Living Happily Ever After


Written In Pencil

“Friends will write me letters. They run out of room on the front of the letter. They write ‘over’ on the bottom of the letter–like I’m that much of a moron; like I need that there. Because if it wasn’t there, I’d get to the bottom of the page: ‘And so Kathy and I went shopping and we–’ That’s the craziest thing! I don’t know why she would just end it that way.” (Ellen Degeneres)

I asked my former husband for THE letter.

He asked me why I wanted it. I told him the truth: I wanted the peace of mind it would give me. Since neither of us knew what the future held, or where he was going, I told him I didn’t want to someday need it and not be able to find him or reach him.

He said, “Tell me, would you use that letter today if you could?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Absolutely.”

In reality, though, I couldn’t. You can’t apply for a cancellation until you have the opportunity to marry someone else. But I needed him to know I felt there was no chance for reconciliation.

So he wrote one.

It was in pencil (prison inmates aren’t allowed to have pens). Written in October 2009. Mailed from a Colorado jail.

When it arrived, I opened it, read it and put it away never thinking I’d need it. It was a very nice letter, though, and I appreciated his willingness to write it. Later, he called me, collect, to discuss it.

I saw how hard it must have been for him to write that letter because he told me some untrue ramifications of me using that letter. I knew they were the last efforts of a sinking ship to attempt to rescue itself, I guess, but I had had it. I had been lied to for too long by the man, too many times; we were divorced; he wasn’t my husband; I didn’t feel an obligation to “obey” him any longer and I wasn’t going to stand for one single additional lie. So I called him on it:”That’s not true, ” I said. “That is a lie. You’ve lied to me for the LAST time!”

He said, “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

And that was that.

I kept the letter in a drawer for the next 6 months. And then one day, unexpectedly, I needed it. I sat in my pastor’s office, handed the letter to him, and he told me he’d have to check to see if it could be used in conjunction with my application because it hadn’t been requested via certified mail, it had been sent directly to me and it had been written a few months earlier.

“I get mail; therefore I am.” (Scott Adams) 


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