Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)
By Tammie Smith
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I repeat, “Today, I will write this letter. It is only a letter. I can write this letter.” I have said the same thing many times in the past six months.
With a deep breath, I pick up my purple pen and write “Dear George”
“Is ‘Dear George’ the proper way to start this letter or should I write ‘Dear dad’?” I ask aloud to no one in particular. “No, I will not use ‘Dear Dad’ because I never called him dad. In fact, I do not ever remember saying dad in relation to him. He was my biological father. My dad is the man who raised me.
Laughter erupts through the house as my five-year-old daughter and my two-year-old son bounds through the door.
The letter is forgotten as I listen to my babies describe their adventures at the park.
The next day I pass the desk and see the beginnings of my letter on the table. I repeat again, “Today, I will write this letter. It is only a letter. I can write this letter.”
I pick up my pen.
My mind is suddenly full of questions.”Where do I begin? How do I write a letter to the man who was never there? What do I say?"
What if I write and tell him it was insensitive to call me the day after I buried my mother and tell me how bad he felt for the way he had treated her.
With disgust, I throw the paper and the purple pen into the trash. Pacing around the room, I stop in front of the mirror. I stare at the face in front of me. I see long straight sandy blonde hair; I remember him having the same color but his was curly.
I ask the small girl in the mirror who was hurt by her father staring back into my adult face "why did my friend want me to write this letter?"
I reply, “She thought it would heal my heart? All it is doing is making me angrier with him. I am not finding peace and love. I am finding hatred for the man who gave me life.
I continue walking around the house. I stop and look in on my sleeping babies. I cannot imagine not seeing or hearing their laughter every day. Therefore, I wonder how he has not tried to contact me for ten years. I stand there for a long time thinking of him. I remember riding in a dune buggy with him and his wife. I laugh as I remember riding the hot pink motor scooter around the circle. I remember seeing his face smiling. I remember seeing the pain on his face when I hesitated to hug him. I remember him taking me shopping and buying me anything I wanted. I know I took advantage of this, but I think he just wanted to make me happy. I remember swinging on the swing set he bought me. I loved my swing set.
With tears streaming down my face, I walk back to my desk.
I pull my purple pen back out of the trash, and find a clean piece of paper.
I write, “George, I am sorry I did not write or call in the last ten years. I am sorry never reached out to you. I am sorry I did not make the effort. Love your daughter”
I fold up the letter and put it in my bible. I did not write it for him. It was for me. I will write one for him one day. My friend was correct; I felt the hole in my heart start to heal.
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