Courtesy of http://christianschoolstoday.com
We forget history inspires.
We forget it lends something to writing, but history also asks something of us.
History asks us to dig. It might require you to search through old papers or your memories.
I remembered a time when letters were still important, and then I recall they are still important.
We write letters in:
- to Potential employers
- Queries to agents
- Cover letters to magazines
And, there is more.
Writers are never done with letters. They write in journals to themselves or send mail the old fashioned way to grandparents, parents and friends.
Letters are also sent to them.
Sometimes letters remind you of what you wish to forget.
In 2011, I dug through old papers in a box placed in my office. I was searching for previously published articles. I came across old letters instead. They sat in a pile. Some had yellowed with the passing of time, and others felt like they had just come through the mail.
My grandmother’s scrawled handwriting appeared on a few. Wide bubble letters showed up on others, and I recognized the handwriting.
It was writing I hadn’t seen in years. The penmanship belonged to a face I had not seen in years.
Most of the letters were cards with words of support. In one letter, she wrote:
“I knew you’d get into the Governor’s School. Congrats!!”
In another she wrote, “I’m sorry for what happened. You’re my best friend. I hope you forgive me.”
I could not tell you now what her apology was for; only that it was probably some teen girl drama long ago forgiven and forgotten. The letters continued with support of my writing, or how she missed me when I went to camp.
Most of the cards were written between the ages of 13 and 16.
The closest person I ever had to a sister was the letter writer.
As I continued to read, I began crying. I wanted to burn and bury everything related to my middle and high school years. I had despised how naive I was. I hated how easily fooled I was, but were those the real reasons I wanted to get rid of every memory?
The worst part about being best friends is that you know exactly where to cut the other person. You know how to fight, stab and shoot every bullet of hurt into your friend.
When battles turn into a war, a time comes when it no longer matters how many years the two of you were best friends.
Only later do you realize that the heartbreak you cause each other is greater and more painful than wounds an ex-boyfriend gives you.
In college, the letter writer and I both changed. I was trying to figure out who I was, and she was doing the same. We were working to become independent and to prove we could be someone.
Boyfriends, identity crisis and a new life in college opened the gates to war. We threw everything we had at the other: poisoning other friends’ minds against one another and lying about who we were. No one made the other girl look worse than her best friend.
In the years to come, I wanted to forget everything. I wanted to burn every connection to her. I suppressed every urge to write about our friendship because the pain was too deep. A crater was left in my heart.
After all the drama, I still loved my friend who wrote me letters.
When her letters resurfaced, I swallowed my pride. I sent a simple hello on Facebook. She replied and told me she had been sad not to be with me on the day my son was born.
When we met for the first time in four years on Christmas Eve, a place in my heart came to life again.
It was strange, eerie and something never before experienced.
The letter writer and I met each other as women.
Things can never be as they once were, but history must hit us on the head so we take a gamble on a new future.
By Rebecca T. Dickinson
Today’s post marks the one year anniversary of A Word or More.