fact that it wasn’t me that was making your dreams come true gnawed at me until I was raw.
            The one thing that I hated about you is how you continued to talk about your boyfriend in front of me. It was as if I was just another one of your many lady-friends for the next few weeks we worked together.  Did you have any idea how much it hurt me? I had just professed my feelings for you not long before and you acted as if I had never said anything.  
            It also baffled me why you’d gone back to him. He would act like a dick to you at school, mostly in front of his other friends. Not to mention the occasion when you told me that he would have rather spent time scrolling though straight porn on Tumblr than spend a night with you. I couldn’t imagine why you wanted someone who acted like they didn’t want you, when I wholeheartedly wanted to be with you.
            As you remember, we both coincidentally quit our jobs on the same day. You’d stormed out earlier in the morning due to the regional manager’s bad scheduling and I put in my two weeks notice a few hours later. I was later persuaded to stay until one individual who we both disliked pissed me off enough that I put my notice back in.
            I didn’t see you since you left until I was hired at a different establishment. You had actually been hired there earlier. If I had known you worked there, I might have actually applied somewhere else, to avoid reliving what you had put me through.
            My feelings for you had returned after a mutual friend (who also worked at the same store with us) told me you had broken up with your on and off again boyfriend. Maybe I still had a shot; who knows?
            We actually didn’t work together until a few weeks after I was hired. Probably because of all those damn training videos about cashiering I had to watch. There were so many and the technology in the back room kept freezing up or failing to load. Once I was finally up front with you, we still talked and joked around. It was almost like our last job, only there were more customers and less time to goof off. I was actually happy to know someone else that worked in such a gigantic store.
            After almost two months, my feelings for you started increasing. One day, I thought about straight up asking you out and getting everything off my chest. But last minute, I couldn’t work up the courage to speak up. I kicked myself for not doing that.
            During the middle of June, my family and I left on a camping vacation to the northeastern part of the state. I couldn’t get you off my mind. The uncertainty of what you would say if I ever said something again was eating me alive. That whole two weeks affected me so badly that I never wanted to go on a vacation with my family again. The stress was impacting my interaction with them because I was so focused on constantly wondering what would happen if I explained my feelings for you again.
            Through the last week of the vacation, I had made up my mind that I would finally come clean with you and say something. I practiced how I would say it when I took walks alone around the lake. But I then saw when scrolling through my Facebook news feed that you were traveling to look at a college in Colorado. At that point, my heart sank, because there was a chance you would be leaving.
            On the day after my family got back, I went through your checkout lane and you confirmed you would be moving during the upcoming fall out of the state so you could attend that college so far from here. I was disappointed and knew I would have to give up.
            Just seeing you at work was enough to depress me. It was a constant reminder that I had waited too long, that I would never know if you would ever consider being with me and that I would probably never see you again. Then, you got fired in July because you had called in too many times. Not seeing you anymore allowed me to heal somewhat. I started feeling a little better about the situation and started forgetting about the unquenched loneliness I had been feeling for so long.

It’s been a few months now and you’ve since left the state. I’ve made so many more friends at work and I can comfortably say I have gotten over you. I don’t think you’ll ever realize how much you affected my life, for better or worse but I hope you’re happy in Colorado and doing well at the school you chose. There will probably always be a special place for you in my heart, but I have since moved on to pursue bigger and better things.
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This post is a true story that I wrote for a creative writing course in my sophomore year of college. Due to privacy reasons, certain details have been changed.