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Dear Kevin:

Dear Kevin:

Introduction to Windows was pretty much a joke for the more computer literate among the entering freshman, but in 1995 there were still plenty of people who reached college without knowing how to use a computer, so the training really was necessary. Fortunately, the guy teaching my class recognized that some of us would have the background, and told us that anyone who knew what they were doing should sit at the back and play with the graphics in WordPerfect or something. Four of us went to the back of the room. Like a good little girl, I followed directions and played with WP graphics - and managed to hang my computer in about ten minutes because it wasn't advanced enough to handle what I had asked it to do. Rather than reboot, I decided just to wait and see if it eventually cleared. I think the computer training classes were only scheduled to run about half an hour, anyway. So I peeked at the screen of the weird tall red-headed guy at the next computer over. He was playing with Paint, and it was quite impressive. And after a few minutes he caught me watching, and started typing in messages to me, trying to make me laugh.

You were the very first friend I ever made all by myself, without someone else introducing us. In fact, there haven't been many since. I'm still very proud of being brave enough to talk to you - although, in truth, you didn't give me much of a choice in the matter. You adopted quite a few painfully shy girls at about that time, and eventually started forcing us to speak to each other. Despite the initial misgivings, that worked out quite well for me.

You and I were both in a similar position that first semester, involved in a first relationship with someone still in high school back home. And we both experienced the problems with that at around the same time (although yours resolved sooner). We talked a lot about that. And about everything else, long into many nights. Even years later, when we'd been pulled our separate ways, if I ended up talking to you in your room for a few minutes, I would still be there hours later.

You took me to my first Medfest event, too. I hid in a corner of the sofa, but it was fascinating to listen to them take apart Princess Bride. It's a crying shame what Medfest did to you, and I wish I had not been so powerless to stop it. I also wish I had not been the unwilling tool of that particular batch of scheming and social/political infighting. I cannot regret the way it turned out for me, but on your behalf I most certainly do.

I never saw you as the jester you often acted, although you could always make me laugh. I saw you as the deep and serious young man I got to know early on. I always enjoyed your conversation and your insights. I miss your willingness to talk about absolutely anything and everything. I miss your perspective on the world.

I had hoped that maybe we could stay in touch, although neither of us are particularly regular correspondents with anyone any more. But my emails have gone unanswered for long enough, and I have always been reluctant to keep trying to contact someone who does not respond, doubly so for you. And every time I try, I wonder if perhaps I am from a part of your life you would prefer to forget. It seems strange to me that it has been long enough that we are only a part of each others' pasts.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 10th, 2004 05:07 pm (UTC)
Dear Steph:
I know that since I've gotten back in touch with people, you and I have talked privately about this. But I was reading your back posts late last night and I came across this letter. I didn't want to write something immediately -- especially since it was really late and I wasn't sure it would come out right -- but I wanted to respond publicly to this post. Possibly other friends will go back at some point and read it too; who knows? But I want to respond to you, either way.

In those first weeks of college, we were all given an opportunity that really never quite comes again -- I think in part because part of that opportunity is the realization that it is the first time. We got to redefine ourselves, freed from all the baggage and the bullshit from high school, from old friends, from family. Well, not freed exactly, since it all comes with us, but it's not all around us anymore. I remember thinking about that very consciously back then. And when David Leckstein (who I always thought looked like John Linnell from TMBG) drove us to the back of the room out of boredom, I made a conscious decision to talk with you. And I discovered a friendship that has affected me, in very good ways, ever since. (I was pretty impressive on Paint back then, no?)

You, and a couple of others on here, made freshman year among the happiest times of my life (I don't know why I'm being so coy: that year was mostly all about you, Bridget, Liz, and John, among some others). Over the years we drifted some, and drifted back a little, and then away again. I know I said this to you in an email recently, but that drifting was completely benign. I have never regretted our friendship or our contact, and have never wanted to forget it. The only thing I do regret is making you feel as you describe in the last paragraph of this letter to me; so whatever happens in the future, please try to remember this comment, and understand that I still want you to be my friend. (Plus which, as you should by now know, though I am somewhat conflict-averse at times, if I were upset with you, I'd tell you. I promise I wouldn't disappear.)

This has gone on long enough -- too long for a comment, really -- so I'll stop now. I just wanted to write it all down. By the way, I think this idea of writing these letters is one of the best I've heard in a long time. And they work too: just look how talkative it made me.

Oh, one last thing: I've missed you too, and I'll still talk about anything you like. I wish I'd been there when you needed people; but again, I say to you: even if we're not in touch, I'll always be there for you. You are now one of my oldest friends; but even if that weren't the case, you've been one of the truest, and I'd never throw that away.
Feb. 10th, 2004 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Dear Steph:
No fair getting me all teary-eyed at work... *grin*

Putting aside the real content of this exchange for the moment, thank you for reminding me of my letters. I lost my momentum when I hit a couple of difficult ones in a row, and I need to start over again on the second of those and make some progress. I need to write more in general, honestly.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )