Letters Unsent

You may not be aware, but throughout our lives we have a stockpile of letters that never go anywhere but the back of our minds. After awhile, the dust collects on these letters and when you reach to trace your name in that dusty layer of time you push the letter down further to the bottom of your heart. Even later, the letters accumulate enough time and regret that they fall to the pit of your stomach, and finally sink down to the bottoms of your feet. So those days when your feet are crying out to you in pain the sound of blisters, it’s because you’ve spent too much time walking on your own sharp and delicate words. We all have our own pile of letters.  I’d estimate there are 1,500 letters that each person leaves unsettled and unsent. Letters, that if we’re honest, we’re either too busy or just too scared to write.

There are the “I’m sorry” letters:
I’m sorry I just walked out when you needed me. I’m sorry I didn’t explain. I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you he cheated on you, I thought he would stop. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that you’re beautiful more often. I’m sorry I didn’t make more time for you. I’m sorry I lost you.

On the other side, there are the angry letters:
You know these; you spend minutes, maybe even hours fuming and outlining the letters or speeches that are never read or heard. Why don’t you care about me? You never give me the time of day. Why did you lie to me? How could you say those things?

Both of these letter types are emotionally revealing, but there is a third class of letters. This category can contain a great variety of emotions, but has one common feature: the reason they are never sent. These are the words that are too risky to send. The ones that if they were to hit paper could be lethal, especially to the sender. These are the letters like, I miss you. I love you. I wish you’d come back. Do you ever think of me? I know I said ___, but what I really meant was ___. I should have never walked away. I should have never let you walk away. I’m still waiting for you. Do you know how much you hurt me? Do you know how much you mean to me? We can never convince our brain, to command our nerves, to tell our hands, to lift the pencil, to trace those letters, to create a sentence, to state what we’re feeling.

We all know these letters. Human nature is to attempt to forget them. But as you read this, didn’t you feel that throe, that faint ache at the backs of your heels? These letters are just as real as the feelings that wrote them. I have a pen named bravery. I use him on occasion when I’m strong enough to pick him up and conduct one of these letters. It’s not often. But tonight, I wrote one.


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