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The Letter
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A couple of weeks after they broke up he came to her house in the early hours of the morning. He walked up the three flights of stairs but stopped at the doorway to hand her a thick packet of papers, a handwritten letter that he wanted her to read. She already had another man in her bed, a very soft, sweet man who adored her and who was great fun.

She didn’t want to read the letter. She was still furious. She was afraid that it would be an apology, that she would forgive him and go back to him and the inside of her heart was still aching. He could never attach, never really be realiable and he had had many chances. He cancelled a date on Valentine’s Day for some bullshit reason and when she slept with him in his bed the next night her toes curled around some other woman’s red, nylon bikini underpants. What hurt worse? The betrayal? The bullshit? The Hallmark Card special that had gone to some other person who maybe needed shoring up?

Friendship was the most important thing to him. This other woman was a friend, a friend who was obese and alone and not very attractive but who was also famous. So…friendship, yes. But ambition, also yes.

Years later. she couldn’t remember what she did with that letter. Did she destroy it? Burn it? Tear it up? Or just lose it. However it had gone, it had vanished forever and for a long, long time she didn’t regret it. Not even when he and his fiancee, a lovely slender girl who obviously knew nothing about what they had once been for one another, showed up at the backstage of a theater she was performing at a year or two later. She was pregnant then, and married.

Later still, she did regret it. They had loved one another truly in that awkward, frightened, ecstatic way of the people they had once been. She had loved his body, his haunches, the smoothness of his skin. She loved his pet bunny, his cat, the way that plants and animals seemed to flourish under his care, that his friends were varied and delightful, that although she knew he found her beautiful he never said those things, as if that wasn’t why he was attracted to her, not in the least. Their birthdays were a week apart, Pisces both. and they shared, they thought, so many of these supposed piscean qualities. They read their horoscope to each other over breakfast daily at the neighborhood cafe and seriously pondered their import. He had gotten her a part-time job at the used clothing store downstairs run by a huge, radicalized black lesbian who adored him. He had had a few breaks in his acting career then as had she and they felt confident about the future, convinced, like a junior politician facing the Beltway, that they would change Hollywood and not the other way around.

Yet, somehow they had lost one another and she had destroyed the only pathway back.

She married the man who had been in her bed that morning and he married someone else. But she regretted not reading that letter that he had obviously poured his heart into. Not only because he had deserved at least an acknowledgment of his effort, his own regret, after all they had been to one another. She owed him at least that. And not because she might have forgiven him, she did that later anyways, but because she had lost the only, last trace of him, a man who she had truly loved and she had lost him out of pride and impulse and a fear of being hurt or disappointed and now she could never have any part of him ever again.

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