Friday, June 14, 2024

First Place: Harmony Anque, AB Political Science

Dear Sapphire,

Awkward greeting? Too romantic? I apologize. I’ve gotten used to comparing you to pretty things in secret, and sapphires were a common choice. So pretty and so unexpectedly multifaceted — I mean, really. How many people know that sapphires are never solely the deep, deep blue that they were frequently advertised to be?

Although you were always an ocean to me.

You once called yourself a fire destined to burn out. Like you were meant to be a tragic cautionary tale. I’ve never mentioned the irony to you — and you’ll find that I neglected to mention many, many things.

According to David Hume, the idea of a true ‘self’ is doubtful at best, unclear and intangible both. He theorizes that the ‘self’ is only the bundle of perceptions, the completed puzzle board with pieces from every life one has touched. I was never good at saying what I mean, nor what you long to hear, so I shall take the chance to offer my puzzle pieces through here.

Sapphires and snowflakes and butterflies. Simple and complex and beautiful. Will you hear it, finally, from here? When the tiniest flutter of a butterfly had changed lives. When the tiniest inclusion in a sapphire was lovely and endearing rather than a flaw to be purged. When one caught a snowflake and saw the work of art too beautiful to last.

When there was you.

Except, of course, that I want this to last. That pretty things are romantic, but you are sought for far more than a gem or nature or theories. I want more, for far longer than the forevers we’ve both agreed aren’t meant for people like us. In vents and tears and secret poems.

I was never taught how to say “I love you” until there was you.

So, I love you.

Yours truly,



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