We may not have known each other terribly long, but I felt like it was a longer friendship than it was. I miss talking to you all the time, through texting and online and Skype. I always enjoyed our conversations. I liked trying to work on that musical with you and B. I wish that hadn’t stopped. That was fun.
What happened? After the Louisville trip, it was like you retreated as fast as you could. I don’t really know what happened in the fall-out between you and B after I left. All I know is that you seemed pressured to choose between groups of friends. You started pulling away after that weekend. And then you started school and I never heard from you after that. We haven’t talked in a year and I don’t know what happened. I hope everything’s okay and I’m sorry if I did something to upset you. It hurts that we’ve lost touch. It hurts more that you didn’t choose me.
Dear Person I Wish Could Forgive Me,
I don’t know who you are. I can’t place who you are. I can’t see your face. I wish I could, because then I could address this directly to you.
For whatever I did to hurt you, I’m sorry. I’m pretty sure that whatever I did, I did it unintentionally. I don’t like hurting people and I hate the feeling that I may have hurt someone accidentally and can’t remember. This isn’t an insult. This isn’t saying that you’re not worth remembering. This is saying that I’m human and make mistakes and I have a bad memory sometimes. I don’t know who is holding resentment against me for something I did, but that doesn’t make the transgression any less painful. Whatever I did.
I’m sorry for what I did and I’m sorry I can’t remember. I hope you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me.
Don’t think I’ve forgotten. I may not have seen you since fifth grade, but don’t think I’ve forgotten the two years of being your “friend.” I haven’t forgotten the torment, the expectations, the fact that you were only truly kind when absolutely no one else was around or it benefited you the most. I haven’t forgotten how you deliberately left me out of things. This may all sound petty, but to a kid with no friends to speak of, it hurt. I still remember that pain. I probably always will.
But, somehow, I should also thank you. If it wasn’t for the way you treated me, I may not have come to love writing in the deep way I do today. Your leaving me out meant I spent my days alone writing. The pain you caused me fueled pain I could use to understand my characters. I can still call on that pain.
I don’t know why you acted like that toward me. I can’t imagine what thrill you got out of tormenting me. So thanks for my writing, but I don’t understand. I’m not sorry you moved away. I’m not sorry I’ve never seen you since.
Don’t think I forget.
This may seem strange since you passed so long ago when I was so young. Fifteen years is a long time and seven-years-old was too young for me to understand. Ten-years-old was too young for you to go. That’s about all I understood–you were gone and you were too young to do so. I couldn’t really cry because you were the first person I knew who died so suddenly. And you were so close to my own age. I couldn’t wrap my head around all that.
I’m sorry I didn’t go to your funeral. I really wish I had, because that whole bit just feels like this giant open ending to me now. I can’t really explain it. I just know that I regret not really getting to say goodbye.
You were one of the nicest people I ever knew. You would have made a great mother one day. You were always taking care of Amy, Laura, and me when the family was all together. You tried to teach me to boogie board once in Nags Head. That was the difficult since I didn’t really know how to swim very well. So you tried to help teach me to swim. That didn’t work so well either, but I appreciated to effort. It’s so unfair that you never had the chance to grow up, that the world never got to fully experience you.
I’d always felt a little connected to you (more than the whole cousin thing, I mean) because we shared a middle name. That seemed special to me and I liked it. I still like it. My middle name is even more special to me now, because it still connects us. That might sound weird, but it’s true. Speaking of connections, did you know that on the day you died I got in a playground accident? My mouth hit another kid’s head. My gum started bleeding and I had to be rushed to the dentist. It was the only time I ever had to leave school because of an emergency like that. Weird, right?
I miss you. I love you.
I can’t believe how much we don’t talk anymore. We used to be attached at the hip. We were close as could be from the time we were in seventh grade. I wish we could be close like that again. I wish we could go back to before we grew apart. I wish I could know why we grew apart.
It’s like as soon as we hit senior year of college, we were traveling on two different halves of the same group of friends. I don’t know how that happened, since we were all one group. We all got along. It wasn’t like there was a fight or anything. I wish that weird divide had never happened. I miss our stupid adventures and laughs and conversations. I miss our time spent in marching band and just hanging out.
I wish you would join in with the group here more. I wish you were easier to get in touch with and a little less (probably only seemingly) antisocial. You only live about two seconds away, it shouldn’t be this hard for us to stay in touch. I wish we could go back to the way things were before. I miss talking to you all the time.
Why did we have to not only grow up but also somehow grow apart?
Please don’t judge my nerdiness.
This is going to sound unbelievably nerdy, but here it goes. I’ve very much admired you since I was about 13 years old and fell in love with your book and your own story. I don’t mean to sound like yet another obnoxious fan, but it’s true. Your story inspires me (and inspired me back when I first heard it at thirteen and was still trying to find my writing confidence) and Harry Potter moves me.
I have a confession–I never truly wanted to read your Harry Potter books. Sad, but true. I was annoyed into picking up the first one by my friends who just wouldn’t shut up about the series. I started reading the first book expecting to hate it. I fully planned on getting halfway through it and giving up, proving my friends wrong. I had never liked fantasy and I told myself I never would. It just wasn’t for me. Imaginary locations and unearthly magic and creatures that you’d never see in the “real world?” No, thanks. The only problem was…well…I couldn’t quite put Sorcerer’s Stone down. I breezed through the halfway mark and kept going. Next thing I knew, I was reading Chamber of Secrets. Within a month or so, I was finishing Goblet of Fire (at that time, only the first four books had come out). I was addicted. I was now joining my friends in book discussions and theorizing. I went to the midnight releases of the final three books. I saw all the movies within their first day (it would have been the midnight releases of all of those too, but pesky high school got in the way). I read Deathly Hallows in 24 hours. I’ve read the entire series, beginning to end, straight through, twice in one year. I get lost in the magic. I become emotionally invested and laugh out loud and cry.
