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In my decluttering I am working on a bookcase. I found several titles today that I had forgotten about. Some I want to read, that I haven't. Others I am giving away. And there's one that is a pile of paper wrapped in plastic, a manuscript by a friend, that I read avidly. A pile of love letters to a woman who ultimately chose someone else. It's quite compelling reading, most of it anyway. I suggested that he edit it down a bit but he isn't ready to do that yet. I find it nice to read these letters and to think that someone wrote them for a woman, for real, that these are expressions of his love for her, they aren't made up, they are lovely. In between the letters are quick notes to a male friend that serve as markers, as a way to introduce some of the subjects in the letters where there might be confusion for a letter. I gather from Ray that this is a real friend but that he didn't actually write these letters to him, they were written when he thought of putting together the book. He submitted it to a couple of publishers but they turned him down or suggested changes he wasn't ready for.

I wonder how it would feel to get letters like this. I think now that it might be frightening. If I loved the man in return I would be afraid that something would break the spell. If I didn't love him I would worry about hurting his feelings or else be afraid he was a stalker. Where's the middle ground, where I can love and enjoy the letters for what they are when I get them, and enjoy them later, even if the relationship is no longer there?

There are things I did with Dwain that are like this, memories I can smile about now, special times that belong only to us. I remember how he used to light up now and then when he'd remember another woman, another time, the way she held her head, the way her breasts fell, simple things. I liked that he remembered them so fondly and trust that he will always remember me fondly, too.

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