Hands up if you’ve ever written the letter.
You know the letter I’m talking about—the letter that you write after the break-up. It’s the 15 page masterpiece that gives vent to everything you held back over the entire course of your relationship. It’s the letter that should properly chastise the bastard, while simultaneously making him realize that error of his ways. It’s the letter you write when you think for some reason you can argue the other person back into the relationship… back into loving you. It’s the letter you should always write, and the letter you should never send… but always do anyway.
I’ve never met a single person who has ever had any luck with the letter. No relationships reunited as a result of the neatly typed diatribe’s arrival. I’ve never heard of a situation where the guy has called and apologized and said “wow, I’m so glad you told me about the thing that I did to piss you off 8 years ago—that has made such a difference. I was a dick!” I’ve never heard of a guy writing the letter.
Have I ever written the letter? Yes. Surprisingly, not to The Ex. I’m not sure if that was because I was wrapped up in the delusion that we’d get back together without my expert analysis, or if I was simply unable to put my feelings into words. No, my letter was for a guy who I was barely dating. I’ve mentioned him. He was the guy who pursued me, promised that he wanted it to be his mission to make me trust men, and then dropped off the face of the planet. Oh yeah, he got a letter. I gently suggested he grow up, and then went on for at least eight pages (double sided and hand-written) about all the ways that life had failed me—and his role in this failure, in particular. I later found out he received the letter, realized what it was and only got to about page 3 before giving up. Plus, he was preoccupied because it arrived the day after his favorite aunt died. Yeah. Awkward.
Despite my lack of success with the letter, I’ve actually been fairly encouraging of those wanting to write one. I think on occasion that writing can help you get your feelings together and help you get rid of them (or at least process them). I’m not terribly fond of actually sending the letter, but I understand if you do.
Why did I bring this up?
The girl downstairs is reading her version of the letter over the phone (presumably to a friend as a test run). I know this because I walked by her apartment on the way to the elevator. As I passed by I heard her mid-recitation: “and all the times I drove you to the airport, all the times I maintained your friendships because you couldn’t be bothered, all the times I worked my life around your schedule, all the times my career took a backseat to yours…” Ten minutes later when I went down to toss my garbage, she was on “you were never supportive, I felt like I was in the relationship alone…” I feel like she’s really getting to the heart of the matter now because I can hear her from my apartment, and she’s reading louder. Whoever the recipient is, he is about to get a seemingly well-deserved and extensively formulated missive to go screw himself.
I raise my ice cream in salute to you 401.