500 Reasons

by Nicholas Siennicki

I have 500 words to explain myself.

Well, 492 now.

You’d think that I’d have planned out what I want to say. Or would you? I’m not sure how well you think you know me. But I’ve a habit of coming up with good ideas and failing spectacularly. I mean, you were one of those self-same ideas. So is this letter.

Because I woke up one day and decided that I would sit at my desk and write you a letter that explained everything about as well as someone as dumb as me can. I drafted out a bunch of attempts, and all I could hear is your voice gently reminding me that I’m ranting again, going down yet another hole with meandering words. I guess that’s part of the reason you’re not here anymore.

500 words, or, well, 360, does not leave much space for ambiguity and elaborate metaphors that beat around the point. I should be as direct as possible, I should be pointed.

Have you ever felt so put down by should, could, and would? The way the world turned around you seems answer enough, I guess. I sound bitter.

I am, a little.


I told myself, some time ago, when I was crumpling up papers full of wasted words, that I’d write you as happily as possible. I would be cheery, like a little ray of sunshine, the very model of everything you left behind.

I’d sit here and comb through memories to cast myself, and you, in the best possible light. It wouldn’t necessarily be a repository of lies, like you might imagine it to be. It would be a lovely panegyric meant to… I’m not sure, actually. Do I want you back? Do I just want you to understand? To keep this relationship in your memory as honestly as possible?


This word count is a really dumb idea. I’m full of them, you’d say. We all are, I’d reply. Maybe you’d indulge my tirade about how almost all the issues we have are self-spun, how we castigate ourselves for the things we cannot do, and lock ourselves in cages of self-actuated impossibilities.

You’d think much the same, I think, if you let yourself think at all. But the world is so much cleaner and brighter when you just… don’t. Wow, doesn’t that sound bitter. It’s not, actually. Not as much as above, anyway. I get it, I really do. I’m too demanding. I ask too much from people; I push too hard. I strive for what I feel is right above what is normal, or easy.


And you know, there’s nothing wrong with wanting what is easy. I just… don’t know how to do that, how to achieve that. To just picture pretty boys kissing pretty girls, watching silly movies, being in casual no-questions-asked relationships. Is it my fault for wanting more? Or yours for being happy? It’d be so easy, if we didn’t feel so insecure.

I’ve said nothing, as usual. And I’ve just one word left:


Photography courtesy of Zosia Czarnecka.

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