I have a box stuffed full of unanswered letters. It sat on my desk for weeks, guiltily reminding me of my responsibility to respond. The weeks turned into a month, two months, and now it is approaching three months without a single response.
Officially, I am the worst pen pal in history.
The letters flew back and forth, at first. A real connection existed, made strong by carefully thought out reflections and responses, a sharing of lives and hopes and dreams. We invested time and postage in our exchanges. I felt a sense of duty to write back, as a courtesy for their trouble but moreover to keep the art of letter writing alive.
Slowly the connection grew weaker, like a handful of fireflies trapped in a glass jar. Time passed and then too much of it to write an apology and start over or to jump back in and pretend nothing happened. So I did what any person driven by shame might do.
I locked the box into a dark drawer to let the final lights flicker out.