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Dear AJ,

I might not remember the first moment we spoke, (like you do) but I do remember how you’ve made me feel in the many moments since then. You started out as my friend, my teammate, and even in those days I could trust you to catch me when I fell. 

You gave me the type of indescribable butterflies that jumped into my throat each time we spoke. Beautiful, intelligent and independent, it wasn’t long before my feelings for you went further than friendship. We’d inevitably find ourselves in the same places- our paths crossing in the athletic center, at parties, and during nights out in the city.

With the exception of a few chance encounters, there wasn’t much room for romance between us then. We both had the type of obligations that we weren’t quite ready to walk away from, but we  harbored just enough curiosity to test the boundaries a few times. My affection for you then was the young adoration of a girl not yet tested, or trampled by life. It was pure, lustful and mostly unspoken.

I never forgot those days, as life post graduation took us down different paths. You were traveling the country, chasing your dreams while I stuck closer to my roots and struggled to salvage my first entrepreneurial effort. You were never forgotten, and I was thankful for the few times our paths crossed during those years, conversations here and there, held mostly through social media. I couldn’t help but wonder what if; you were the epitome of ‘the one who got away’.

Fast forward a few years, and we yet again found ourselves in the same space, this time both literally and figuratively. You were heading back to the city where we first met, staying for a few nights to perform at some comedy clubs. I hadn’t strayed far, living just outside the city in the suburbs, and suddenly I found myself with a second chance.

What if?

We arranged to meet outside your hotel. The moment I saw you things were different, but oh so very much the same. You were still beautiful and imposing, but slightly roughened by life’s hard edges. Adulthood had taken us far from the carefree kids we had been in school. We spent the evening driving aimlessly to a theater we never found; settling instead for drinking red wine and talking until the sun came up. Shy cuddles turned into kisses, and I was once again that smitten college kid.

The next day reality seeped in, I wondered what the night before had truly meant, if your feelings had any chance of meeting the depth of mine. In the afternoon I headed back to your hotel, riddled with the fear that we’d once again tested that boundary just to remain on the platonic side of the line. Weary from lack of sleep, you opened the door to your room with a rueful grin. You plucked me off my feet and tucked me into the down comforter on the king size bed. Snuggled in safe, sound, and right by your side; I knew was finally home.

After three weeks of traveling across the state each weekend, spending every spare moment together, we were once again sprawled on my couch. Sundays had become a routine, both of us dreading the week ahead because it meant five more days apart. But that weekend you decided you weren’t leaving, and upon my simple invitation, you picked up your life and and we began again together.

Almost a year and a half later, I still get those butterflies.

All My Love,

Jessa Jay

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