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i love you but i don't know how to tell you

SRETTEL EVOL issue one / unrequited love / februrary 14th 2018

a n no ot te e f fr ro om m t th he e a cr re ea at to or rs s c We’re so excited to introduce the first issue of our zine. This is our love child that was born one windy afternoon in Shoreditch. By combining our passion for writing and spreading love like Nutella, we came up with the idea for our zine.  Love letters have a long history of being the most romantic form of correspondence and we wanted to take this and combine it with contemporary media. In a world brimming to the full with hate, we wanted to inspire love within ourselves and others. Im addition to this, we wanted to create a place where one could share feelings and emotions towards someone or something that they may not be able to say aloud. We hope that Love Letters can be that place for you. Love comes in many forms and we aim to celebrate as many of these as possible. Love letters immortalise moments in time tinged with such immense love that one could not help but write and write. This love is forever imprinted into the universe through art. 

m me em mo oo on na a

Memoona is 19 years old and studies English with Creative Writing. She writes poetry about all the strangers she's fallen in love with on public transport and eats a lot of avocados and pomegranates. She loves Game of Thrones. Her most important goal in life is to obtain a kitten and name it Luna. She has an unhealthy obsession with candles.

so of f ii a a s

Sofia is 20 years old and studies English and Comparative Literature. When she’s not lamenting over slow burn fanfics, she can be found either eating pasta or listening to ABBA. She also enjoys fluffy animals, reading Jane Eyre, and talking about herself in the third person. One time she got scouted for modelling whilst in a cheese shop. She has held onto this encounter ever since.

pl la ay yl l ii s st t p unrequited love / yuna smitten with you / nicole dollanganger blue jeans / lana del rey i want the one i can't have / the smiths tee shirt / birdy every little thing she does is magic / the police  not in that way / sam smith take a chance on me / abba sleepover / hayley kiyoko creep / radiohead chasing pavements / adele here comes my baby / cat stevens young and beautiful / lana del rey love fool /  the cardigans  i can't make you love me / bonnie raitt

alexandra chin / instagram: @space.4ce

unrequited love unrequited love Loving someone that doesn't love you back. That's what we know unrequited love to be. The heart pounding, I love you but you don't love me back, kind of love. And it sucks. If we're honest, it might come close to being the worst feelings a human might encounter. Investing your time, emotions and energy into a person who doesn't and probably never will reciprocate your feelings. Some of us do this over and over. We keep loving the wrong people - the people that don't love us back. We beat ourselves up over the fact that maybe we're not goodlooking enough, or funny enough, or cool enough, or enough in any way shape or form. How wrong we are. How wrong to think that people don't love us back because we are not enough. We have always been enough.  Here's to all the people who didn't love me back - it is no fault of your own, you are guiltless, but so am I. We are just beings in this universe that doesn't make sense in the slightest, trying to live and learn and love. An unrequited love is most often left unexpressed, but here, we express the feelings we probably will never get to say to the people we are in love with. 


D De ea ar r C C ,,

I wouldn’t consider myself a confident person, so this seems the perfect opportunity to put a few thoughts into words. I would like to tell you how lovely your eyes are, and how they were the first thing I noticed when we spoke very briefly, too briefly. I would also like to tell you that I find you clever and interesting, and that you share ideas in class that I would like to discuss further with you. A part of me finds comfort in the assumption that I slip under your radar as it’s a space that I feel closely acquainted with. But then, a small impulsive wave, the slightest spark, tells me I should throw caution to the wind and look over just a second longer. Maybe I should smile? I want to catch your eye and hold your gaze just for a moment and hold on until I really do have to catch my breath and look away.

