I sit at my desk, pencil in hand, hand on top of the pure white printer paper. I think about how I will tint the page with my lead. It saddens me as I think of how my innocence was blemished by negligence. In my ignorance, I did not know how to protect myself nor did I know I needed protection. In my child’s eyes, everything was perfect, like the spring walks in grandmother’s meadows where the neighbors stop to greet each other and I was given small sweet treats. Like summer after summer the small creek, a mile from grandmother’s, always stayed the same, granting me a cool respite from the summer heat. I knew I could rest without a care in the world… at least I thought I knew I could.
I touch the surface hesitantly with the tip of the pencil. There, it’s done. It is easily marked.
Stricken with energy and resolve my hand grip the pencil, my wrist actively moving in beat with my thoughts, words after words I scribble across the page. My thoughts paint on a sheet for you. Oh, how an empty canvas can leave me with nothing to say in one instant then spring from the innermost part of my memories and creations’ recollections I did not know live in me. At this moment, at this very moment, I think not of how I am marking the page I write to you with unknown words and smudges, but of how it will be when it is done. Was I a white canvas inspiring memories and creations until I am so painted there is nothing left?
I take a second to erase a clearly misplaced word. I see some erased words left indention in the page and smudges that can’t be erased while others cleared out as if I never put them there.
My heart beats a little faster as I recall faces I wish to forget. Faces that instilled fear in me. They are hiding near. I can hear their laughter clear as I can hear my own breath rushing through my lungs and out my nostrils. I grit my guts to refocus on what is at hand.
My body eases a bit remembering who I am composing to and bring to memory the faces I wish to see again. I can almost smell that early spring and feel the gentle breeze caressing gentle smiles and carrying fragrances of pies across the park I loved as a child. I write to you in earnest to express to you my most sincere emotions. An email will not show the highs of my recollection and the intensity with which I am holding onto them nor the low calm with which I collect them back into memory. A phone call will simply not work as I merely want to be heard all the way through without judgment as I find the right words to tell you. I know you are patient, but I am not, so a phone call simply will not do.
I am erect as I see images I grasp onto in hopes I can see it a little clearer. Are they good or are they bad? Why have I forgotten them? Just as I have already forgotten which words I wrote down before I erased them from existence… were they the right words in the first place? Or were they simply wrong?
I wish, like these words I can so easily erase from existence, that I may erase every bit of unpleasant encounters I had. I want to be wiped clean and stay as the child I was. I do not want to be marked with horrific departures, betrayals from those I love most, forced to do things I was too young to even know I shouldn’t be doing. The heaviness of my heart begs to be put out of misery, it drips bloody from the stabs. I live in torture, so close to death, but death still lives outside of my reach. I crawl with fervor to it every time I see it, but it eludes me with the most sinister laugh.
I am alone. Not even death will take me.
I am nearing the end of my letter and I must tell you, I wanted to write this letter filled with love to you. I wanted you to like me. And you must know, I’ve written, at the very least, twenty-eight drafts and am considering writing another one… but this one you will be receiving is my first draft. Again and again, I crumpled up this page and threw it in the trash. Again and again, I picked it up, unfolded it gingerly and gently wrote out my true feelings. I cannot write to you with feelings of love when I am in despair yearning for a death I know will not come. I cannot write to you and tell you of love when I never had it long enough to understand its unexplainable joy to express it to you genuinely. Having picked this first draft of a love letter to you over twenty times, I’ve come to realize that every crease I made was a crease of frustration and despair at not being O.K. with who I am. With this letter, crumbled and falling apart as it is, lead-stained as it is in all the wrong places, I am showing you, TELLING you, I’ve tried and tried, but this is me. This is all I have to give and to show. I wish I had more, but it just isn’t me to have more. I can wish, but it’ll never be true.
Laying it all out, seeing my one page of white paper so stained with worry and imperfection, creased with trauma and turmoil, the most disgrace of all papers in my room… ahh, the most used, but at last, the most real. I look at it and I cannot help but think, “it’s a beautiful mess.” I cry and stain this paper even more because I think I love this beautiful mess of a paper with such character it calls to my lonely heart.
At long last, I can end this letter and tell you in truth that though it is not a true love letter, it is a letter of love and sent with all the love I have, know, and understand.