This blog began with a letter.
Exactly four years ago. That’s a story you’ve never been told.
It was the forty-fifth birthday of a man who stopped growing older. It was the morning after the first kiss with a boy who was shipping out to a third world country in six hours. It was the first time I learned what it felt like to lose something you only just learned to have.
It was a letter that didn’t see the light of day for two years. But in it, you could map my beginnings and endings. My nerves and regrets. The pain I felt thinking back ten days earlier to a boy in a leather recliner, away from us all because he had given me his heart and I had not yet said, “Here’s mine.” I had not yet said, “Here’s mind to trample for the next 457 days.”
It was a letter about all the things we do to ourselves.
The growing up and away. The people we reject and the places we forget to miss. It was emotional. It was nostalgic. It was written with the intention of never being read but needing desperately to be mailed.
A present never gifted because it still sits in the receiver’s future. It still deserves a place among the texts and tweets she’d rather read.
It ended up on this blog just a few weeks before I got serious about turning my life into a lasting love letter to the people who brighten me. Before I began writing truths that felt like poetry. Before I began growing people like plants with my words.
That is all this is: a place where I can magnify the good souls in this world who might otherwise never get a love letter.
And if there is one secret we must never keep, it is this: you deserve a novel of thank yous, a list of reasons why your smile will be missed tomorrow if it doesn’t grace us with its presence. You deserve the kind of love letter that gives people arthritis and sends us to Expedia for one-way tickets home.
The letters keep going. The letter to my parents, read by thousands, that never feels like enough of a thank you to them. The letters to strangers & friends who hold my heart in IP addresses and Gmail folders for when I need a reminder.
They have become my words, the calibration scale upon which I measure my actions. They are the actions behind those words and the only reason I have had enough strength to be honest when it hurts.
It is them. The broken man and the crying girl and the magic kiss against a long-ago sold car. The burn of the headlights on an intimate moment. The pounding in my chest when I remember that there will be no cake today. No candles.
Just letters. And words. And the images we rush to write down.