I haven't quite recovered from seeing you at the airport yesterday. I think it has been thirty years since I knew that you and Mary had moved to the Continent somewhere, Sicily? Greece? Someplace warm and sunny I remember. The letters stopped a decade before that, didn't they? I kept yours bound carefully by date with a rubber band and stuffed in two shoeboxes. I don't know where they are now, probably in the very back of the mountain of belongings stacked in my second-ex-husband's garage, collecting mold. That's not what I intended to do with them. I truly thought we would both be great writers by now, and those letters would be published by one of the big houses, sitting on the shelf beside the letters of Eudora Welty, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer. Did you keep mine? No, don't tell me. I don't want to know. If I had truly believed I would be famous one day I would have kept carbon copies as the great writers did. It just didn't occur to me.
But I poured more of myself into those letters than into any other person or endeavor of my life, and I wish I could see them again. Since that is an unlikely scenario, I want to ask if you and I could take up our correspondence again, restart the conversation we dropped so many years ago. Letters are a forgotten part of our human heritage, what made us human and defined ourselves to ourselves, and to a select group of others, expressing and critiquing each others deepest thoughts and doubts. I have been lonely without them.
So think on it, dear friend. And Mary of course is welcome to chime in. Who would have imagined you two would stay together so long? I was sorry to miss her. You said she was in the bathroom and I had to run to my gate, but I hope you told her about our brief encounter. I want her to feel included, not like the old days when I believe I wanted to keep her separated from our precious philosophical discussions and arguments. It wasn't very nice of me, and I regret it. Tell her that.
Now that I have returned from my ten years in Mexico and you from Europe, and as we enter a new phase of life in our (argh!) seventies, I hope we can dig a new Panama Canal between our two oceans and send our tiny ships back and forth with missals from the other side.
If you say yes, I will celebrate by buying myself a quality fountain pen and some India ink. Remember that I was the only one who could read your handwriting? I hope you have mercy on me now, for my eyes are terrible.
All my love,