Dear James ...
by JK Murphy
‘Who’s this?’ you’re wondering. ‘I wasn’t expecting any mail!’ you’re saying to yourself. Well, James, it’s me, Becky Stone!!! ‘Becky Stone?’ you’re thinking. ‘Well, I don’t know a Becky Stone.’ Of course you don’t, James. Of course you don’t.
Does “Monster Toes” ring a bell?
There we go. We haven’t talked in so long! God, it must be ten years now, excluding of course that graceful period known as adolescence when you called me an “ugly bitch” every day while prodding my feet with a metric ruler.
James. I am writing to let you know I forgive you. I forgive you for making my high school years a living hell, I forgive you for writing those hateful comments on my locker, and for spreading those vicious rumors about me in grade ten (he was my SECOND cousin TWICE REMOVED and that was a one-time thing...well fine he was my first-cousin but he's English and that stuff's legal in England) I even forgive you for “accidentally” shooting off my pinky toe with a BB gun. (I didn’t need that one anyway).
If you recall, when we were nine I made the foolish mistake of wearing sandals to school. I used to have what the doctor referred to as “webbed feet”, and although he assured me that this condition was ENTIRELY NORMAL, I have since undergone cosmetic surgery, after years and years of torment, to correct this small but debilitating flaw. Unfortunately, due to what the doctor’s lawyer calls a “misunderstanding”, the operation didn’t go as planned, and I should now have only four toes on each foot. Subtracting the one you shot off in grade nine, that leaves seven, total. But I do not hold any resentment against you or anyone else. I want you to know this. While you may continue to torment others based on physical appearance or toe size, I have learned to rise above such superficialities, gaining the confidence to secure a co-managerial position at Boston Pizza. I am very happy there, despite all your years of torment.
You may remember fondly that day in grade four when I serenaded you with my karaoke talents backed-up by the vocal styling of a one Whitney Houston. I dedicated this song to you, James. I told you I would always love you, and dammit ... I would have. You couldn’t see a good thing when it was standing right in front of you on a wooden desk singing into a pencil case. You may also remember telling everyone at recess that I “chased” you around the room trying to kiss you. As if, James, as if.
You may ask yourself why this letter is typed rather than printed. Well there is a very simple explanation for this. You see, due to a rather strenuous head injury a few years back, I am no longer capable of writing cursive for extended periods of time. I find the activity exhausting, and although I have yet to officially get to the root of the problem, I am 97% certain it all stems back to that fateful day when we were 16 and you decided it would make for an afternoon of hilarity if you chucked a rock at my head. It was only a small concussion and I knew the spinning would stop soon, but let me tell you, there is nothing like lying in a pool of your own blood while teenage boys point and laugh. Memories.
I am offering you an olive branch here. Should you choose to accept it, you may meet me at the back parking lot of Boston Pizza this Thursday at 8. You should probably let me know before hand so I’m not waiting (although that was quite funny that time you asked me to the dance and then let me wait for three hours in the cemetery. I was sketpical about the peculiar meeting spot, but I thought you were into that sort of thing. Not that I am. But let's just say after you stood me up I was forced to 'dig up a date'.)
P.S. Kindly send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org