The Last Things I would like to say to You.

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A Letter to Cold, Old Girls of Winters’ Past.

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


Letting go of old provides space for true.

We have not seen each another since that night when you wore pink or orange and white pants, or that night where we sat up on the hillside and argued, pleasantly. We never said goodbye—we simply never said hello again.

There are things you should know, things you should hear. But you do not care.

And I can not care, any more: talking to you is pouring rainwater into an upside-down bowl.

You are gone to me.

But I do care, if less now, out of respect for the memory of our courtship and your cold heart that appeared like a skittish lost dog.

And so I would say a few things, and tuck this letter into a bottle and cork it, and set the bottle adrift by the pier. And perhaps it will float to cowboy city, or old harbor city, or hot ocean city, or skyscraper ocean city, or fog and hill city, or a distant island or perhaps it will be lost across the ocean. You do not care.

I would like to have said these things, so that you would cease hurting kind men and stop allowing yourself to be pushed upon by big loud drunk men.

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.” ~ Dorothy Parker

I would like to say that your beauty made it difficult to breathe.

I would like to remember your pleasant beauty: but only for a moment, for you are a siren, and I have much sailing to do.

I would like to say I do not mind not being friends with you, now, for what is left to me is the memory of you and our good, bad dates and our bad whiskey and our wild, fun, sexual, drunken dancing together. I would have kissed you that night but your mouth smelled of put-out cigarette butts. Acrid. I remember your thong, you against the wall, you on my bed on all fours, your wide open eyes, narrowing, your bangs…my temporary humor and your model ice, melting in the hands of memory as a frozen polaroid, perfect as the autumn leaves veined in orange and lit-up orange. And then they fall, dry, over, the end.

You are a once-bright yellow green leaf, but your season has turned. You have sold your self to hungry men who will touch every part of you but your cynical heart.


“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


Your leaves are now beige fodder for future seasons.

You will soon be rolling a vast baby carriage into a cafe and eyeing the young party girls with wistful condescension. Your thick husband will be distant and have affairs, and so will you. You will visit a doctor when you are not sick, to fake your self back to a distant perfection.

I would like to say that you were cruel to me, and many others, because you could be. You knew the power you possessed and you did not use your power for good: oh if you had you could have raised waves against the cruel tides of suffering. Instead you used it as a salve for your boredom; you used it to drown out your humanity, your beautiful loneliness, your sweet insecurity, your kind fear.

But your power could not hold me for long, for I am not ultimately interested in merely having you: your carefully delicious style, your elfin eyes, your full young breasts, your full hair, your fit arms, your strong neck, your butt, your gold shoulders, your gold legs, your bangles.

Those things were like chimes, to my ears, a call that sounded through space and riveted my attention. Riveting like…like a shadowed symphony. I was not blinded by your brilliance: I kept looking, and as I looked, you softened, and as you softened…you made a poor choice.

You played cold games with me—you treated me as you treated the others.


“All that grace, all that body, all that face, makes me want to party…will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful. I know that you will. Will you still love me?”


But you did not think of this: it takes two to play. And I can not play games with you. And so you lose me and you do not care. But it is a loss, nevertheless.

My cold games are fun! They involve wool, and snow. Snowshoeing, with my dog and seven other dogs and friends and hot chocolate afterward; or sledding down the foothills beneath the mountain faces where our elders used to ski, or rolling a snowball until it weighs more than two men; or baseball tossing snowballs at snowheavied trees to relieve their aching branches.

Your cold games are something out of a heavy girl’s fashion magazine: they smell like sweetly toxic perfume samples.


“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


But I thought I knew you: and I still believe that you are better than this. You just have not had encouragement.

But I respect myself: I am too patient, and strong in my broken places (shinjang), and I am lucky enough to have been encouraged by kind warriors: and so I am not desperate for something that does not care for itself.

I am desperate for your honesty, for your hasty laughter, for your gentle breath, for your inspiring coos over my shoulder, for your saltwater tears, for your ordinary friendship. I miss your cozying into my gray couch in the winter beneath a black-striped red wool blanket when I bring you tea and you continue reading my used book to me, sitting beneath you on the carpet facing and feeding the fireplace. I am desperate for your love, or for your caring if you prefer—you are afraid of that first word, for desperate boys have lobbed it up at you all of your externally beautiful life.

And so you sought after troubled boys who did not love but wanted.

And so I let you go and so I relaxed my pursed lips and so I drew a hot bath and listened to my dog sigh in his sleep. And so I will close my day, offering you a dignified bow. And so I will cozy into my bed, warming the cool spots with my long strong legs and I will watch half a movie and work on my laptop, or read. My dreams are dreams of service that I can blow air into, and make real. And later I will dream, my aching shoulder wounded, pinned beneath me.

And so I would like to thank you. You taught me, again and again, again and again, and again, not to dream of you. And I listened. And I am silent. These words are not words of love, but of the silence that will remain when I walk away when this letter is done. I have listened and I shall not continue to imagine our love, for it was not to become love. You are too busy living a flowered path, present tense, and it is my misstep that I thought we had something special when I was only an hour’s fun for you.


