List # 60: The Men that Were

Tonight I heard news that a dear friend got married. And tonight I had a heart-to-heart with my ex. Both completely unexpected events. And though one is shocking in the most happy of ways that can only mean celebration and hearing a love story, the other is shocking in the bittersweet sense and can only mean breathing the true end.

But either way, they both got me thinking about how the relationships in our lives end up working themselves out even though, when in the thick of things, we aren't always sure where they are headed. We ignore each other, we hurt each other, we put too much hope in someone's arms, we take laughs for granted & shed too many tears.

So here's my own version Alanis Morissette's Unsent. Because how good was that song? I remember hearing it in high school (when my experience with men and love and lust and all things in between was slim) and knowing that I was going to be one of those girls who had a list of unsent letters. I have always loved how short and simple her letters were and I have always been struck at how brave it was to put all of those emotions and thoughts out there in the open. To just hang there for people to hear and take as they want. How good is it to just say exactly how feel. Even if it's a bit late.

Dear Mr. High School: You were the one that started my crushes on smart men who were flying under the radar. You were a good friend who cared about my family and even now, more than 10 years later, I appreciate that. I am glad this never went further than it did, even though I felt differently at the time. Adult me can't give over the fact that you lean conservatively politically but I guess we never talked about politics in the front seat of your car. I used to enjoy running into you at local bars and the like and sometimes I still look for you in the crowd. Your smile reminds me of the girl I was back then, even when I close my eyes now I can remember it.

Dear Big Bad Brad: Thank you for showing me in the dorm rooms of Crawford, that high school crushes were fleeting. And thank you for being fleeting yourself.

Dear Mr. College: It was a mistake to fall in love with a best friend. We were doomed from the beginning, though too caught up in deaths and change and excitement to see that from where we once stood. You berated me with terrible insults and I cried too many tears over you for far too long. I should have learned to hang up the phone earlier than I ever did, but I was young & you were the first person I thought I ever truly loved. You should have never called all those many nights even after I moved home, but I think you know that now. I used to imagine that your poems would line my shelf, but I haven't even read your book. Though to be honest, I can't say that I never will. Sometimes it's easy to forget that we were ever a part of each other's lives, but I'm happy for you now and I am sure you are happy for me.

Dear Mr. Greece: When I think of Agrinio, I will always think of you and your broken English. You taught me, on date three, that I could never give up being an independent, American spirit. Thank you for retsina and cafes and for coming to visit me at my school, after Christmas. I hope you found the woman who would be happy cleaning your toilets.

Dear Mr. Grad Student: You were the one who taught me to love my body. You showed me how to enjoy drinks on a hot summer afternoon and how to make-out against doorways. But more importantly, you became the voice that shouted for change and made going back to school & blazing new paths seem not so scary. I will always remember washing your car and your liberal attitude. But more importantly, I will always remember how easy it was to become friends with you. The bookstore we would frequent has closed but I will always appreciate you realizing how nice of a girl I was and telling me that I didn't need men who weren't going to appreciate just what I could give. Both in bed and out. Thank you for not letting me settle for mediocre in any part of my life.

Dear Mr. Seminary: I'm quite amused that I may run into you some day. But thank you for a few weeks of hilarious lust. It was fun being the older, more wild and definitely more liberal woman. Thank you for telling stories about Priests & Ronald Reagan and please, don't ever shave the beard. I am hard pressed to remember your name, but I'll always remember the prayers you said before meals and the swingers who tried to pick us up on our first date. You gave me good stories to tell and I hope you share a few too.

You'll notice that a very important someone isn't included in here tonight. Mostly because I chose my words carefully earlier in the evening and it doesn't quite feel right to lump him in with the men above. Sure, a few of the above played a significant role in forming my 29 years but best person I thought I knew was something more than a little letter on a Sunday night. And right now I don't feel like spending anymore time, words or emotions on his role tonight. He knows what I said and I know what he said. We'll leave it at for now.

So dear readers, what is your own Unsent letter? Do you agree that sometimes it's those little tiny blips on the romance radar that you almost want to say more to? Please share in the comments.


  1. Wow...what a fantastic post. So articulate and full of light and awareness. It's so interesting to go back and talk about those past relationships (I think I need to do that now in my own journal!) I actually have a 'sent' letter experience - I sent a letter to my Mr. Grad School as I had a memory of him and was all at once overcome with how much fun we had and how sweet he was so I decided to write him and kind of 'thank him' (we keep in touch peripherally) and he wrote back the sweetest, most touching email about his memories of our relationship. Couldn't have asked for a lovelier walk down memory lane. : )

  2. I literally feel like I went through all of these men with you. I kinda feel like you should have a celebrity guest blog and include me and the other barnmates to write the UNTOLD:Unsent Letters Edition. Or maybe we just do that on a Friday night over some wine? We could skype in our West Coast friend for her input. :) Love ya!!! This was amazing.

  3. Oh, I thought I should tell you that it's been a little over six months and I'm over the best person you thought you knew. I think it's funny that it took me longer to get over your break-up than you. Then again, that's what friends are for. : 0

  4. I can't say that he is completely wiped from my memory. I miss most in the mornings, when I first wake up. And actually working on a blog post about this. But I like to think I am okay without him. I am glad that you are over him. Now can we work on finding someone else who would like to go on datesx with you, me, Nate and laugh at two babies??