letters between us

I’ve always loved letters and the idea of letters themselves telling a story, so I decided to write something myself with that method.  The following piece is told through series of letters between two former friends.  

Dear Charlotte,

I’ve been considering writing this letter to you for a while but I haven’t been sure whether I should.  The last time we saw each other was at Jake’s funeral, and I realized that we hadn’t even talked to each other in over a year.  Recently, however, I’ve begun to realize that after all those years of everything, this nothing is deadly, and we might as well acknowledge everything now.  If not now, when?  I suppose, more than anything, I want you to know that my intentions when writing this are not to cause you pain.  That being said, you have no obligation to reply; that’s all up to you.  I’ll respect whatever you choose.  

So much has happened in this last year, and so much before that as well.  So much that we didn’t talk about; so much that I tried not to talk about; so much that was never said aloud.  These have been the years of growing up more than ever, and that’s one of the most beautiful and terrifying things there is.  We knew each other for so long.  It doesn’t seem fair to leave everything just so open ended.  

We’ve both hurt each other so much, even if we didn’t mean to.  I’m sorry for ignoring you, for not even looking you in the eyes.  I’m sorry for being so desperate to hide that I couldn’t even answer your texts.  I’m sorry for talking about Jake, spreading rumors about the both of you.  And I’m sorry for what happened with Jake, although you probably don’t want to hear that from me.  He was still a person, and still a person who meant a lot to you, and neither of you deserved what you got.  

So maybe in some magical fantasy world we could just snap our fingers and all of that pain would go away, but I think we both know that that isn’t really possible.  What I do want you to know is that I forgive you.  And I’m sorry for how I’ve hurt you as well. I’ve spent so long carrying this crazy anger around in my heart, convincing myself that it meant I had let go, yet anger and hatred are a kind of attachment in themselves.  I had to at least try to let go of that, move on.  And I’m sorry for how I’ve hurt you as well.  Maybe that’s a part of growing up for me as well.  Growing up, growing apart.  We never really thought it would be real.  

I remember those dayslistening to Taylor Swift songs in the backseat, leaping and dancing out in the rain, sitting on the couch and watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the hundredth time.  So maybe it’s just that I miss you.  I’m not sure how to know.  

Best,

Jess

 

Jess,

Thank you.  Thank you for saying something to me.  Honestly, though, when I got this letter I was pretty terrified, but now I’m glad you sent it.  I think I would have been too afraid to try to talk to you again otherwise.

I guess that after what happened with Jake, I can understand why it was so hard for you to talk though.  Why would you want to tell me that your family was secretly falling apart?  I lost you because I couldn’t understand; I was too wrapped up in my own life.  But then I learned.  I didn’t want to tell anyone about how much Jake was drinking, how it was beginning to scare me.  No one wants to spill their secrets and heartbreak into the world.  I can’t stand to listen to all the people turn it into some tragedy without knowing anything at all.  Everyone gets to know that he was drunk and that he died, but none of them bother to know anything more.  And I’m nothing but the poor victim of his irresponsibility to them.  I don’t want to be anyone’s sob story; I don’t want to have to tell anyone else what happened.  I just wish I could be happy again, that things could go back to how they used to be.  

I need to say I’m sorry too though.  I was acting like an idiot, I understand that now, and I didn’t always have the best timing either.  I had no idea of what was happening in your family when I tried to talk to you.  I just wish that the past two years could all just go away.  Rewind back to ninth grade.  Before everything went wrong with us, before I even met Jake.   

I remember, I used to think that nothing would ever stop us being friends.  I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to fight with your best friend!  I kind of hate myself for being so ridiculous.  

And I guess I didn’t know how to talk about anything at all when you tried.  I know that you tried to tell me things, that before everything went wrong you were trying to tell me things.  You were upset when I started dating Jake—all of a sudden our little world had to be shared with someone else.  Maybe I should’ve realized then.  You can talk to me nowI promise I’ll listen.  I’m sorry.  You don’t have to say anything.

I forgive you too.  