I didn’t want to read the books because my friends wouldn’t shut up about them, but now I can’t shut up about them either. Go figure.
So thanks. Thanks for creating this amazing world and then sharing it with all of us. Thanks for introducing me to the fantasy genre (I’m hooked now, by the way, and I probably wouldn’t have ever tried it otherwise). Thanks for making me believe anything is possible, in the real world and the writing world. It’s amazing what all you’ve done.
Before I share today’s letter, I just want to explain that the fact that I address it to someone with a letter for her name doesn’t mean I want her identity to be unknown, like it’s been in letters past (and letters future, really, because this is the only person this would apply to). I literally call this person B. She calls me M. It’s a joke because we have the same first name and confuse our mutual friends…so we started being referred to by our last initials. Just wanted to throw that out there for your own amusement/information.
What can I say? Way back when we started talking on IMMB (why did the twelve-year-olds with a serious lack of grammar skills have to take it over), who would have thought we’d still be this close, what, three years down the road? You’re completely crazy, but I would have it no other way. You make me smile and your texts and Facebook comments frequently make my day.
I’m truly blessed to have you as a friend (and a brain twin). You sometimes understand me more than others (that whole “brain twin” thing again, you know). You’re someone I can completely geek out about Broadway-ness and lament the collective difficulties of the “real world” with. Those few months we spent trying to write and compose a musical along with Katie were months that I keep close to my heart and smile when I think back on them. Sure, that ended in epic fail, but it was a fun time nonetheless. Chaotic Skype chats, anyone? I also enjoyed our short trip to Louisville to see Spring Awakening. I still have the bag you made me hanging in a place of honor in my closet (where a small collection of bags and such hang out). Someday, you’ll actually get me to NYC to see Broadway and Times Square and all that first hand.
You’re awesome. You’re funny. You make me smile. You’re a fellow ERIN, for crying out loud! I absolutely love having you as a friend!
Here’s my latest fail: day SIX was supposed to be a letter to a stranger and TODAY was supposed to be a letter to the ex-boyfriend/love/crush. I read a line down yesterday when I was getting ready to write yesterday’s letter and, thus, skipping a day ahead in the prompts. So today I’m playing time machine and taking it back to what I was supposed to write about yesterday.
I’ve passed you on the street or in an aisle at Walmart or in the office cafeteria. I may have seen you at the coffee shop or the bookstore or the library. I may even have honked at you if you were dawdling at an intersection (sorry about that, by the way, but my tolerance isn’t always very high regarding my fellow drivers).
Regardless of who you are or where our paths crossed, I inevitably noticed you in some way. You may have been saying something I thought would make clever dialogue. Maybe your behaviors inspired me to create a new character. Perhaps you were just doing something really weird like wearing a pair of fairy wings and/or a tutu in a coffee shop that made me wonder why someone would actually go out in public on a day nowhere near Halloween wearing fairy wings and/or a tutu. My brain takes in your habits and your words and all those other bits you might think no passer-by would care to notice and stores it to break out in a moment’s notice for a character or a scene or a whole story. I don’t do this on purpose. Just don’t be surprised if we have an encounter for all of thirty seconds and down the road you recognize a bit of yourself in one of my novels.
You were my first boyfriend, as much as middle schoolers can have a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship. You danced with me once at a school dance because my friends asked you to and I have the feeling you felt sorry for me. That may even be why you asked me out in the first place–because you felt sorry for me. Whatever. Either way, I still consider you my first boyfriend.
Our relationship mostly consisted of leaving notes for each other in our mailboxes and hanging out with your friends in your backyard. Not very romantic, but I think I was so completely thrilled that someone could actually like me in “that way” that it didn’t even matter that much. I looked forward to seeing you or to reading your notes. But my heart was never fully into it, I think, nor do I think yours was either. This was just a relationship between two kids in middle school. While it felt real at the time (mostly because I had nothing to which to compare it), in retrospect, it wasn’t much. I think that’s why when you broke up with me after only a couple months, I wasn’t terribly upset. I was sad, of course, but I later learned it wasn’t truly a broken heart. Broken hearts hurt for longer than I hurt for you.
I’m glad we became friends in high school. I still cherish the memories of the lunches we spent in the same group. We were always more friends material than dating material, and I think you probably knew that too.
Regardless, thanks for being my first boyfriend. I’m sure you’re better at it now.
People have frequently told me that I have a large imagination, but the truth is most of that time it’s been dreaming, in one way or another. For that I have to thank you, because you are the one thing that has always been completely present. You carried me through the years of friendless misery by giving me imaginary friends. You inspired me to work harder. You keep me awake at night, filling my head with story ideas. It’s because of you that I know what I’m meant to do and am excited to do it. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve given me. You’ve given me hope when I felt I had none. You keep me going when I start to get discouraged. You amuse me when I’m bored. You give me things to look forward to and goals to achieve. Don’t ever leave me.