If You Were a Young Girl

Here’s something I found in my files which made me laugh. An excerpt from a novel I wrote for my honors thesis, and the only love letter any of my characters have written to each other. The background: he’s trying to woo back his ex-girlfriend.

I’ve very rarely tried to formally publish, but I hope you enjoy it.

March 1, 2000 IMG_3262

Dearest Nisaa,

If you were a young girl, and I was a young boy, things between us would have been so different. We would have discovered each other in the freshness of human intimacies, which are not clouded by the bitterness, the brokenness of previous relationships.

If you were this girl, and I was this boy, then you would never have left; I could never have left. Because of the pure, untainted love, which would have existed between us.

And of course, I can talk about what this love means, but an analogy would perhaps explain it best. I feel this love is like the perfect black pearls such as the ones cultured in Himchuri you used to talk about. But more so than the pearl, it is the product of so much of the pathetic crap we always have to acclimatize ourselves to, the way an oyster feels as it fosters a whole world around a grain of sand.          


But incredible. I don’t like to believe that everything is always perfect in its inception, because that denies all the awkwardness of not knowing, always wondering, which marks the beginning of a relationship. But with you I felt there was beauty throughout, that everything we did and said and didn’t say were perfect, that it all happened because it was meant to happen. Even when we were fighting and you would screw up your nose like a little squirrel, sulking in the corner until I saw things the way they were really supposed to be seen. Watching you try to assert your postmodernist ideals onto everything and then realizing the futility of those same ideals.

After having spent two years away from you, I don’t feel any shame in having screwed up so badly near the end. However, I feel shame in the indifference with which you regard me, that you wouldn’t pick up the phone to call me because even the thought of doing so would not occur to you.  There’s so much of us which is broken. Broken by the feeling that we are indeed not capable of being loved in the way we give ourselves to other people.

And the inequaliy of it all, that what I feel is so uncertain, so uncertain and probably not even reciprocated in any way.

With you, I thought I had found heaven, only to be reminded in the early morning light that what I had instead found was a spider web, glistening, ensnaring me. Beautiful and deadly. When we stopped seeing each other and we ceased to speak about what we were doing, when you told me you had always wanted to leave me, and I had replied I didn’t care at all, I was lying. There is so much pride I want to have in this situation, so much of the upper hand. But is that actually a wish or a nightmare that I am trying to impose on myself?

What pride can I hold in this but that which my sex has historically imposed on yours? But even here, I falter. For, in you I found something which I didn’t think required me to be of a particular sex, race, stereotype, anything. I could just be Matthew Caleb Lytle and you, Nisaa Ali-Khatami. And we, we would have been incredible together.

If you were a girl, and I were a boy, and this world did not exist around us.

I wanted to write this letter for ages. I don’t know whether you care enough about me to wonder what it is I want to tell you but then I realize I must say this for my own peace of mind, regardless of how you take it.

I still want you back. And if you will let me, I am willing to fly down to Dhaka at any given moment, to convince you that this is what I really do want.

I love you, I am not ashamed to tell you this.

And as the nature of ifs go, I wonder what would have happened, if only you were a young girl, and I were a young boy.


*excerpted from the novel “Framed Butterflies,” by Raad Rahman, which can be found in its entirety exclusively on Amazon.com.


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