It’s been a week since you’re gone. The pain is alive and new. I still remember your smell, the way you wrapped your arm around me when we were walking around. I remember the day we said goodbye, you were already late to the airport, we barely had any time to process the fact that we were not going to see each other again. At least not in the way I wanted to.

Even though you didn’t mean anything to me at first, eventually I fell for you. Deeply. I’m not sure if being the type of person to feel everything so deeply is a blessing or a curse. I know you never felt as strongly as I did, but that’s because I’m fucking intense and you knew it. Seeing the world with ample sensitivity and emotional awareness is probably what made me an artist in the first place. Either way, I never planned on it, but for the first time in my life, my feelings transcended the superficial and I fell for what was inside. It wasn’t about the physical anymore, it was about the connection. “You might be the closest I’ve ever gotten to love,” you said. “Whenever I’m with you, I feel peaceful.” I know you were emotionally closed-off, you were never the kind of person to say these things frequently, so when you did, I knew you really meant them.

I liked how you didn’t play games. We both liked each other and we knew it. Everything happened organically. Whenever I wanted to see you, you were available. Whenever you wanted to see me, I was available, and if one of us couldn’t, we’d make time. No bullshit excuses, no “I’m not sure if I should text him first” insecurities of modern dating. Everything felt so natural from the get-go. You were not like the rest. You didn’t care about looking too needy, you didn’t care about getting closer. In a world where most gay 20-somethings just see you as a fucking piece of meat, this was a special case. I spent years looking for someone worth my time, and I found you.

After so many moments we shared, a day after partying at our favorite club in Hell’s Kitchen, I woke up in your bed. Seconds later, as if our minds worked in synchronicity, you opened your eyes. I could see through them and with the most beautiful smile you ever gave me, I could sense how happy you were at that moment. I gave a smile back and felt something in my chest going down through my stomach. That’s the moment I knew this was it. I loved you and I was willing to compromise. You didn’t like public display of affection, but you learned to do it in a way that was comfortable enough for you and I was fine with that. You didn’t like horror and Sci-Fi films as much as I did, but you compromised. I wasn’t a fan of Japanese food, but I compromised.

“You’re the only person in my life I tell everything to,” you said, as you lay your head on my chest. I’m sure you could hear my heartbeat increase, because I knew how hard it was for you to open up to people and you did it with me. You weren’t perfect by any means -and I wasn’t either- but we tried to help each other overcome our biggest flaws. In a way, we learned from each other. You were the logical, overthinking, analytical guy, I was the emotional, live-the-present-don’t-worry-about-the-future guy. I was able to break down your walls, you were able to make me act less impulsively and emotional when it came to making decisions.

I guess it’s not in our future to stay together, but at least I’d like to thank you for the memories. I’ll miss your accent, finishing your sentences because you couldn’t find the right words, that Turkish breakfast you cooked for us in the mornings, your visits to my place when you surprised me with my favorite Ben & Jerry’s, our walks around the Verrazano Bridge, our bike rides along the Hudson, our deep conversations about life on your couch, or how we could lie together and cuddle for hours without saying a word and still feel as though we had the most meaningful conversation ever.

Our last week together wasn’t easy. There was this heavy weight in my chest I couldn’t get rid of. I tried to spend as much time with you as possible, treating every second as the last one. I was unable to feel joy at that point. Reality had hit me, and the end was inevitable. I kept thinking about how my life was going to be without you. I was struggling with other shit in my life and whenever I had a problem or felt down, you were the only thing keeping me away from a full breakdown.

But now you’re gone and it’s hard to let you go when everywhere I look, there’s a memory of you. I can’t get off the train at my usual stop, because your old apartment is there. I can’t go to our favorite neighborhood bar, because I remember you there. I can’t walk around Shore Road Park, because there’s the ghost of you walking next to me. I can’t go to a coffee shop or restaurant, because the songs we used to listen to are playing in the background.

I’ve always said that I lived a delayed adolescence. What an average, straight kid experiences in their teens, I didn’t get to until I was an adult. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 20, I didn’t try weed until I was 22 and I didn’t have my first love until now that I’m 25. These are all things I should’ve experienced earlier in life, so the fact that I’m even writing this makes me feel like a 16-year-old girl who thinks she’s in love. But it’s part of my “process,” and I need to do everything I can to ease the pain. I’m sure you will understand. Whatever the case may be, I’m glad I met you, because you were the closest thing I ever got to a relationship and I will never forget that.

Thank you for the moments and good luck in your new life. In the meantime, I’ll try to move on, hoping that soon enough you will cross my mind and the only feeling I get is indifference.