(I received a letter from a recent high school graduate by mistake. Being the person that I am, I decided to open it. The letter contained photographs of her graduation and a wonderful letter to her cousin. Instead of trashing it, I sent it back to her with a note. Michelle says if I needed any proof of my mental instability, this is it. I beg to differ with her but who knows.)
October 22, 2005
I received your letter by accident a couple of days ago. I apologize for not returning it sooner and I hope you can ignore the federal offense I’ve committed. I’m sorry for opening your letter, I should know better, however my curiosity was too great to ignore. Though it might upset you, I wanted to let you know how privileged I feel to have experienced, for a brief moment, your life. It’s strange what words composed on a page can convey. How, if done properly, words blossom into life, into exciting new breaths like a swarm of butterflies in your throat. I’m sorry to hear about your phone being disconnected. I too know the tyranny of poverty. My childhood always revolved around utilities being cut off. The heat turned off during an angry winter, the phone disconnected, unable to contact friends or relatives and the light or lack of always left us resting in the dark. It always surprises me how strangers can share similar experiences with one another.
Congratulations on graduating high school. I’m sure the future seems bright like a row of glittering Christmas lights. Opportunities are gearing up for you like a freshly-oiled machine. For your sake, I hope this is true. You’re probably wondering why I wrote this. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just send back your letter and photographs? So, why am I writing this? Out of boredom? Out of loneliness? To put it simply, I had a desire to extend myself and congratulate a complete stranger on her achievements. Congratulations Ms. ---- on your generous scholarship to the University of -----. Congratulations on a bright future. I can only hope you will accept my apologies for not getting this back to you sooner. To make up for this I’ve included a book of stamps so that you can be in contact with your cousin more often. Write him. Keep your relationships strong, keep your heart in the right place and all will follow.