If only I could tell you that you inspire in me the want to not nervously avert my eyes, because I look forward to seeing you. Maybe the Universe would work some magic and I could bump into you elsewhere, a setting not dominated by a lesson plan. Wishful thinking, I guess. I think about how I would handle a conversation with you, planning my responses meticulously in the hope that the chance may arise for me to say something funny or profound or interesting. Maybe you’ve noticed that my attention is drawn to you? Or maybe not. So it goes. In short, I think that you're great. To bump into you would be a pleasure. I just wish that I was someone better, someone who would open their mouth. Write me back, if you know who you are

W W ii t th h w wa ar rm mt th h a an nd d w w ii s sh he es s ,,

S .. S

Down South How do I confirm your feelings for me? All the flowers and letters are becoming dreary Yes, you’re from Leicester but things flow differently Here in the capital. And I’m getting bored Of the hand-picked daisies and cups of tea That your people give out of formality. When will you ask me, and stop being so mild Because I really don’t care for your wife and child. They don’t know us in Brighton, You’ll blend right in with the Dan’s’ and Johns’. It’s me they’ll look at, pick up their noses and judge And secretly hold a grudge Because I am living out this fantasy, shared desire Spotting your ring but my bare hand, they’ll wait for it to transpire. Have people talking of our shared bedroom above the inn Pressed ears against the door, waiting for it to begin Waiting to leap in and save you from this mistake But we’ll keep the door locked until daybreak. Sometime during, I’ll beg you to stay and forget your wife All she has ever done is cause you strife. But you will tremble and shudder and say That I am temporary, a slight delay You love me for my shadow and mystery I nod and cling on to you, pathetically.

kolsumah sadat /

TToo y yoouu,,

I missed you today I missed your pearly whites I was to do nothing Considering I could not simply be with you I think of a fantasy land Where you truly see me A place where you would love me Just as I love you I missed you today And I was sat alone You’re all the company I want   And I don’t know how to tell you this You mean so much to me More than you would ever know I like to be your friend But that is not what I see I see you and I   Fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle With our own jagged edges But they fit together perfectly I missed you today Just like I do every day It's been six months now And I really know you're gone

I'm sorry for writing you this Sometimes it feels like you're still here I know you can't read it But perhaps if you can: I missed you today As I always do I love you with all of my heart As I always will I hope that I see you again one day When the sky is particularly dark I hope that I catch a glimpse of your smile, In between the clouds   I hope I catch that twinkle in your eye From the stars That seem so far away, just as you are But my love can reach farther My love is infinite   But you were not I missed you today A little more than normal 

From, Me From, Me

D De ea ar r W W ii t th ho ou ut t ,,

I have a terrible hole filled with terrible fears it makes me very ill no matter how much I buy how much I try it never seems to fill. I long to feel your presence another to my other the only way I will fill but when you appear to be from outside of me I feel trapped I want to be free

L Lo on ng g ii n ng g r re eg ga ar rd ds s ,,

W W ii t th h ii n n

To You, To You, I think time has stuffed itself into my soul from the moment I saw you. Time and time where nothing happened. I guess at first I was quite happy with just contemplating you, observing you like a curious astronaut in an unknown planet… But now it’s different. Now what I feel is uncontrollable. You see, you’ve flooded my mind with your fragrance, you’ve transformed my body into a permanent territory of goose bumps and you’ve completely shifted my entity to think of the most incoherent things. You’ve made me alien. And perhaps you don’t realise it, perhaps you don’t even know I am there dreaming of how your tender lips would feel pressed against mine. I want you to disappear in the curve of my eyes, whilst I get lost in the green jungle of yours. Take me to places where colours no longer exist, for you are the one and only chromatic spectrum. Let my curtain of fears evaporate with each kiss and tear apart the shell of my fragile soul with each embrace I want to navigate through the dangerous storm of bed sheets and drown in your touch However, as every dream, the reality comes kicking in without warning.

You are that fictional connection I desire but cannot have. That unknown and unreachable being I feel so attracted to but am inexistent to. You are the man that torments the peace of my body without realising it whilst I am the victim hidden in the silence of the loud hallways. Can you see me, lingering behind the mass of people? Can you see my eyes pierce into your soul? Can you feel the suffocating air tighten as we get close? No. You can’t because your eyes are fixated elsewhere, your eyes belong to the honey of her eyes and I am just a dispensable fragment that fills up your canvas. I don’t know what I expect to obtain from writing this. I might not even send it to you, for I fear being discovered and disrupting the still water that has always been between us. One thing I do hope for is that by writing down my wildest unknown desires in this piece of paper, they will become coherent and concrete things that perhaps centuries later can easily vanish, cease to exist and evaporate into the blue sky. P.S: I can’t sleep; a person has entered my heart, just like dirt to the eye…

From, Unknown Desire From, Unknown Desire

T To o w wh ha at t c co ou ul ld d h ha av ve e b be ee en n you ripped my heart out when you left

