LETTER TO AN EX

A film by Lainey Richardson
Based on a letter by Ivan Cotroneo

 

I don’t know if you remember me. 

Or better, I’m quite sure you don’t even know who I am. My name is probably not familiar to you. If you should meet me, you would hurry past unperturbed, with no second thoughts. As for me, today I wouldn’t recognize the people we were in the past, maybe not even you. When I show my photos as a child, with the blue uniform of the primary school, the big glasses I wore, and that strange crooked smile I don’t have any more, no one can distinguish me among those three rows of children posing with their teacher. Not even those who know me well and see me every day, now that I’m a grown man. 

But, if you don’t recognize me, it’s not due only to the passing of time. It’s above all because a long time ago you probably never even knew I existed and the thought that you have been the “ex” of someone, would make you laugh and you would think I’m mad. We spoke together seldom, in that school which I attended only for a short time, before my father’s job took me away. However, I’m addressing this letter to you, because, what I know about love, is what I learnt from our romance, which never existed. 

Watching your shoulders, waiting in vain for you to turn towards me. Giving a reason to my days, waking up in the morning, hoping to see you on the stairs before the bell rang. Trying to be noticed, but not in a too ridiculous or evident way. The need of praying for someone or something that got you to listen to me. The fear of being the first to come forward, the terror of being rejected, hiding in the fantasy of what could be, instead of living what it really was. Never taking that leap of faith.  

Despite being a grown man, I’m still that same child who waited in silence on the stairs. I move very little, and with caution. People don’t remember me. The difference is that now if someone asks me: “Why? Were you there last night?”, instead of terrorising me, they comfort me. That invisibility that hurt me as a child, now protects me from disappointment. 

So, with these lines I’d like to thank you. This is one of the things I learnt, leaving that school to reach a warmer town and grow. 

That a romance can be lived by a single person. 

That you can be the “ex” of something that has been, and will always be, only yours. 

 


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