She asked me to write three letters, one to, one from, and one as a final response. I didn’t know if physically writing the letters would be any easier than typing them out. I was tired and I didn’t want to write anything on paper. 
Later that week, I had a free moment and I thought of those same letters, of the chance at liberty. I looked at my pens, pointing at me from their home base of a mug. I ignored them and went to work. Where would I get the paper anyway?
I sat down after a long day with a big glass of red wine. I took a sip and got lightheaded; It was still humid and warm outside, and I think I was dehydrated. Floating in the atmosphere, I suddenly started to write instead of continuing to stare at Reddit, grounded by the heat outside and the dining room chair. “Dear…”
It was much easier to have the conversation that I know would never happen in a neat, new, unsent email. 
A mere 45 minutes later and half a glass of wine gone, I finished.

She had suggested I burn those letters and then do something kind for myself. I didn’t have a printer, and it would be too much of an effort to get them printed, never mind to have a small bonfire. This might also attract attention and be potentially illegal – I don’t know this state’s take on fires outside of the house. I thought about this for a moment, lost in the fall weather and delicious smells of smoke, all in my head because it was still so hot outside. Then I realized I was getting hungry and thinking about barbecue – which I still have yet to eat down here in North Carolina. 

I didn’t read back what I’d written. I moved the cursor up and deleted the single email. Suddenly, I realized that I had not even given it a subject line. I hoped that this wasn’t doing an injustice to her directions. I sat for a moment to see if I felt anything. My stomach growled. I thought some more.

Some conversations are never going to happen in person, yet I have an imagination – and not a terrible one. Talking to myself in such a manner provided something of a resolution for me. Perhaps I’d underestimated my capacity to resolve things before in the past, but really, that didn’t matter. What matters was that I now had the capacity to sit and think about things without fear. 


The greatest achievements are not those that people always want to post to social media: How they’ve lost weight and gained muscle, married, managed to thwart the almost insurmountable odds and procreate. How they’ve been promoted, had pictures taken, found some kind of connection in the world. The power to understand is an achievement in and of itself. It doesn’t need a picture, or a post. It needs to be felt, and that’s all that matters. 

I still have yet to try barbecue in North Carolina. But I have plenty of time for that.

2 thoughts on “A letter and some barbecue

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