My dear Jil, this has to be one of the most painful letters I ever wrote; it’s a letter I wish I didn’t have to write. But first, thank you for calling me the other day. Was refreshing hearing from you. I had actually put out word for you since I didn’t have your contact details. I’d asked your friends. Was told you were abroad. You can imagine my pleasant surprise hearing your voice on Thursday. It’s been a long time since we spoke.
I know we spoke but both of us left unsaid the thing that should have been said. That which must be said, which we were unwilling to confront hung in between us. Cowards we were not broaching the subject. I spent some time thinking after our conversation and I decided to table the subject. It’s a conversation we must have lest we’re pretenders. That’s the last thing we want to be. I chose to write because it’s best to write about such a sensitive subject. There are conversations better held in writing. Unlike a phone conversation, one can express oneself without the pressure of immediacy in writing.
I was afraid of mentioning the subject of your breakup in our last conversation because I didn’t know how you’d handle it. I didn’t know where you are psychologically or emotionally. Somehow, I feel he owes you an apology. He probably regrets letting you go though we don’t talk much about it. It’s a subject we avoid. I was in a very difficult situation because you two are my favourite people in the world. You were meant for each other. Even the blind could see that. The only diagnosis I can muster now that I’m an adult is that he was afflicted with youth.
At the age we were, you really don’t know what you need in life. You feel you have options and time is on your side. I’ve since learnt there are rare and precious people. They are not manufactured in multiples, they’re unique. You’re one of such, so unique, and God, I wish you had both married. You are beautiful, intelligent, fun, calm, cultured, liberal and godly. You were good for him! And you guys were so much in love! It was as undeniable as it was incredible. There was a doting affection for him. Young men sometimes don’t know the value of that. Such affection is rare. It is fearless, was full of trust and faith. You went out on a limb in that relationship. I do wish we can rewind the hand of the clock and bring you both to that moment again, the moment we were young.
We were all young, full of hopes and dreams, wondering about this animal called life. I still don’t know why he took that decision. Guess he wasn’t ready for that level of commitment. Trying to find his way. As an adult, I know that’s the level of commitment a man needs. I wish we knew. I wish I could have tied him up and bundled him to the altar to marry you. But that would require me to have a window into the future, to know what the future holds. As it is I’m not a futurologist. We all were not. We hardly understood life or the passage of time. In a manner of speaking, you were the one that got away. And what a pity that was. I know he deeply regrets letting you get away. In his quiet moments, he must have wondered what if… What would life have been if both of you had married? From my selfish perspective, it would have been heavenly. But I see that in some way it’s a very sensitive subject for you too. I’m sure you’ve wondered what it might have been like.
It’s because of you I tell the young ones don’t let the good one get away. They don’t come in multiples. I look at the miracle of a good marriage – two people from disparate backgrounds who are just perfect for each other. Given the variables and dynamics of life surely that must be a miracle. A perfect fit is a miracle. Think about it – you were brought up in a different household, he was brought up in a different household. You grew up with different experiences yet your longings and desires synced. You were what he wanted, he was what you wanted. I don’t know how many times I have to use the word miracle to describe both of you. But what do we know! He threw away one of life’s precious gifts – the gift of perfect choice. It’s not something anyone can come up with. It has to be something tied to the benevolence of Omnipotence. There are events and circumstances that can only be rationalised through religion. No other explanation for the love you had.
The unfortunate thing is that it’s not been easy for him since you left. He’s just never met the right woman. You were the right woman. It’s somehow been one predator after the other and the emotional cost has been high. Well, you’ve moved on. And many waters have passed under the bridge. But I think you should both talk. Talk it over so it’s over between you. Put the matter to rest. Be honest with each other. His loss was another man’s gain. Tell your husband he’s one lucky guy; that’s if he didn’t know already. And so here we are decades after, writing each other, about what could have been between both of you. I have to disclose to him we spoke. That’s only fair. I hope you won’t mind. You were a great lesson to me about life – about life’s opportunities and life’s timing. Opportunities missed don’t come again.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, how are the kids? And how’s your work? Though to be honest it’s not really off my chest. How can such a thing ever be off one’s chest? I know he misses you, as a friend at the least. It’s why he can’t talk about you. He’s accepted his fate with equanimity. That’s like him. He takes responsibility for his actions and omissions. But I know given another opportunity he’ll never let you go again. Ever. Of course that’s wishful thinking. You’re married. I’m good and doing well. God has been kind to me, to us all. Life has been kind though not without its challenges. And that’s the nature of life. It’s full of opportunities and challenges. But if there’s a grace I pray for, it’s the grace to recognise worth and not lose what is good. When we lose that which we should never dispense with we pay a great price. I wish you the best my sister and friend. My love to your family. We’ll talk again soon.
Your mentor, LABut if there’s a grace I pray for, it’s the grace to recognise worth and not lose what is good. Click To Tweet