Only those willing to go too far will know how far they can go.


sat in a shoebox on
the top shelf of my bedroom closet
for over 6 years.

Each letter, preserved in a
4 1/8 IN. X 9 ½ IN. envelope,
no address, no stamp, no postage
mark–just my name in blue felt tip pen, ALL CAPS.
Each letter arrived on a week-
end, placed in my mailbox
at a late hour (the date penned on the letter
pointed to the previous day), a cumulative
total of twelve.

For over 6 years I rifled
through those letters,
searching for a sentence
acknowledging his responsibility,
an understanding of my feelings–but
never finding one.  A typical excerpt:
I’m sorry, but it wasn’t my
fault.  I wasn’t
driving too fast.  
(all this in spite of the police accident
report, stating he
was driving at a high rate of speed–
in a 35 mph zone).

I’d sit on the
floor in my bedroom, in front of the closet,
the shoebox out, the
bedroom door shut.
I’d pick up the letter lying on top,
open it and read and remember how
his strategic words successfully manipulated me
into feeling sorry
for his suffering–all his melodrama in
spite of his “new” love
(how skillfully he moved on),
The only time I feel truly
happy and alive is when I’m with her
(…and how easily I was replaced…).
During my junior and senior years, every time
I went to my locker he would be there with her
(homeroom in alphabetical order, his
locker always next to mine)
(how easily I was replaced).

I’m not exactly sure why I kept those letters
as long as I did—
maybe as a reminder of
a time I desperately wanted to forget,
but never could (maybe I never wanted to forget,
maybe that was the point)–but
how could I not forget?  every time I spoke, my tongue lay
paralyzed in my mouth, every time
I went to wiggle my fingers, they clenched
into a fist, every time I walked, my left foot dragged,
my left hip would hike-up.
And when I’d reread those letters, the pit in my
stomach, the ache in my heart and the frustration in
my brain returned.

I forget the month, day and time, but I’ll never forget
the moment–deciding I’d never be able to
move on with my life if
I kept those letters preserved neatly in a shoebox
kept reading those misguided words.

I ripped HIS LETTERS to
pieces (how easily
they can be torn apart).


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