letter from a stranger

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letterWe used to know each other so well. We were both writers. That counted for a lot at the time. We knew the daily frustrations of working for a workaholic boss. We lived through the politics together. We spoke dreamily of writing books on the side.

But it was more than that. We knew each other’s secrets. We knew each other’s pasts. Each other’s dreams. We talked and talked, even after our wine glasses sat stained red on his coffee table.

It didn’t matter that we had different dreams. Well, it did. But we acted like it didn’t.

In the end those differences ate away at the thread that tangled us together. That thread left a rusted stain on my heart.

It’s been three years since then. For me, that three years could have been a life time. In those years, we each had our life-changing event that set the course of our futures zigzagging in different directions.

Yet, something made him write me today, out of all of the 1095-some days that have passed since. I wonder what. He said my name caught his eye on a mutual friend’s Facebook page. But it couldn’t have been the first time. I read his words with nostalgia tinged with regret.

It felt like an opportunity. An opportunity to clear the air of the pain that has hung between us since then, like an invisible clothes line tracing out the miles that separate us. Though part of me wonders if it’s only time and God that will do that.

Even in that conversation, however, it dawns on me: I don’t know him anymore. He is a dad instead of a bachelor simultaneously watching basketball on his TV and tracking baseball on his laptop. He is with a woman I have never met. He lives in a town I have never seen him in near his family I was never introduced to. He does a different job when I can’t imagine him doing anything other than writing.

He doesn’t know me anymore. I don’t even recognize myself, so how could he?

How far our lives have wandered in only three years. Now, it is like having a conversation with a stranger.

Only, both of us know, memories prove we are not.

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