Re: A Letter to a Friend

Her name's xTx, but no, it's not.

We met on the Internet first. We met in person when I saw her hair across a bar in Chicago and knew it was her. Her hair is the only part she allows in photographs. She says if I saw her in a grocery store it wouldn't even cross my mind we should be friends. The truth is I look for her everywhere now, and sometimes I think I see her for a second in other people. I've told her about every pie I've made, even the ones that didn't work. There was the one with corn and another with cantaloupe. 

She lives in L.A., and I live in Kansas City. We talk on the phone maybe twice a year. The times we hug are in cities neither of us call home. When I tell people about her, I don't say she's my friend from L.A.; I say she's my friend from the Internet.

She wrote me a letter on Saturday. I respond:

Dear _____,

Today is Thursday. You'll see Roxane. I'll see the weather change. Earlier, it was raining and thundering. Now, the sun is out and the wind is slamming screen doors. Later, tornadoes possible.

Upstairs, a dog barks, and a woman barks back at the dog.

Last night was the first meeting of our book club with our friends and neighbors. We read JENNY AND THE JAWS OF LIFE by Jincy Willett. Everyone liked the book, with one guy going so far as to say he didn't dislike any of it. The meeting was held at our house. I took great pains to make a good impression. The bathroom was scrubbed clean, but no one used it.

I'm glad your mother got to visit. My mother hasn't been out here in several years. The last in-person conversation we had regarded our burial preferences. "Cremation," she said. I nodded. "Me too." She sent me some yarn in the mail a couple weeks ago. I'm going to make her a scarf. Maybe two. The season for scarves is ending, but then again, maybe not. We got snow in May last year.

The tour of our place ends with us showing guests the spare bedroom and saying, "Shhh. A snake is listening." I bought her when Josh was at work one day. She was small and jeweled as a candy bracelet. Mostly pink then. Now, mostly white. I've seen her tie herself into knots.

You worry too much. Take your guilt and shove it!

Good luck at your reading. I want to be there.

Carry on,