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Torn Out Letter

Three days ago I was ruminating on something all day. This something was burning in my head and coursing through my blood. I stayed up late that night to write a letter – a letter that I never planned to send. 

I woke in the morning and stepped on the coil notebook as I stumbled out of bed. It’s like the notebook was asking to accompany me to see my therapist that day. I shoved the notebook in my bag before I led myself to my car. 

There was much to talk about at my appointment this week: how I felt about Match day (and the memories it brought back), my dream, my ruminating, and eventually this letter that got it all out of my head. 

“Do you want to read it to me?” she asked. I hesitated. I don’t know, I thought… Except why else would I have been compelled to bring it. So I read her the letter. 

“Are you going to send it?” She asked again, this time with a satisfied grin.  I told her I had no intention of sending it. 

“Why not?”

And then we talked about that for a while too.  As these appointments usually do, the subject changed multiple times, with thoughts fleeting back and forth, and back again. Before the appointment came to an end, her eyes fell back to the notebook on the table between us: “so, are you going to send it?”

“Yeah, I guess I could.”

“Good!” She exclaimed, jumping up from her seat like a giddy child. “Do you want an envelope – I can get you an envelope!”

She returned to the table and handed me the plain letter envelope and watched as I haphazardly tore the pages from the notebook. I felt an unrelenting urge to tidy the edges of the pages, to make the rough letter appear less ragged. But, I stopped myself.  Sending it was enough – no need to waste energy on making it look pretty. 

She watched intently as I stuffed the pages into the envelope and licked it shut. “Here, I think I have a stamp, too. Let me get it for you.”  She returned once again to the table where she turned the envelope to face her, stuck the stamp in the proper corner of the letter, patted it with a smug satisfaction, and turned it back to face me across the table. I almost sensed her desire to address it for me, too. But before anything was said, she maybe thought better of it. 

She really wanted me to send that letter. So, I placed it into my bag alongside the notebook and took it home. I waited until the next day before I addressed it and at that point I thought to forget about it. But then I thought of the generous envelope, and the stamp.

This morning as I approached the mailbox, I removed the various envelopes that needed to be sent, with thee tree mixed up in the bunch. I almost forgot about it, in fact, until the moment I placed them all through the slot. 

Did I really want to send it? I guess it doesn’t matter now.

I walked away and briefly thought of the torn out letter resting in the hands of the receiver. 

I wonder what she’ll think…

I Wonder if I’ll ever know…

4 thoughts on “Torn Out Letter

  1. I mentioned this on previous posts on your blog, but I’ve been dealing with a very hurtful situation with a friend. In a nutshell, I put up a boundary with this friend and she completely turned away from me, won’t speak to me, etc. I’m realizing that, even though I was her best friend for years (her words, not mine), in reality she can’t accept who I really am. It hurts. SO. MUCH. I have cried about it and lost sleep over it and been sick about it. A couple weeks ago I began writing her a letter as the thoughts come to me. When I began writing, I thought I would send it to her. But then I started realizing that writing the letter is more for myself, so I can organize all my thoughts. And part of me thinks she doesn’t deserve the letter. I don’t know though. Maybe your action here will change my mind. Thanks for writing!

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    1. Yes, I remember you telling me this before. There is a huge similarity, except I am “your friend” in this situation: I had the barrier put up against me and it really, really hurt. Another major difference is that I haven’t totally turned away from her. But we never got a chance to talk (or rather, I never got a chance to understand why/what happened). It’s been three months and I respected her boundary immensely. My letter was more about me than about her – I have a lot of confusion and a lot of unanswered questions that I feel deserve to be expressed and addressed. However, I did talk about how I think and worry about her, and how I’m having a hard time understanding or reconciling what happened with the person i think/thought she was. I started by saying that I have no expectation or agenda, and I really have no expectation that she will respond. But I think I deserve to have the opportunity to ask my questions and request clarity and closure. This is it, though. This is my last attempt to reach out and then I can rest assured that I did everything I could. You might think the letter is all about you and not about her, but part of recovery is taking care of yourself. I feel like sending the letter was some symbol of closure, especially if I never hear anything from her. If I do hear something – good or bad – worst case scenario I will have answers (or reinforcement that I misjudged the type of person she is) or I will be on the road to communicating with someone that I would like to have as a good friend.

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      1. Such great thoughts and perspectives that I didn’t consider. I love the way you put it — “I’m having a hard time understanding or reconciling what happened with the person I think/thought she was.” That’s exactly what I’m struggling with in my situation. I should have explained myself better too….. the term boundary may not be the best way to describe the situation. In reality I put her child first (since she was asking me to play a role to her child) and thus myself first since I felt like I couldn’t play the role adequately to him (and would thereby hurt him in the process). So it was not a boundary in our friendship, but rather me saying that I didn’t feel comfortable doing what she was asking me to do (after always doing what she asked me to do for years and years during the course of our friendship). So please don’t think that I’m a hurtful person!

        (I’ve written out the situation in detail and emailed it to a few people. I will gladly send you more details via email – I just don’t want to post that many details publicly!)

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        1. I don’t think you are a hurtful person at all, just like I don’t (want to) think of K as a hurtful person. I think I will write a post about this to elaborate more, but I have two very strong beliefs that come into play here:
          1. People do what they feel they need to do at the time (whether it is the right thing or not).
          2. You can only make a decision based on what you want/need in any situation. You cannot manipulate someone or make a decision with the *hopes* that they will respond the way you want.
          So in short, you (and my friend, too) did what you felt you needed to do at the time you did it. You hoped that there would be a respect and understanding of your needs and your point of view. Unfortunately there wasn’t, and that’s not your fault – that’s her fault.
          While I have tried hard to respect the “boundary” that K set up, it seemed to come out of left field, with no logical or (or fair) explanation. I have so many unanswered questions and I wish we could talk about it. I decided to send this letter, and while I hope that she opens up or reaches out to me, I can’t expect that she will, and I have to be okay with that.

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