First draft: Letter to L

Hello L,

I’ve had a file on my desktop marked as ‘letter to L’ for several weeks now. I see it every morning and it’s beginning to feel like an accusation, so I’m forcing myself to get something on electronic paper other than my salutation. Hello.

We haven’t corresponded for a long time, so I’m finding it hard to get started. It used to be easy to write to you: I’d just let the words flow out like I was talking to you. And I loved to hear from you. It brightened my day. Now I feel unsure and afraid of writing ‘the wrong thing’ – whatever that may be.

For the past year I’ve made the assumption that you haven’t wanted to correspond with me because of the letter my sister sent out. I’ve felt that way even after your message telling me that yes, you received the letter but that I shouldn’t worry because no one thought badly about me. Because I know all too well the family’s predilection for white lies when they feel the need arise, and I sense this could be one of those situations. Maybe that’s just my paranoia. That’s the real reason I’m writing to you. To find out.

Obviously K’s words had an effect. It would be impossible not to. The fact that no one talked about it – at least not openly, and not to me – is proof of that. If anyone felt her account of me was unkind or untrue, why was nothing said? Is she not accountable for taking what I’d sent to her in private and turning it into a family spectacle? Or is it acceptable because that’s what’s sitting at the bottom of all of your minds? Did she only openly state what you all think, and that’s why there’s silent acceptance?

I need to know the truth: the hard, undisguised truth. I’m not going to defend myself. If that’s truly the way you and the rest of the extended family see me, that’s your prerogative. I’m sad to think any of you may pass judgement on me based on a one sided account, but there you go. People are people.

I’m all too aware of the many things that have happened in your life since we last wrote to each other. I know you were taking care of J, a full time job. And I know you’ve got an awful lot on your plate other than taking care of your siblings. My head’s been telling me that this whole time, but my heart’s been afraid of finding out for sure. The only thing I know for sure is this: I miss you, and I miss hearing from you.


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