Life changes. Sometimes with a pregnancy test, a phone call, a visit or in my case with a letter. I was in turmoil. I was leaving, moving three hours away. “It is only for three years,” I kept telling myself, over and over. I repeated it like a mantra to drive away the sadness. It didn’t work. The thought of being away for three years would take the breath out of my lungs.
I never wanted anyone to touch me. I hugged my kids because I knew they needed it but even when I was upset I didn’t want anyone to touch me. It probably stems from the fact that my stepmother told me, when I was very young, that I wasn’t allowed to hug or kiss my dad unless I hugged or kissed her first. I didn’t like her, so I just stopped touching anyone. But now I wanted to be close to my friend. I wanted her to hug me. I didn’t understand this at all. So I wrote a letter.
I hosted a Mom’s night out at my house and when they left I couldn’t sleep so I sat down to write. I told her how happy I was that she sat beside me while we killed the competition playing Pictionary and other games. I explained how confused I was by how I was feeling. I went on about how I never felt this sad about leaving anywhere or anyone before. I gave all these semi-plausible causes for my feelings. I was so scared that she would think I was crazy and I said that several times in the five page letter. I tell her I can go on, even if she never wants to talk to me again. That I can turn to God in my sorrow. I asked her to be gentle with me. I was so exposed. I had spent years building the walls that surrounded my heart and had taken them down briefly to get these words out.
I was so afraid to even go back and re-read what I had written. I wasn’t thinking of a romantic relationship at the time. I wasn’t sure what I was thinking of. I did write, “The bigger the risk, the bigger the gain?” I thanked her at the end for being my friend. Even now, years later, my heart leaps about as I read the words I so painstakingly put on paper.
The next day we took the kids to their book club. My heart wasn’t in it. She knew something was wrong right from the start. As soon as we drove away from my house she asked me what was wrong. I told her I had something to give her when we got back. I didn’t say much else. I was so quiet during the entire event. A sure sign that something is wrong. When we got back to the house, the kids ran off and I handed her the letter. I went outside and tried not to throw up. After an eternity, she came out. I couldn’t look at her. I just sat on my cheap plastic chair with my head down. She squatted down to see my face and told me, “Never be afraid to love!”