The 18th of May 1993 – Portland, Oregon

(found underneath a pile of broken twigs)

Hello Twain,

I’m disappointed, I think. Frustrated is more like it, actually.

This whole thing, this whole friendship or whatever you’ll call it, has just felt off. It’s felt off for a while, quite a while, like the feeling you get when you try to stuff a square peg into a round hole, or even when you try to stuff a round peg into a square hole. It’s just off. It just doesn’t feel quite right.

Maybe you were wearing a mask the whole time, something to hide behind and something to obfuscate whatever it was that I was telling you. Or maybe I was wearing the mask. Or maybe I forced a mask upon you. But it always felt like there was some heavy piece of rubber between us, blocking the meanings of our sentences and the force of our expressions, beating away the sincerity of our hearts.

I think there were flashes of it, sincerity I mean. Like when you would smile and really mean it, when I would smile or even frown and really mean it. But even when those things would happen, even those moments of truth and sincerity, they felt off too. They felt not quite right, like we could never really just look each other in the eye. But then that suggests that the whole thing was doomed from the start, like we were never meant to be more than just people passing each other in the street. Does that make sense?

I really don’t want it to make sense, Twain, but it really does. When I think of things this way, the whole thing makes sense. It makes terrible sense and it makes me angry and sad and horrified at what I’ve become and what you’ve become and what I’ve made you become and what you’ve made me become.

Now that we have to say goodbye to each other, here on the edge of this forest and at the start of the path, I’m wondering. I’m wondering, Twain, if I ever actually met you. I don’t think I ever did.

You aren’t who I thought you were. You haven’t been for a while, if you ever were. The trouble is that I can’t tell if that’s my fault or if it’s yours.

Perhaps it’s best to just leave things where they lie.

Goodbye, Twain.

Best of luck.

Jamaal

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