As I mentioned the other day, I brought some pictures into work. In doing so, I spent time going through my giant memory box. My trophy from Little League when we won the A League championship. My Junior High year books. Tons of GOOFY ass pictures of me (which makes me want a scanner, any advice anyone?). Prom pictures. Some candids of girls, some of whom I even recognize. And there were a couple letters from girls (again, even a few that I recall - sorry *Kar* who used a ton of smileys).
I found one that I know I never responded to, and I couldn't find her email address anywhere. I'm going to steal an idea from Grant Miller and post a response here.
I was recently rummaging through some old letters I have been keeping around and found a letter you wrote to me about 17 years ago. I'm quite certain I never responded to your letter, which was rather rude of me. And like mama always says "better late than never."
It took me a moment to place you after 17 years. At first, I thought, I don't ever remember playing Contra on Nintendo or drinking Hamms (the Beer refreshing) with a guy named Sam Zidek. Then it came back to me. Sam was really Samantha. Ok, much better. Once I knew you were female, it was a lot easier to place you.
The clues from your letter made it easier to figure out your true identity. We met in college, when I was still in my fraternity. I'm not sure if that was before or after I got blackballed, but that's another story. I can tell from your letter that you had (have?) very good taste in music. I don't even remember New Order touring as late as 1989. And the one time I saw Public Image Ltd (opening for INXS before their lead singer suffered from auto-erotic asphyxiation), they were good too.
Well, since you asked, my second semester went pretty well. I had a bad Southeast Asian History class with Pazuzu. We got assigned 40 maps to draw in two weeks. We dropped that class fast and got into Honors Dance class. Honors, funny huh? More on that later. I hope you got good grades in your two summer school classes. But since you wrote the letter to me from class, I won't be holding my breath.
It's too bad you didn't talk to your parents for '1 months, 2 weeks and 1 day.' But thanks for relating that story, because it makes me SO thankful I have boys.
So I guess you're wondering why I never wrote you back huh? I suck at keeping in touch. I have people I really have a lot in common with that I like talking to that I can barely keep in touch with (Ryan, Dan, Diane, the list goes on and on). But I would be lying if I blamed it on that.
It wasn't the giant smiley face on the top of the letter. Although I must say that did cost you some of the points you gained with the good music taste. And to be honest, you used more than your lifetime's share of exclamation points in the letter. It wasn't that you kept making mistakes and writing OOPS! either, I thought that was kind of cute.
Even though I was very dense back then, even I could tell you were interested. You went through like three people to find my address. And hell, you were damn cute. I remember you had great hair, a good smile, and you were funny too.
So why didn't I write back? Well, do you remember when we saw each other in the mall a couple of years after you wrote the letter? I was standing alone in "The Limited" with a bored expression on my face and you came up and started talking to me. I knew I knew you, but it was so out of place that I wasn't sure where from, or exactly how I knew you. It had been a while since I saw you.
I tried faking it, but I wasn't very good at it. And I was too embarrassed to say I didn't remember your name. We made small talk for a couple of minutes. Then my girlfriend (who I met in Honors Dance) walked up. Since I was still in shock (or just stupid), I just said goodbye, and we left without introducing the two of you. That was pretty rude too - you might see a pattern there.
After we left, my girlfriend was not happy. Talking to a cute girl, and then leaving without introducing was, in retrospect, a bad thing to do. It wasn't the 'oh you cad' I'm mad at you kind of thing. It wasn't the 'you jerk' said with a half-smile thing either. She was hurt.
I knew before then that I loved her. I knew well before then. But the empty feeling hurting her just for that instant made me realize something. I knew right then that I was going to be with her for the rest of my life, and I was going to do my damdest to make her happy. One of my vows "to never take you for granted" was inspired by this moment.
Well, as it turns out, we got married a few years after your letter. We have two incredibly different yet impossibly great kids. We have a pretty damn good life, and even though we have challenges like everyone else, I can say that I really wouldn't change a thing.
So I wanted to thank you for that moment. I hope your classes, and indeed, the rest of your life turned out well.