“Failure should be our teacher…Failure is delay, not defeat.” ~ Denis Waitley


Thank you, for clarifying for me what love is not.

Love is no thing, and nothing is a gift, space is a playground, and time and distance are merely peaks and valleys in the topography of real love.

And I would remind you: I am not one of your fans. For I know what I deserve, and it is someone who is not afraid of fear. Love does not require this map: it makes its way across the miles. Love does not heed the time; for it is not rooted in the months of one or two moons.

Love is not bothered by obstacles—they form the high sides to the left and right of this rocky path. This path does not depend upon external signs: love will find its own way.

And my love will wait, a tiger in the tall grass, and my love will relax and curl up then stretch out and nap, and sigh. And you will be there, but it will not be you, it will be Her: I can not tell who she will be and this is not for me to know.

I am here.

“I miss you like hell.” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

Get your copy of Things I would like to do with You.




You just read the tenth.

Read the first, Things I would like to do with you in the Woods.

Read the second, Things I would like to do with you this Evening.

Read the third, Things I would like to Remember about our day in Vermont.

Read the fourth, Things I would like to do with you in Time.

Read the fifth, Things I Would Like to do with You Before I Lose You.

Read the sixth, Things I would like to hear when you are Confused.

Read the seventh, Things I would like to say to you without you Knowing.

Read the eighth, Things I would like to do with you when you visit my Home.

Then read the ninth, Things I would like for us to know before we Fall in Love.


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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.

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anonymous Dec 11, 2014 2:34pm

Like all of the other ones…I loved this one a lot too.

Keep up the good word. Am hungry to read more.

anonymous Dec 3, 2014 11:52am

Wow. I'm most definitely writing a response to this one, Waylon! 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration.

anonymous Jun 8, 2014 5:16pm

Oh I am living something similar. Thank you for this.

anonymous Jun 8, 2014 6:25am

Love it!! Somehow I can relate,this was me.. I fear that I might make another mistake and choose the bad boy instead of the actual good guy.. This is why I had to put dating on hold,I need to know what I want.. Thank you

anonymous May 7, 2014 7:29am

That was SO beautifully written!!

anonymous Oct 16, 2013 6:15pm

lovely. I have connected so much with each one of these. I have been on a similar path it seems. Which is now not saying hello again and wishing for at least goodbye. thanks for these.

anonymous Oct 13, 2013 12:12am

Breathtaking…literally. I've been that girl.

    anonymous Oct 13, 2013 10:10am

    Good on you for being aware of it, heartbreaker. 😉

anonymous Oct 12, 2013 7:32pm

My favorite so far. Love is in the tenderness and warmth that is felt when cherished inside and out.

anonymous Oct 11, 2013 9:44pm

Do contact me. I have been where you are and have also been beloved. I KNOW it is never too late. Do not let go. Tell her, sill boy. If you need to know this in you heart, I have extra to share.

anonymous Oct 11, 2013 6:31pm

Lovely words, Modern day Romeo! Wow.

anonymous Oct 11, 2013 3:48pm

Carissa: (email):

I can't figure out how to comment from my phone. Hence, the short email. This piece is out of left field! Wow. Brutal and by that I mean great…always surprising. Wonderfully straightforward. I sincerely hope this isn't based on fact… too sad. Fluxustulip


Whoops, sorry about the ALL CAPS there. It is based in experience, but that's okay! Dating is hard, sometimes, and (hopefully) we learn from it, good and bad, happy and sad!



anonymous Oct 10, 2013 11:22pm

I've cherished every one of these, but this one has to be my favorite. Exquisitely written, W. Simply WOW.

anonymous Oct 10, 2013 11:18pm

FB comments:

Divya R This reads like poetry..

Alyssa F this is beautiful in a deeply sad way

Jenny H These are my favorite of all elephant posts. Have you considered posting a female response/version of them?

Waylon Lewis Go for it! I'm unable to do so.

Christine L Brilliant! Love, love, love. This is my new favorite out of all of them. These are soooo worthy of being printed. I will certainly have a copy and it will be dog-eared in no time.

Sarah P "For I know what I deserve, and it is someone who is not afraid of miles. Love does not see a map, for it does not need it. Love does not heed the time, for it does not trace its roots against the months of one or two calendars. Love is not bothered by obstacles—they are brought to the path."

Thank you. That particular part is exactly what I needed to read right now.

Nicole V The way you have with words/life! Im excited to hear your going to to be printing soon

Jenny H On this quote: "'Our live are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.' ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald" add an S on the end of "live"
Waylon Lewis Whoops! Huge thanks.

Nellie Goldsmith Waylon this is beautiful!

Jenny H Message me!
Waylon Lewis I'd love it! Just send to and say we talked? The only theme I'm observing is to put some quotes in each, perhaps an appropriate song or video, and to use the "I would like to" formality, along with minimal colloquial language. Keeping kinda formal.
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