Charlotte

 

Charlotte,

Thank you for writing back to me.  I really am sorry about what happened with Jake.  If you ever want to talk more in person, we could meet up for coffee or lunch or something.  

Anyways, I miss you.  Sometimes, I’ll imagine that you appear out of nowhere like in a dream.  I think I loved you, really.  And I think that some part of me will always love you, no matter what.  You mattered to me so much, more than anything else in my life then.  So maybe I was angry when you found Jake, unrightfully so, and I don’t have any real excuse for how I acted.  You have every right to be mad at me for that.  

But more than anything now, I just want to talk to you again.  I miss having you, my best friend, just a text away.  I miss spending hours talking about the most random things late into the night and trying not to laugh too loud when you sent something funny.  Sometimes, I’ll think of something that I have to tell you before I remember.  Can we ever find our way back to those people or have they been lost to time?  Have we both grown up, faced reality, too much to ever return to the past?  I’m not sure, but we can try.  

No matter what happens, you can know that there is at least one person out there that still carries a love for you with them always.  

I don’t know if that’s beautiful or sad.  It just is.  

Best,

Jess

 

Jess,

I’m sorry, for the whole past few years, I knew everything was changing and that our friendship was pulling apart, but I kept just trying to go back and keep everything the way it was.  If we were happy then, that meant we could be happy the same way now, right?  

But then Jake became less stable; he started going out and partying more and more, getting drunk at every opportunity, and it felt like all of a sudden I was forced to grow up.  And then he was gone.  Maybe now I’ve found the same place you disappeared to before.  If this is growing up though, I just wish it didn’t have to happen.  I’m sorry that I didn’t know how to help you before.  I can’t imagine how much you must’ve hated me.  

I know I’m still not very good at listening and helping you talk about things, but I won’t get mad at what you say.  It’s weird how natural writing to you feels after having just ignored each other for so long.  I guess that comes with having been best friends for so much longer though.  It’s nice to have someone to talk to again.  I feel like you, if anyone, can understand how scary life is right now.  And I’m sorry that I couldn’t understand it for you.

Charlotte

 

Charlotte,

Thanks for being so nice about that.  I don’t really know what else to say about it.  

I agree that it’s good to have someone to talk to.  Even if you couldn’t understand before, you do now, and I’m always willing to listen to you.  

I don’t know what growing up is.  Is it when you understand how wrong things can go and have to face that forever?  Maybe that’s not growing up though.  Maybe the real growing up comes from being able to move on from mistakes and repair the damage and reconcile old friendships.  So we’ve done the making mistakes part, and now it’s time for the growth, right?  We can let go of the bad from the past and find friendship again.  Even if it’s not exactly the same, it’s still something.  I still miss you.  

Because it does feel natural to be writing to you, and if we can make it through everything we’ve been through, all of the fighting and pain, then nothing can stop us.  Everything has already gone wrong, so nothing we do can be as bad as that.  

It’s kind of weird trying to catch up over letters though… So if you want to talk in person, either about actual things or just to catch up, I’m up for having coffee sometime if you want to.

Best,

Jess

 

Jess,

I guess you have a pretty good point about that.  I’m not sure what more we could do to mess things up than we have already done.  I’m sorry we had to have so much go wrong though.  I wish we could just go back and make it all go differently.  Or maybe it would just all happen the same.  I hope not.  

Thank you for not being mad at me for being so unaware and unhelpful before though.  I feel like you have every right to hate me, but for some reason you don’t.  

Maybe you’re right though.  Maybe the bad things that happened were just awful things, not growing up, and now we can be mature and kind and fix things.  

It’s crazy to think that by next year we’ll be off in college, living in different places who knows where.  And that means we probably won’t really see each other either, especially if we’re in different states and everything.  Even after having not talked so long, that still seems strange.  And we won’t just run into people we know whenever we walk into the grocery store!

I like the idea of coffee.  For both reasons.  Maybe (if you don’t have my number blocked) we should ditch the eighteenth century communication and try texting to set that up?  

Charlotte

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