Yesterday, I ended up going through my old journals because my friend Raine and I were having a conversation about where we are thus far in our lives and how we’ve been friends for such a long time. I found some old letters that I’d “forgotten about” in the sense that my mind sort of tucked their contents into some hard to find, disorganized drawer. It felt like I was reading them again for the first time.
As the Doctor always says, “Time is in flux.”
I find that we learn something from most people we meet, if we let them talk for long enough. This year, I’ve met a lot of incredible people and I’m glad that while we lose people on the way to wherever, we also continue to find people who help make things alright. Because there is no way to say these things directly to all these lost astronauts jettisoned from the space craft of my life, here is an open letter:
I am now the same age you were when you knew me, and I understand things better now. Time is tricky and I wish that I had met you when I was older; maybe then we could have been friends or at least not ended up hating each other the way I know we hate each other–that is, not for anything about the other person per se but for things we did or failed to do. The human brain remembers two things: beginnings and endings and so often forgets about the things in between.
For everything I was (am) able to say about your shortcomings, I was not able to say enough about the things I liked about you. That is, not to say I forgive you or that I have forgotten the bad things but that I regret not acknowledging the good things along with them. As stubborn and prideful and unwilling to listen as you were, you were also a very sincere and compassionate person. I refuse to forget that. You are intelligent and I know that you tried as much as you could to use that in a constructive, helpful manner. You always put yourself out on a limb to help and I am grateful for having you believe in me for that brief window in time. I’m sorry for the pain I put you through and I’m sorry for letting you down. Not to say that you didn’t let me down as well, no–not to take any of that back. For any learning to be effective, we must know what mistakes we made. We must know that we failed the test.
Up until yesterday, I’d forgotten that it was you who told me about David Foster Wallace. For some reason, I always thought I’d heard about him from my friend Ron (granted, Ron used to talk about him a lot), but re-reading my journal yesterday turns out it was you that told me about The Infinite Jest.
We both failed to see the water, I think: in times when we should have acted like decent human beings, we didn’t and that is the true reason for the grief and the “hatred”. One of the things that DFW was really adamant about was sincerity and that if someone is sincere, you will be able to feel it. If nothing else, know that I’m not angry and I don’t hate you and I hope you don’t hate me, either.
Sometimes I look at my life now and wonder: what would you have to say about these stories I am writing/have written? I have come a long way from 2009, but I still make mistakes. Would you be proud of me? Would we have kept in touch? Also, how are you? What is life like, nowadays? We will probably never talk again (what would there be to say, in real life?) but wherever you are, I hope you’re doing well.