Saturday, November 03, 2007

Letters never sent

I was thinking about an email I never responded to. It's been a while, and I don't know why it just stuck in my brain now. At the time, I was just floored by the contact because it had been so long -- more than 2 years -- since the last communication and I was finally getting to this 'good' place in my life where pieces were starting to fall back into place and make sense again, and then this email. A couple days later, another email came from someone else who hadn't been a particularly bright spot in my life and I thought, "Good grief, just pile on."

I made a polite but reserved and rather abrupt response to both emails and didn't respond to any further emails. There was, after all, so much I could say, so much I *wanted* to say, so much I wanted to *know* and maybe even some questions I wanted to ask. But in the end, I realized, it didn't matter. The past is the past, and how you treat people at the moment you walk out of their lives, well, that resonates for a long time. In fact, I think about it, because I was similarly harsh to someone else about 18 months ago and I still feel badly about it.

I've been thinking about those unanswered emails, contemplating responding, but what's the point? In many ways, re-initiating contact, even for the sake of the apology, is selfish. The people who wrote to me had no idea where I was in my life, what I was feeling, or even what I had 'suffered' as a consequence of the minefields they left behind. Maybe they felt better by coming back into my life, I don't know, but I certainly didn't. Suddenly, here they were, reigniting memories I had firmly tucked away -- not forgotten, certainly, but I had learned to live with them. If I respond, or even if I send the apology that I so desperately want to send, it's not the thing to do. Sometimes, not hitting 'send' is the hardest thing to do.

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