Dear Mr. BigLaw, How are you these days? We haven't seen each other or spoken in a while, but I do hear about you from time to time. From friends and newspapers. Despite the recession and everything else, it sounds like you are surviving.
I know this letter is foolish. It will likely be lost in a big pile of paper on your polished marble desk. It is likely that you do not even remember me. That I was just one of the fungible young girls who flitted through your golden revolving door, a girl who never quite got your attention.
Truth be told, I think of you sometimes. In particular, about that day I left you. It was a Friday in late January and I really didn't give you much warning. No, in many ways I blindsided you, spewing that cliched excuse-upon-exit: it's not you, it's me. But I assure you this was true. Not that you care.
You were plenty good to me. You shrouded me with things: money and benefits and contacts. I basked in the glow of your impersonal warmth. But, in time, in a short time, I realized that in your corporate company, I felt stifled and sluggish and even a bit sad. I decided that I didn't want to spend many years in a relationship that was good and secure, but far less than thrilling.
It didn't take long to find your replacement. Writing. And he's a dodgy fellow, not always easy to live with, but he inspires me each and every day. He has taught me what love is. What laughter is. What learning is. Our romance is not stuffed with Town Cars and four-star lunches, but with words and ideas and most importantly, questions.
But sometimes, in this new relationship, I feel moments of loneliness. And, in these quiet moments, I long for our conference room banter and catered buffets. For more predictable things. For pinstripes and power and prestige. For the brainstorming and business trips we used to enjoy. Or pretend to. And sometimes I miss being able to say that I am with you because I know that some people, too many people, were so impressed with that.
Maybe we didn't have enough closure. Maybe I ran away too quickly because I could. Because I didn't need you to support me. Maybe I fled fast because I was a bit scared. That I was being hasty. That I was making a profound mistake. Or maybe I escaped with little explanation because I knew even then the power you had over me. I knew that after everything, after all those years of courting and commitment, it wouldn't be easy to quit you. And it wasn't.
I sometimes wonder who replaced me. Is she good and honest? Does she work hard? Too hard? Does she treat you well? Does she treat herself well? Will she stick with you through thick and thin? Will she wait out the tough times and see if you will ask her to commit? And, someday, if you ask her that very important question, if you ask her to be your partner, will she say I do?
Sometimes I wonder what things would be like if I never left. Would we still be together? Or would I have found another reason to walk away? Or would you, faced with the grim reality of a rabid recession, have let me go? If I had stayed and you had let me, would we be happy? Or, would things be the same as they were back then when I put on a good face with my good suit and we floated through long days together, graceful pretenders?
This is tough to admit, but sometimes, late at night, I lie in bed and think of you and wonder whether you would take me back. If I begged and pleaded and tried harder this time? But then I wake up in the morning and I'm relieved and pleased with the way things are. I am exactly where I should be. But that doesn't mean that I don't miss you sometimes and think about you and talk about our time together. Even though our relationship was relatively brief, a mere blip on that resume radar, for me it was very real. In some small, but significant way, you made me who I am.
So, try as I might, I will not forget you. The things you showed me about myself and life and the enigma of happiness. About real risk and real reward.
Maybe we will meet again one day. Or maybe we won't. Only time will tell.
Insecurely yours, Aidan