The Stamp: Or The Digital Soundtrack of Love Snuffed Out By A Letter and Life.

To The Man I Nearly Married,
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Hey.

I know this letter is out of the blue and maybe I shouldn’t write it. In fact, I know I shouldn’t write it, but I’ve had this aching in my chest for a month and when your soul hemorrhages for so long, words are the only panacea one can turn to.

Your wife looks lovely. The older she becomes, the more regal she glows. I remember pictures of you two dating, the rush of young love – unfamiliar, expolorative love- and the huge smile you both shared when you sent me links of your wedding.

And I smiled for you…happy that you were happy.

I’m doing wonderfully. My husband and I are fine. He helped me through my rough times and taught me to love again, trust and laugh. He opened my eyes to passion and the giggling there after. I learned the importance that a solid match of footsie and TF2 go hand in hand.

But…

You emailed me recently. It was gentle, vague and informative. You’re coming to my neck of the woods soon and you’d like to see me. Not the both of you; just you. Not us; me. Perhaps you meant your wife and my husband, but I am not one to assume anything. Perhaps that’s ignorant on my part.

I’m torn. How are you?

We met over a decade ago. I was a fresh, young, college student and you, 7+ years my senior, were already trekking out into the world. You were going to take the globe by storm; a strong man…tall in stature, fiercely artistic,  eyes sparkling and with easy, booming laughter. We both still had a bit of 90s’ kid in us; we blogged. We raged poetically on AIM. We fell in love with the innocent words we poured out digitally; laughing,  reaching and snickering; waiting for the next post, the next IM, the next ping on mIRC.

But I was a broken woman, still suffering from silent scars that were too embarrassing to tell you, or anyone. I still can’t now and it’s been nearly 20 years. No one believed me when I tried to get the justice I was entitled to. Instead of those rallying to my aid, my battle torn hands were the only allies I had. Instead of hearing the clear bell of truth, my voice was smothered and chided. No one believed me and, after enduring so many painful connections, I ran from a home that had little comfort and a life that only had dark corners. I am sorry I ran, but I had to.

California was the destination of my healing pilgrimage, of unadulterated self love and forgiveness. I had to come to grips that being Black was not a crime and being a woman was not a curse, despite what mainstream society shoved down our collective gullets. I had to allow myself the right to be loved as a human being; not a fetish, not an experiment, but as a vulnerable homo-sapien.

But you still called. And you still wrote; but not emails this time…letters.

Two pages letters. Then three page letters. Your penmanship was beautiful and the cologne that softly lingered on the pages evoked thoughts of your skin against my mine.
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You wanted to see me. The real me.  Face to face. Again for the first time.
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I wanted that, too. Maybe you could’ve seen past my fissures and the pulsing scar tissue. Maybe you could have learned to love me, as incomplete as I was.
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So I agreed that yes, we should see each other. I would love that.
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It was supposed to be December 2006. We made a promise in August.
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And I waited; I found it fair…you waited until I tried to get my shit together.
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But I never heard from you. I emailed and called and never got a response. I waited through the end of January. Then a man found me…and we were intrigued by each others words; the same as you and I used to be. Where you were mature, genteel, slow tempered and clean as a Spring sunrise, he readily admitted that he was younger, dirtier, less experienced and even a bit of an asshole…but, he wanted to be there by my side and I was worth fighting for. Worth fighting you for.
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But still, I waited. I wrote. I called. And you never answered me. It was February 2006.
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So what choice did I have? I began seeing this young man, his eyes wild; his affection frothing like a raging sea.
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I remembered emailing you, telling you the truth. The only response received was: ‘Dear God.’ and I didn’t hear from you for years.Just to let you know; your secret letter did arrive. The one sent confessing the love we both felt and shared. I wept when upon reading how you wanted to take me away from my pain and introduce me to your mother and her pies. How we’d have a house in the country side, complete with T1 connection,  where I could throw pots, draw things, train in Capoeira amidst roaming foxes and program til my hearts content. We would have children, grow old and I would forever be your queen. You would’ve forever been my King. I loved you that much.
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But your letter came too late, the end of March to be exact, because you didn’t put enough postage on it, silly boy. Your postmaster wrote a cute note on the envelope stating that true love must find a way; he paid for the extra stamp. Life is weird, you know. I will never throw that letter away, but it could only read it once. You started writing again, emails this time, but the pain infused in your words twisted my heart in knots. What could be done or undone? We both were shit at the waiting game and life made our decisions for us.
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So now, I am married to the wild haired young man whose unhinged bestial tendencies have mellowed with time and we have nurtured a life of love, adventure and joy. You married a bronze skinned goddess whom, I did the math, was the cause of the lack of response from years past. She gave you the beautiful child I could never physically have and be the beautiful wife I could never be.
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But still, you write. And I write wondering about the ‘what-ifs’. Wondering how one stamp determined our fate. Wondering why I still love you even though my husband knows and understands. “When two souls entwine, their bond is forever” he tells me.”I can’t be jealous of that. I still ache for my first love as well but aching for the past and actively loving those here today are two different things. Love without action only ends up with more questions.”
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