Seductive college mail falsely leads me to believe love exists

Dear College,

It’s been a year since you first started sending me love letters and I can’t help but look back on them. I remember the butterflies I felt when I received your first letter. I remember the hopeful look on my parents’ face when they realized what was going on between us.

Sometimes you would send me emails, and I felt like you truly knew me because you acknowledged my internet addiction. You never wanted to give anything more than generic information and even though you weren’t ready to meet in person right away, I never minded because I thought it was all part of the mystery of our secret courtship.

Sometimes, it seemed, you got impatient. You would ask me if I was receiving your mail. The truth is I was, but I was scared. I was nervous about what it might all mean. After all, I was only 16. Was I falling in love? I was too young to know at the time. Still, you remained persistent, assuring me we would be a good match and that we would do great things together. You gave me hope. You sent me pictures of what our life could look like.

Finally, I decided to respond. I felt that I was ready. I sent pages upon pages about myself. I told you my hobbies and quirks, my likes and dislikes, my aspirations and dreams, hoping we’d find something in common. Hoping we would make it. Maybe I went overboard. Maybe I tried too hard. Maybe I scared you away with my enthusiasm. I’m not sure.

All I know is that you stopped sending me notes. Even the emails in my spam folder began to diminish. The burden on my inbox lightened, but the burden on my heart grew heavier. This cannot be, I thought. I had shared my most secret hopes and desires, and it seemed you suddenly lost interest.

At this point, what could I do besides just wait? I waited for months and months without a word. I tried to move on. I tried to find someone else who would hold my interest. It’s too late, they all told me. So I did nothing. I wanted to ask you, Why didn’t you write to me? And I wanted you to tell me that you did. And that it wasn’t over, it still isn’t over. But, nothing.

I waited by the mailbox and by the computer for all that time, depriving myself of friends and sunlight and then finally, after months of hopelessness and despair, after months of lonely ice cream-filled nights, I received it. Your letter.

It was smaller than what I expected. Especially after all that time I spent romanticizing our relationship, I assumed that the letter would confirm that our admiration was mutual.

Right before opening the letter, I grew nervous. Did you love me after all? Would I get to finally see you in person? Or were you sending me this letter to tell me that we couldn’t be together? Were you going to choose someone else?

Despite opening the letter slowly, I still managed to cut myself. Blood gushing out of my cut, I realized that I had bled for you and you had done nothing for me. I pulled out your letter and it was only a paragraph long, much shorter than anything I had ever written you.

After much hesitation, I read it. But I only needed to read one phrase before my vision began to blur with tears: regret to inform you.

It took me a long time—too long—to realize that you had never really loved me.  I’m not even sure you ever really knew me. You had led me to believe that you were the one for me, and I for you. And now, I have nothing. What was it all for? What did you have to gain from torturing me so, I asked myself.

It’s too late for me, I see that now. Lying on the cold tiles of my kitchen floor, surrounded by all your letters, I wish you hadn’t lead me on. I wish you hadn’t told me you wanted to get to know me. I wish you hadn’t said we’d have a bright future together. I wish you hadn’t made me believe that if I risked it all, you would do the same. And I wish you hadn’t let me believe you were in it for anything other than personal gain.