I used to penal all day, every day. This phase of mine started in high school. I signed up for book swaps online, rehashed clothing over the internet, and consistently signed up to get free samples in the mail. If there was an easy way to receive mail, I found it and I utilized it. What can I say, I was and still am a weirdo.
I started to become pen pals with people because I liked the idea of communicating with someone in a more personal way. And I liked the idea of sending and receiving letters and sometimes little gifts. It was an friendly way of interacting with people I came to care about.
For a short while I pen-pal’d with my aunt. The last letter she sent me was two pages long and she sprinkled little confetti hearts into the envelope. When I received the letter, I smiled at the confetti but was annoyed when it stuck to my fingers and the papers on my desk.
I didn’t reply to the letter straight away. I saw her on on ‘family day’ and she asked if I had received it. I told her yes, that I loved it, and that I would reply as soon as possible. I was writing exams and essays at the time, so I was extremely preoccupied.
A week later, I got news of her passing. I reread the letter and saw it in a different light. I wished I hadn’t thrown some of the confetti hearts in the trash and I tried to keep them contained in the envelope, as if losing one would be a tragedy.
I felt a lot of guilt because I never got to respond to her. My selfishness and stress had caused me to ignore a loved one and I didn’t realize that was my last chance to pen pal with her. I missed out on that one opportunity that I could have completed in a short amount of time.
Anyways, I ended up coping with the guilt my own way. About a year after her passing, I got the return address of the letter tattooed on my arm in her handwriting. Now it’s with me forever. And it seems silly to say, but since then, I’ve had complete closure.