We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master - Ernest Hemingway
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Mary - An Open Letter to the Universe
How are you? I know you’ve had a lot to deal with lately, what with the parade of natural disasters spiraling across the globe and of course things like global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps and all of that. And as a whole, you’ve been very good to me—no major complaints. However, I do have one question: Why must you keep stealing my friends?
I’m a natural people-person. I have a tendency towards co-dependency, to be honest, so I’ve always had at least one best friend. But lately, universe, you’ve been a little haphazard. First you set each of my friends from high school on our own paths. Totally necessary, I understand. We had to learn to grow up. Then you gave me some amazing friends in college, only to have us all move apart—as far as California, Hawaii and Australia. Okay…Seeing the world, I got it. And now, living on my own in a new place for the third time in so many years, my close friends are so consumed in their romantic relationships that they no longer understand how to manage their platonic ones. Hello? How is that fair? Do you realize that I’m on my own here?
I’m a GOOD friend, Universe. I bake cookies and cupcakes for birthdays, or just because. I host weekly dinner parties. I make handmade cards for holidays and buy real Christmas gifts. I write poems and make hand-paper-turkeys for your refrigerator. I write letters and send postcards when we’re far apart, and I send thoughtful texts and emails even when we’re not. I am loyal. I am dependable. I am adventurous, and spontaneous and creative. I am everything a best friend should be, and yet you continually challenge my ability to hold on to a quality friendship for more than a few years.
Is it me, universe? Am I not worthy of a confidant? I feel pretty worthless, to be honest. You keep stripping me of my comfort blankets. I lay awake at night, texting people who don’t give a shit about me, because I’ve lost the ability to connect with the ones who do. On long drives I reminisce about the times when I had my choice of people to call and pass the time with good conversation. Remember that, universe? Remember the friends that I cared about so much that I would overcome my dislike of talking on the phone? Remember the friends that would make time slip away from me as we sunk deeper into thought?
I remember the feeling of living with the security of tight-knit friendships. Wearing them like a safety vest, sure that if my boat were ever to capsize, I would keep my head above water. You wanted that safety vest back, didn’t you? You wanted me struggle, to tread water fiercely just to keep breathing. You wanted me to get tired, to give up.
What kind of cruel universe wants that?
I’m not asking for world peace—I know it will never happen. I’m not asking to be beautiful, or famous, or rich. All I’m asking for is a new best friend. Someone to ground me to reality. Someone to give me the assurance that I mean something, to someone—to help me feel like I have a place here.
I feel like, in the scheme of the universe, that’s not such a difficult request.
Think it over, and get back to me.
Mary is a somewhat recent college grad who still hasn't quite figured out where she wants to live or what she wants to do with her practically meaningless degree. She is currently settled in the cornfields of Northern Illinois and spends her time dreaming of a world where she could get paid to write and drink coffee all day.