To an idea,

This letter is for you, the one who shook my mind.

When I saw you first, I thought you were an apparition. Sunk behind the curtains, I could barely make your figure out. But then you came out from the shadows, and oh man did I see you then. My infatuation for you grew over months and months. I did everything from envisioning where we would live to what our kids’ names would be. I did all this without having even met you. Because, I knew once I’d met you, I wouldn’t be able to control myself from shaking all over. Because to me, you were the one. I was so selfish; all my thinking, all my wanting was to satisfy my desires.

I did not take you into consideration. I didn’t take those around me into consideration. I didn’t know what would happen if we ever got together. It felt like God was keeping you away from me for the longest time…and then all of a sudden our lives clicked. Just like that. Something I had dreaded so long became a reality. It was insane.

Everything people had told me about you, everything I saw from the sidelines, it all led me to believe that you were a version of me. It is so powerful, when you see parts of yourself in other people. So powerful that you are drawn to them like an arrow hitting its target. Partly why I kept my distance for the longest time, was because you were something so special. Almost sacred, I didn’t want anything to ruin it. I protected my love for you, quietly, secretly, intermittently. I knew you didn’t know me, or else you heard bits and pieces about this girl. It didn’t matter, because once you knew, we would be perfect.

Man, was my thinking selfish. So utterly selfish, I had to scream “What are you doing!?” to myself in the mirror time after time I found myself thinking about you. I went to people wiser to me, and they helped me see the folly in my actions and thoughts.

I realized that everything I had done so far, although in-between the lines, was all for myself. I wanted you all for myself. I wanted that powerful bond that I know we would have. I thought it could break through all forces pushing us apart. I believed for a moment that I was doing what was right and what God wanted me to do.

It wouldn’t be right, though. I would make it difficult for so many people. And, I know that now. Even though we like the same music, have the same humor, a shared outlook on life, I have to pull away. You were the idea of my dreams, and it almost made it to reality. So fucking close. But I couldn’t do that to everyone. Not my family, not the people around me, not my friends, not my destiny.

Honey, you are perfect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. But, you are for someone else–someone amazing that God has in mind. And though I’ll find my mind wandering to your face time to time, I’ll know that what I did was right. I’m cutting it off now, because I know if I go any deeper I will not be able to turn back.

You’ll never know how much went on in the background. How many nights I stayed up thinking about you. You can never know, and I’m never going to tell you. A part of me wants to escape, and hope that when I come back I’ll find you happily married with kids. Another part of my wants to tear up everything I’ve ever worked for and throw it all away and run away with you. But, I’ve always have that rational line of thought in me somewhere, and it’s telling me to step away from this idea of you. To let you thrive, be you, and find your way in life. And for me to avert my eyes, take a different road, and continue to love so deeply. People say that heartbreak is worth it, that this pain will yield something good. But I can’t seem to scratch the idea of what good could come from losing you, and the joy that could be found in us.

So, I’m going to have to say goodbye to you, a beautiful dream, even though I just said hello.

Anashe.

To the Mediterranean Sea,

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There is nowhere I feel more myself then in your glassy folds, reflecting sunlight on a bright June morning.

I am your daughter.

There in the middle of the planet, in between two worlds, I feel your strength and your ease. Like the comfort a child feels when they hear their mother’s call, I feel at home when I hear your waves crashing around me.

You are majestic, but we wouldn’t know by how peaceful you look from atop. It’s funny how I always seem to come back to you at the end of the season. Your inviting waters provide the freedom from everything I’ve left. I could lay on your shores and listen to your roar hour after hour, day after day into eternity. This is my ode to you, oh sea.

Like the bee who collects nectar from the honeysuckle flowers, you sweeten my mind with words to write and rhythms to play. It’s not curious at all that such a force could make me feel so alive. If could I would sail your waves forever in that little sailboat of mine.

