Dear Potential,

Don’t act surprised. You had to know this was coming. You were my first love and I’ll always treasure what we had, but I’m getting older and it’s time to be honest: this isn’t going anywhere.

When I first met you I was smitten. I’ll never forget the moment I spotted you smiling at me from the back of the auditorium as I took the stage in our sixth grade production of South Pacific. That night you showed me what I’d be doing after school for the next six years while my friends played sports. You flattered me, spoiled me and showered me with attention. I was all yours.

I followed you to New York, honestly believing that it would work out. Ten years later, what have you left me with? A BFA? A stack of headshots that I no longer resemble? A single, misspelled entry in IMDB? So many promises . . . so many lies.

Just tell me one thing: did you ever really see a future for us, or were you leading me on from the start? I remember time after time asking you where you saw us in five years and time after time walking away with vague answers. You could never stay focused. When the casting directors stopped calling you thought we might write the great American novel. The next week you fancied us a stand-up comic. Potential, you had us playing keytar in a gay punk band for two years. TWO YEARS OF MY LIFE! Seriously, what is that about?

Even if we did continue this charade, how could I ever bring you back home to my family and friends? How do you think we would look together at my high school reunion? All my friends are becoming successful and earning accomplishments, while you insist on remaining potential. Remember Tristan, the kid from chemistry class who smelled like Chex Mix? Do you know what his potential got him? A boat. That’s right Potential, a goddamn sailboat.

My parents have wanted us to break it off for years. They tried to be supportive, pretended to be interested in you even though they knew you didn’t treat me very well. I told them that you loved me, that you had a plan. But you don’t have a plan, do you? I don’t think you ever did.

Please don’t try to contact me. The last thing I want to do is backslide into my destructive habits and I know that if I see you I’ll crumble and end up at a poetry slam or something. If, however, you feel like paying me back for all the money I spent on the improv classes, the Moleskine notebooks, the open mics, the guitar, the sampler, the home-studio kit, the mass mailings, the casting workshops, the interpretive movement jams, the subscription to Backstage, the props, the costumes or the many, many psychology books reaffirming my self-worth, you know where to find me. I’ll be at MIT.

Best of luck,
Jamie King
Brooklyn, NY