I got a letter the other day. I had forgotten that it was coming, and I didn't recognize the handwriting on the address. Imagine my suprise when I found out it was my own. My teacher had us write letters to ourselves, things we thought we'd need to hear or see or say, and mailed them to us 5 years after we finished her class. Perhaps this is something I should do for myself, or for my friends. It was quite a remarkable experience.

Dear T,

Well, it's supposed to be 5 years after you took AP Bio with Mrs. Kitchens in Harlem. By now, you should be a junior in college. Get on the ball, my dear; I know you! That essay has to be finished! You need to talk to your friends! You worked hard (sometimes) this year, and you need to remember. Remember everyone that helped you, everyone that put up with you, everyone that loved you. Your whole AP Bio class became friends. When's the last time you wrote Matt? Or Bullard? What about Akins and Liz? You love them and they love you. You have a lot of memories together... don't let them slip away. Go read a few of your old poems and jog your memory... you do still have them, right? Anyway... AP Bio proved you have some real potential, so make sure you use it, have used it.... God I hope you have a boyfriend by now. =) Ah! Don't cry!!! Go read a yearbook or something. Well... okay... can't think of anything else. Good seeing you again.


Dear t,

It's been a long time since I've thought about you, about school, or about anything from when we knew each other. I am suprised at how well you really knew me then. Alisha and I argued about whether this means that you are smart or that I am still stupid. It's an interesting question. I didn't even recognize your loopy handwriting spelling my name on the front of the envelope. I stared hard and thought it was another friend sending me something. It's strange to think there is a possibility that I wouldn't recognize you. But you know me. I am unsure I know you half as well.

You are right, of course. I haven't been keeping up with work as well as I ought. You know I have always been this way. I will work on it tonight, though. I guess I just needed the motivation. I have spent a lot of time thinking about people lately, but few of them are the ones you mentioned. I haven't spoken to Matt since long after he and Liz broke up. They dated for 3 years, but now he's married to a girl he met at school, and trying to become a youth pastor.

Bullard... well... I try not to think about him. Last I heard, he had gotten his wife pregnant. It is hard for me to imagine that he ended up with her, ended up doing all these stupid things to himself. She always liked me when we were in school, but I can't help but imagine that if we met on the street, she'd grace me with the disdain she used to heap on everyone. Especially him. Liz also told me that he still seems to be fond of his little addiction. It's the one he said I drove him to after we broke up. He texts me when he realizes he's making a huge mistake; the house, the wedding, the baby. I haven't returned one yet.

I saw Akins in a restaurant. He was dropping off our food. He says he's good, says he's happy. He works and goes to school. He had to come home because he got into a lot of problems. I thought maybe he'd go play soccer, thought he'd write to me or call. He just slipped further and further until he finally fell off the wagon and ended up here, taking care of his mom. Micah told me she's got Parkinson's. It only hit me the other day what sort of tragedy that is. She's a violinist, and she taught Akins everything he knows. I can't imagine what she'll do when it's gone. I can't believe he let all his talent slip away and ended up trapped here. I really always thought he'd go somewhere. I was talking with a friend of his from work, and it got me thinking about him all over again. Sometimes I wonder if he ever reads what you wrote in his yearbook. You were a little naive then. But he should have gotten his letter too, and I can't help but wonder if it says anything about you. Or me.

Liz and I looked at the house her mother wants to buy her. We don't talk much about Matt... she hasn't heard from him since he got married, of course. I don't talk to her as much since she started teaching and moved in with Jeremy. I tell her about my boy problems (no, of course I don't have a boyfriend by now) and she listens and tries to help me, but she can only do so much. She's getting married. She's not really on the same wavelength.

You do know me well. I did want to cry. The tears were in my eyes before I got to the very next line and burst into laughter. I'm so glad that I heard from you. I've missed you. I've been working my hardest to use my potential. I guess I have a few things to show for it.

I'd like to say I've come a long way, but obviously I haven't. I like the way things are now, though. I think you'd be proud of me.

We really should do this again some time. Keep in touch.


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