There’s something about going back to you that makes me feel like I’m coming into my own. Maybe it’s something that has to do with my skin bronzing to it’s natural olive underneath your scintillating sun. Maybe it’s the blue in your waters that light my eyes into icy green flames. Probably, it’s your salty mist that tangles my hair into uncontrollable waves.

I think it’s your magic. I always comment as I cross your waters near dusk that I hear voices in the distance and something calling from the water. I joke that it must be the Odysseus’s sirens calling from the little alcoves, but I know I shouldn’t joke. There is definitely music, and if you listen close enough, it will spontaneously begin to play underneath your waves.

Yearning for you,

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To my future happy place,

I do not want to limit these letters to just people. I think doing so would force me to capture only a small part of an intricate spectrum of things that have shaped me. And so, I’d like to begin this letter by saying:

Dear happy place,

I don’t really know how to describe you. That is, I don’t really know what or where you are. Maybe you don’t exist. But here are some hopes and dreams I want to put out regarding you.

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Sometimes I think of you as the shade under a fig tree with the nearby Mediterranean sea breeze picking my hair apart in tangles. The climb to the top of Anacapri, to the vista alongside thousand year old statues of Caesar and the Sphinx, where you’ll find me sitting with a glass of limoncello. Perhaps you are the Blue Grotto, alit with an electrifying blue, and the thrill when I jump into your magical azure on a whim.

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Perhaps you are the warm cobblestones of Florence, that delicious pappa al pomodoro that I would forever call the best thing I ever ate. Perhaps you are all the museums, the mausoleums, the marble floors, the art, and the thick romance of the Italian air. Perhaps you are the ambrosial Roman sunsets.

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Sometimes you are the thunder I hear under the ground at the base of Mount Aragats or the view from Charents’ Arch looking towards Ararat; a dule of doves fly through the arch and towards their redemption–the fruit trees lining the narrow path up to Khor Virap. Perhaps you are the red poppies draping the hills of Artaz.

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Sometimes you are the blasting cold of the Northern Sea at the edge of St Abb’s Head, the sharp cliffs falling hundreds of feet below into a salt mist. Perhaps you are the rolling hills of the Highlands, the sound of wild sheep bleating, the hooves of red deer passing before the hunt, the golden eagle’s cry. Sometimes you are the ripples in the faerie pools at the Isle of Skye and the roar of the waves against the bluffs in the Hebrides.

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Sometimes you are Paris; tucked in a corner cafe across the Eiffel Tower at precisely 11 o’clock in the evening. Perhaps you are the green leather chairs at La Dome or some side bar in the Latin Quarter, still selling absinthe in old wine bottles. Perhaps you are the flower markets of Nice in the full plight of summer; the tourists past by your stand, but I know better.

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Perhaps you are the great alps of Switzerland; the train ride up to Mürren, the North Face trail winding around towards the Eiger. Perhaps you are that one hotel in Zermatt, where I wake up and see the Matterhorn just outside our bedroom window. Perhaps you are the winding trails and little hostels down the mountain that host funny travelers.

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Perhaps you are all the places I have ever been at once. You are all the feelings, the touches, the scents, the sights, the sounds.

Dear happy place, we will meet. If not all at once, I hope to capture as much of your magic in what little ways I can.

I hope we meet soon,

The bright-eyed traveler

To an old lover,

Where do I begin with you. The moment I met you, it didn’t hit me. It wasn’t until our hands touched that I actually thought of you in that way. All of a sudden, my naive, unsuspecting self was suddenly thrown into a revelry. I couldn’t stop thinking about you. 

It was a perfect match. I mean, the logistics of it would be wonderful. School, spirituality, aesthetically. It made sense, other people also realized how much it made sense. I wouldn’t stop receiving their suggestions until long after I had gotten over you. 

Man, after those few months I seriously thought you were the one. Until you did that thing, and it broke my heart. I mean I can’t blame you; she’s pretty perfect. But she’s perfect to everyone else, too. And, when you’re heart was broken, my bitterness stopped me from coming to your side. From there it’s history. It’s funny, well more like sad, how someone you couldn’t imagine your life without becomes someone you never think about anymore. 

