Things That Don’t Exist Anymore

When I traveled cross country in 1985 with my best friend, Erin, we both left boyfriends behind. I left mine after dating only three weeks. I had fooled around with him, somewhat awkwardly. Then he went to Greece to spend the summer with his Dad. And I was on this six week trip. I told him that I didn’t know what three weeks meant for such a long break. I told him I understood if we just needed to see what the deal was when we got back. I was ok with that, but he promised me that he was interested in continuing this and I got all excited by that. We arranged that I would send him letters from the road, and he would respond to my Uncle’s house in CA, where we were planning on stopping later in the trip. So I did. I wrote, everyday. I assumed he was writing back. And then when I got to my Uncle’s there was one letter. It came from Egypt, where he stopped on his layover, on the way there.

I think these summers were always kind of wild for him. I take it he didn’t want to miss out and got into a relationship. And then maybe he wanted to believe that he had broken up with me already, so it wouldn’t be cheating, and so he didn’t write, and when we got back, it seemed like he was embarrassed to talk to me. When I called over after he had returned, his little brother answered the phone and she said to him, “it’s her.” We met up, and he played dumb about promises we had made. I thought my lack of experience disappointed him before we even left. That’s not what he told me explicitly, but I pieced that theory together from the fact the he played dumb about promises we made to pick this up again and other things he said.

It’s not like I was in love with him. Well, kind of but I didn’t have to be.

I wish I knew what I wrote him. That could be a record of the trip. There could be things I don’t even remember in those words. I could find him and ask him if he kept them, and if I can have copies. I’ve kept what people wrote me. I should have the letter he wrote me from his layover in Egypt, somewhere. I have a box of letters. Sometimes I read through them. I used to hand write people letters (I’m old enough) and if the handwriting was sloppy, or the first draft had corrections, I would copy it over and then I’d keep the original. So that way I had a copy of some of my correspondence too. But I don’t know where that is. I have letters and cards I’ve gotten from others, but I don’t recall finding any letters written by me. I sometimes wonder whether my husband ever found stuff like that and decided to throw some out.  He’s not the kind of person to do that. In fact, he hasn’t really expressed an interest in any of my stuff, or anything I write. I don’t think he would bother. It’s just strange that things I used to keep don’t seem to exist anymore.

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