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  • Dear ______:

    I’ve given up trying to find you again. If this somehow manages to float into your inbox, so be it; if not, that’s all right, too.

    I Googled you once and all I could find was your name on a Seventh Day Adventist newsletter. That so clashed with the image I held of you as a funny, rebellious hell-raiser, but whom among us is what we were 40 years ago? Well, lots of people, I suppose, but would you want to associate with them?

    I told you once that I never lied to you, but that you weren’t willing to accept what I said as the truth. I was full of crap. So here it is, what I couldn’t bring myself to tell you: I stopped calling you, I cut you off, because I was talked into it by my family and friends. No excuses. It was the one and only time anything like that happened in my life, but you bore the brunt of it. Not a day has gone by since that I have not kicked myself in the ass for being such a coward. I hope I have your forgiveness; I know that I don’t yet have mine.

    You taught me most of what I know about women. You taught me to see beyond my own cravings and open up as a human being. In the parlance of the times, you raised my consciousness; I only wish I'd allowed it to be raised more. Your brightness was mixed with a hint of anger, as though you already knew then what a smart, talented woman would have to put up with in the early 1970s in order to be truly seen or heard.

    Do you still paint? Do you still cry after each session of lovemaking? Do you still make love? Did you ever have children? Do you remember the absurd names we gave each other? Do you remember me at all, ______, or was our union a blurry something that went sour too long ago to think about? I can’t say I’d blame you if you erased it from your memory tapes.

    We share the same birthday, and they’re piling up, aren’t they? My dad was known as the Silver Fox, and I guess I’m the Son of Silver Fox now, with my hair taking a turn toward the wintry. I’ve mostly outgrown the shallowness you noticed but were kind enough to mention much. I hope life has been good to you, _____. I hope you’ve known peace and contentment. I hope you’ve kept fear from your door. I hope you've know strong, enduring love.

    I became a professional writer, like I told you I would. All these years and all those words, and all I can think of to say to you now is: I’m sorry. I loved you. That will have to suffice.

    Blessings and love,
    Burt
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