It’s been a while since my last letter. I know I am probably the last person you want to hear from right now but, I guess I just wanted to apologize. I’ve never been great at those. Apologies, that is. I’ve always prided myself in my way with words, but somehow the thought of talking to you face to face again makes my mouth go dry and my breathing hitch. I guess that’s why I’m writing this letter. Generally people would do this over a voicemail, or perhaps a text message these days…but you always liked my letters.
Gen, all I can really think to say is I’m sorry. That’s as good of an apology as any I suppose, but if anyone deserves a better apology it’s you, my Genevieve. Words simply cannot fill the grave that I have dug for what we once were. I could try to come up with some silly excuse for why I left; why I never said goodbye, but if I know anything about you I know you’re not a fan of excuses. So, sorry will have to do. I can’t beg for your forgiveness, and I certainly don’t expect a reply, but I think that quiet storm you had stirred up inside of me would never have settled if I hadn’t made one last pitiful attempt to mend what I lost when I left you. So take this as you will. All I can do is wish you well and hope this isn’t the end of our story.
Sincerely yours, Alex.
I must admit I was surprised you wrote me back. I cannot describe to you the joy I felt when I saw your name on the return address when I pulled that sea foam green envelope from my mailbox. Now I must admit that joy dimmed only slightly when I read the bitter, salty contents of that long anticipated letter. I understand your anger; I should have expected it. I guess I tend to grow a little too confident when it comes to thinking I can fix things. As humble as I seemed in my previous letter I think there must have been something in me that had truly begun to hope for redemption. I’ve always had a thing for those cheesy, dramatic re-kindlings in the books and movies. But of course you already knew that. So of course you’ll understand my selfish shock when I read your stand-offish words. You were always so fiercely gentle. I took that for granted. I took you for granted.
Now to address what you requested in the latter half of your letter…an explanation. Well that’s another thing I should have expected I suppose. I’ve asked myself the same question many, many times. Lying awake at 3:00 am with a sober mind and a love-drunk heart, it was the the only question swirling in my mind: why did you leave? For as many times as I asked it you’d think I’d have an answer by now, right? At least some pathetic excuse like: “I never meant to hurt you, but I had a family emergency and couldn’t bare to take you away from that teaching job you love so much.” But that would be a lie. If you want the truth…I don’t have an explanation. I would prefer not to bicker about this over pen and paper. I left. It was the most foolish thing I’ve ever done. I would explain it if I could, but I can’t. I once again wish you well and hope this letter finds you in good health...and good spirits.
Sincerely yours, Alex
As I write this letter I’m sitting on the floor of my little kitchen in my cramped new apartment you probably would have tolerated for my sake, just as you did our old one. I’ll confess I do not yet know how to respond to your last letter. So I suppose I’ll figure it out as I go. I wish I had your strength, Genevieve. Your fiery spirit and your never-ending wit. I seem to lack the ability to simply keep my word. For instance, I told myself I would not try to win you back; I promised myself I would leave the past in the past…but I miss you. I miss the sound of your laugh and the way your hair falls on your shoulders as it dries. I miss your raspy voice in the mornings when you asked what I wanted in my coffee. I miss doing everything and nothing with you. So, of course I broke my my word when I swore to never try to drag you back into my mess of a life. Being without you has been more painful than any of my worst fears ever could be. You demanded an answer. I guess that’s my answer. I was afraid. Not of heartbreak, but of quite the opposite. I was afraid of falling too deeply in love that neither of us could get out. I was afraid you would get stuck in a cramped little apartment with me and never be able to climb back out of the steep trap we set for ourselves. But it turns out I had already fallen in and dragged you down with me. So if an explanation was what you wanted, that’s it. I am a weak man who let fear guide him. At the very least you deserved a goodbye. So if that’s what this is, then goodbye Genevieve. Thank you for everything.
Sincerely yours, Alex.
It’s true what you said about me being stronger than you, and braver, but you must have forgotten that I’m also smarter. I can spot a trap when I see one. Did it ever occur to you that I willingly walked into the trap we set? I honestly never cared how cramped your apartment was. I wanted a cramped little life with you. I wanted any life with you. I wanted you. In fact, I wanted you so much that I didn’t care about any of your many, many flaws. I did care, however that you couldn’t be bothered to say goodbye. I’ll never forget the aching in my chest that never quite went away when I heard the phone go to voicemail over and over again until I finally accepted the fact that you weren’t going to return my calls. You were gone.
Now as smart as I am, I too am a sucker for a good, dramatic re-kindling of an old flame. After all, I truly just wanted a goodbye, and now that I got that…what do you say to coffee at Peter’s this Tuesday? 2:00 pm sharp. Don’t be late. :)
Not yours yet, Gen
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