The letter request:
I have a letter that I have been meaning to write a friend, a kindred spirit that I do not speak with often, but our connection is so strong that whenever we communicate it’s like it was just yesterday. Gillian and I bonded over our love for poetry, in particular ee cummings. We haven’t seen each other in person since the summer of 2003. She is an accomplished artist, graphic designer, poet, walking piece of art. I have a place in my heart for her that no one could fill. This letter that I have envisioned has been built up in my head to the point where I can’t even begin to start it.
There once was a Walking Piece of Art called Girl and a Kindred Spirit called Boy. Girl and Boy met long ago. So long ago that all other days surrounding the days they spent together are now sepia-colored and blurry.
This is okay though, it happens with time. Words that were once deafening like ‘love’ and ‘hate’ get muffled by a roaring train, the electric shock of a boy’s knee touching a girl’s passes into a memory of an electric shock as if it were only ever a dream, a dream from weeks ago.
Girl and Boy lived in a country wide and long. They chose different cities to call home, different rooms to live in, different windows to look out, different bars to drink in, different trees to sit by. They stayed friends but their sport was orienteering and they followed their hearts through people and art and music. They moved fast, jumped high, danced. With each sharp movement they let their bond reconstitute, let it stretch and pull across the vast continent.
It got tangled of course, by the branches of trees, the wheels of skateboards and bikes, dictionaries, little fingers, summer skirts, key-rings, bedclothes. It wore thin in places, as thin as the whisker of a cat, but every time one of them thought to check, it was still there. It was always there.
One day, Boy was happy. Life was good. He had people, he had art, he had music. He checked and he was still connected to Girl. He could not see her, could not hear her; he knew she was still there. He imagined their bond was a string tied around his wrist. He sat by a window, sipped a cup of tea. He imagined that every time he picked up the teacup and put it to his lips, the string around his wrist would go taut and Girl would be drawn that little bit closer to him.
But of course, as soon as he put the cup down, the string would loosen and she would be released. He made endless cups of tea.
He thought back to a day long ago. He pictured the picnic table he’d been sitting on, pictured Girl to his right, the bench she’d been sitting at. His memory of this day was the kind of bright that stings your eyes. Sharp, stinging, color. ‘Read me one of your favorites,’ Girl had gestured to the book in his hand.
Thinking back to this day, going over it again and again, Boy wondered what would happen if he were to wind this string round and round his arm until they were pulled together.
Boy sat by his window on his side of the room, on his side of the town, on his side of the country and suddenly he knew what he would say to Girl if she were here by his side. To Girl whose favorites were his favorites and who loved and lived the same way that he did.
He would say, ‘Girl, I have a place in my heart for you that no one could fill.’