09/01/2005: "Letter's from Myself...Part I"
Today was the first day of classes on my campus and I found out one of our students died in a car crash that happened on Brotherhood Bridge last night at around 6:20pm. I go over that bridge every night about that time on my way home, I must have missed it by 5 or 10 minutes. A van swerved into her lane and hit her head on. My first (self-centered) thought was that it could have just as easily been me…if I’d stayed at work to reply to one more email, or if I’d gone to the restroom before I headed home. We have a very small campus too, and this was a long-time student who worked in the bookstore and everyone knew and liked her a lot; all day it was kind of surreal.
Then I got home tonight and found a package from one of my closest friends in high school. It was every letter I had written her spanning from 1988-1994 or so. It’s weird to relive 6 years of your life in the space of an hour and a half. I had so many strange flashes, sometimes happy or nostalgic but often very depressed.
Here’s a sample of nostalgic:
“Happy Valentines Day,
…I was thinking a lot the other day about our summer in the country. That was such an incredible time: reciting “Hockey Night”, walking through fields of flowers and down lonely country roads, lying naked in the sun, playing wonderful music, painting wonderful paintings, our salads with raisins and you cutting my hair….I still have the stole you made me, it’s hanging on my bedroom wall. What peace I felt back then, it seems so long ago when my only dreams were to do everything, yet I never seem to finish knitting that damn sweater or planning our trip to Canada…”
Here’s a sample of depressed:
This is the hour of lead
Remembered, if outlived
As freezing persons recollect the snow
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go
“I can’t seem to shake those words from my mind where they’ve been etched. Every once in awhile someone re-inks the plate- maybe in a different color because its meaning changes with my mood.
…I stand for nothing, by nothing, gutless and empty.
Who will I be tomorrow?
I decide by the colors in my closet
and the paint beneath my mirror.“
(Hey, I can write depressing poetry too)
Tomorrow I may add some excerpts from "all the boys I've loved before". What a disaster. It's no wonder I'm celibate these days. Still, reading these letters on the same day as the death of a young woman who thought she had her entire life in front of her...it makes me re-evaluate some of the decisions I've made...that I continue to make.