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"Please don't read this until you get home."

That's how your letter started. I remember it still, because you gave it to me without even looking me in the eye and then took off on your bicycle. To be honest, I read it as soon as you were out of eyesight.

It was something like our sophomore year of high school, back when this whole passing notes thing was the norm. I don't know why we did it - it's not like we ever had much of anything new to say. We were on the phone together every single night, so what did it matter, you handing me a note that I couldn't read until I got home? I was just going to call you as soon as I was there or as soon as I read it, whichever my attention focused on first.

I unfolded the note, which was written in pencil and already showing wear; obviously, whatever was inside had really bothered you. I read your words and I went on my way, calling you that night as always.

And you didn't answer.

This was phase one in the process of losing you.

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