Pen Pals

In the mail today was an envelope from you. A plain envelope, white, with your name in wobbly letters in the upper-left corner. I remember those letters from the days when things were easier, from days when we were just children, twisting blades of grass between our fingertips, asking what it meant to be ‘in love’. That Thursday at the neighborhood park, a school day, but too early in the year for homework. Still September, still warm. The sun was shining on your black hair, strands falling in your eyes, making you look sheepish. We were scared of each other then, scared of everything, really–getting drunk, the ACT, the impending doom of the future, the word ‘college’. Little did we know we’d make it here, opposite corners of the Midwest, connected by pen ink and the promise of friendship. When I read your words, I hear your voice. I hear it as I heard it then, in the black metal swing where you pushed me and tickled me until I begged you to stop. I’ll never forget what you said later that afternoon, just before the sun hid behind the clouds, But if it doesn’t work out the way we planned, it’s not worth it. You were wrong. You were wrong about a lot of things–that I would be the one to break your heart, that you were immune to temptation, that people and things never change. When I read your words now, I trace back the past six years of my life, intertwined with yours, for better or for worse. I picture your face, wonder what you’re thinking, if you’re afraid. I read a poem the other day about prayer, the power in its silence, in its ability to travel miles and leave it’s mark, unknown, but felt. Tonight, I put my pen to paper and write my prayer to you. I hope you feel it.

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