L Lo ov ve e f fr ro om m ,, V V .. instagram - @firetrucknipples

Jasmine flowers covered the path as Lila walked through her grandmother’s coffee estate. She could smell it in the air. At this time of the day it permeated the air so that it was thick with the sweet, musky perfume. Lila smiled. It seemed like only yesterday when she visited her grandmother’s home. She remembered distinctly. She was nine years old, tall for her age, skinny like a bean and brimming with enthusiasm. Sitting in her Grandmother’s kitchen, on the green wooden painted stool, watching the cook and ‘Tai’ as she called her grandmother make their evening meal. It was like a perfectly choreographed dance; Small cubes of potato fried with hot mustard seeds and a smattering of cumin seeds, popping sizzling sounds and the aroma of something appetizing in the pan. The spicy saltiness of fish steaks frying in the old cast iron pan, Lila could taste it. The promise of a good meal to come. Lila knew exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up. Could life get any better? But that was a long time ago. Tai was gone and the magic seemed to have disappeared with her. Like it never existed. Lila’s enthusiasm replaced by a hardened cynicism. This argument with James was petty. It had morphed into something big and unrecognizable. How had it begun? She could not remember. In this place all she could think of was how they had met. His hands so calloused typical for a chef and yet gentle as they held her, his arms strong and hard as they tried to envelop her as she fell. 

His citrusy scent and his easy smile. Lila had fallen in love instantly. Years later she would say that she knew he was the man that she would marry. What happened to them? They had just lost their way she thought pensively.Yes, when James arrives we shall breathe in this air redolent of jasmine and I shall cook him all those dishes that Tai taught me. Warm fragrant stews to be dunked with freshly made flatbread, crispy vegetable fritters to be eaten with tangy cool sauces, aromatic rice steamed with lamb and apricots, lightly spiced lentils and sweet cold puddings laced with rose petals and pistachios. James will love it she thought wistfully. As Lila returned to the house she saw the figure of a man sitting on the porch. He looked familiar. He seemed tired. Lila’s step quickened. As she got closer she realised it was indeed James. Lila half ran and half walked into his arms. They embraced awkwardly. Then stepped back to regard each other. They smiled shyly. And at once the words flowed out apologising, explaining misunderstandings. James put his hand on Lila’s mouth. He smiled that same easy smile which made her heart flip. Everything was going to be alright. The magic this place possessed was still here with Tai but they might just start with a walk down the path strewn with jasmine first.

instagram - @kittensmeows

To The Virgo Who Made To The Virgo Who Made Me Feel the Way Josie by Me Feel the Way Josie by Blink-182 Sounds, Blink-182 Sounds,

'playdate' a photo series by / instagram: @cronutz

S ii n nc ce er re el ly y ,, S

Th he e V V ii r rg go o W Wh ho o '' s s T To oo o S Sc ca ar re ed d T To o T Te el ll l Y Yo ou u H Ho ow w T Th he ey y F Fe ee el l T

To o M Ma ad dr r ii d d ,, T

I will probably never send you this. I think we’ve exchanged enough hurt already. Since we got back in touch after I left Madrid, it’s felt like I’m rubbing salt in fresh wounds. And now that we’re not talking, it feels like I can finally see things a little bit clearer. It’s so hard to look at this without clouded judgement. I still think about you and what happened all the time. But I also realise now that maybe I was right when I said you were emotionally manipulative. I don’t believe that it’s calculated. I just think you might hold what we have too close, and you’re doing whatever you can to keep it. You were right about nearly everything, the last time we spoke. I have been so confused. You and I met at a vulnerable moment. Grief was carving its holes in our lives. I am struggling with the relationship that I’m in because it can be hurtful and I’m not sure where it’ll lead, but I have never loved anyone like I love him. Maybe I should have been more explicit about that. But the confusing thing is how I feel when I’m around you. I’ve been mulling it over. Ever since that first long conversation we had in that bar in San Bernardo, I remember feeling confused. I came home to him afterwards, all giddy. He said it must have been a fun evening. I said it was, and I couldn’t put my finger on why.