I don’t know if there was a mutual bitterness, but there definitely was a cold distance between us. Maybe it’s because you’re weird, maybe it’s because you heard things, frankly it amuses me at how much it doesn’t matter anymore. 

You showed me what dedication was. You showed me how it felt to lose someone. You taught me that I need to be with a person who’s fully there, who outwardly reaches out with care. And finally, you taught me how to get over my feelings and move on (which would become very handy in the coming year). 

I hope you get what you wanted out of life.

Love,

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To My Teacher,

My darling, anoush Dikin Yvan,

I loved you the most. You taught me unlike any ordinary teacher. You taught me love, you taught me grace, you taught me discipline, and you taught me that the relationship between teacher and student is an indescribable bond, if you’re as lucky as I was. I almost want to write this post in Armenian.

Yes chanachum em kez kani vor yes hing darekan ei. Skats ropeits minchev yes handipel em kez, du dartzel im dadiki. 

I met you when I was five years old. From the second I met you, you became my grandmother. Maybe it was because I was your favorite student, even though I did my homework in the car on the way to class just like the rest of them. Maybe it was my big green eyes you would always call metz dzitabdughner, big olives. Maybe it was the way you would hug me; I remember sinking into your ribbed sweaters, into the comforting clouds of your soft body, my head buried in your motherly bosom.

Not once did I get upset when you disciplined us for not pronouncing something right. The other kids hated you, but I only saw compassion behind your eyes. Kids can be so cruel, so unintentional, so naive. You were a force to be reckoned with. It felt like a little lifetime, those years. How long has it been? Since the bliss of my childhood and running to your arms each Friday night? Even when I got too old to give old ladies hugs, you were still one of the only ones I made the effort to.

You see, dear Yvan, you were my favorite person in this world. I don’t know why you loved me so hard. I don’t know why you called my your grandchild. Perhaps it was because your granddaughter was my best friend. I just remember you showing so much care and dedication towards teaching us our language and our culture. It was through you that I developed this lasting connection with my ancestors and my ancestors’ ancestors. Sweet, sweet, dikin…I can only imagine you now. Where you are, only God knows. I’ve tried so hard to find you, and I feel like I’m aimlessly searching for a piece of my soul that’s gone missing. But I will find you, if its in this life or another.

I can only say: Thank You. Thank you for the life you gave, the lessons, and most importantly the love. Words cannot explain how grateful I am to you, old master. You sparked the flame for finding my blood in what is true and what is holy. You sparked the eternal flame for scholarship and always looking for the old and the new ways. I hope you are drinking wine underneath an apricot tree with Komitas Vartabed. I hope you are singing in revelry with Sayat Nova. You so loved to sing. Even now, when I think about how grateful I am to you, I can only communicate the purest thoughts in Armenian. And that is all because of you, because of your kindness and patience, and willingness to not let me stare absently at this treasure box, but to open it and use all of its gifts. Dikin Yvan, I have felt a thunder in my heart. I know you are no longer here. I know you’re someplace better, oh I cannot wait to sing the hymns with you. As I listen to Arno Babajanian’s Exprompt, I can imagine you standing beside the piano singing in that clear voice of yours. You are always smiling, even though your teeth are worn from war and famine. Your hair always the thin line between gold and grey. But you area lively, jahel, strong as ever. You are a vision, exuding rays of light. As if we have a house and rooms for all the children, where there is always light, and always ripe fruit to be picked.

You are my light, my clear stone, the verdant path.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I will hold your love, your instruction, your kindness, and your warm warm hug in my heart and mind forever.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for making a place so strange feel like a home. Thank you for being my dadik. I can only apologize for withstanding visits, for forgetting to love you in your old days. But I will make it up to you. I will find her, and together we will laugh and cry of these memories. Together we will complete your memory. We will travel to the old city and find your home and fix it up.

We will make it right.

Forever with love, respect, and truth,

Անաջէ, metz puchik, metz dzitabughner