That last night out with everyone in Madrid, when we said goodbye in Sol metro, I felt that oddly delicious vertigo when I looked at you. I ignored it. I know that feeling. It was unwelcome, but that didn’t stop it feeling like a warm breeze. When we Skyped that time I was drunk, I can’t remember what we talked about, just comfort in talking to you. And all those other hours we spent together where time just disappeared. So I’m struggling. Because I have had all of those feelings and more with him. I still have them. I love him intensely. And yet, deep down, I know I get itchy feet, and I have a mortal fear of commitment, and I can see the years creeping by and I wonder if I’ll get old and think that I’d been too sensible with my youth. And his illness creates black holes. There so much love there, but when he’s feeling bad, I feel such burning loneliness. And frustration. I wonder who he is. It changes him, and it’s something we have to live with. I flip-flop between caustic frustration when he’s unwell, and bliss being around him when he’s come back to my reality. And then there’s you. You’re mixing everything up. I miss your company. I want your friendship if nothing else. It can’t be anything more. But I can see how much this hurts you. I don’t know if there’s an answer.

Co on n c ca ar r ii ñ ño o ,, C Lo on nd do on n L

I w wr ro ot te e t th h ii s s o on ne e f fo or r y yo ou u I

The Dwindling Embrace He'd feel the softness of their press Against his broad and manly chest As you sobbed in his muscly arms Reducing you to peace and calm O how he'd never understand The suffering you had at hand All he knew was how to comfort And did with such little effort But still there was a slight issue, Though he had become your tissue, For he did not ever reply To a message sent in July A confession of your kind love, So simply - swiftly disposed of

Y Yo ou ur rs s a al lw wa ay ys s ,, H .. H

T To o ,, y yo ou u

F Fr ro om m L Lu uc c ii a a lucia tomanova / instagram - @cal_whimsey

D D ee a ar r H Hu um ma an n ,, I wish I knew your name. It seems odd that after several moons of watching you by the shore that I still don’t know your name, the most basic part of your identity. Instead I know the exact shade of your eyes; the precise placement of your dimples; the cadence of your voice. I know these small, intimate details about you and I bury them deep in my heart. I feel these secrets flutter against my ribs when the cover of night blankets the sky, and I allow myself to replay my most favourite memories of you. Remember when you came by the edge of the ocean; your finger idly drawing patterns on the water? I was there. I wanted to reach out and touch your hand; to curve your digit with my own and feel close to you for once. I thought maybe I could brush the pad of your finger with the tip of mine, but when I mustered the courage to do it you were gone, and the only remnant of your having been there was the disappearing vortex ring you had created. I put my hand near it to feel the vibrations you had created, but the best and worst thing about water is how fluid it is. Once you touch it you can’t touch the same water again.

I realise what I’m doing is treason. To observe you is to rebel against the world I’m from; to turn away from everything I knew, and though this is sometimes frightening, it is also exciting. I dare to dream of a day where I’ll be able to join you on the land. I’d hold your hand, and feel the sunset against my cheek, and I’d brush my leg against yours because of course, in this dream I would have legs instead of fins. If I were to ever voice any of these wishes, I’d be exiled; banished to live like the old sea witches of these parts. I would risk it all for you and one day I will. It will be soon. I know this because I have taught myself how to swallow my love for you, and that used to be enough. Now, whenever I try to I feel it getting caught in my throat. I can’t wait for much longer. I don’t care that I might turn to sea foam, never to see you or anyone else again. I want to walk alongside you forever and ever.

W ii t th h l lo ov ve e a as s d de ee ep p a an nd d v va as st t W as s t th he e o oc ce ea an n ,, a

Yo ou ur r L L ii t tt tl le e M Me er rm ma a ii d d Y

acknowledgements acknowledgements

Thank you so much to all our contributors for sharing what unrequited love means to them. Without these writers, artists and creators we wouldn’t have a zine, so we are extremely grateful for the support and submissions that we’ve received over the course of the last few months. We would also like to give a special thank you to Rose, our wonderful photographer who not only did incredible work but also was a great person to work with. Last but not least we want to say thank you to you, dear readers. What started out as a small idea has slowly evolved into a real, incredible project that we are proud to call our own and yours. We hope you’ll continue to read, submit, and support love letters zine.

JUNE 2018



the most important relationship - the one you have with yourself THE SECOND ISSUE OF LOVE LETTERS ZINE