Letter Found in a Book*

Unknown**

 

Dear Ms. Stein,

I'm taking a fifteen minute break from studying for your semester exam. This is the last academic test you will ever give me. This is the last moment you will serve as my high school English teacher. If you you're laughing at the paper I'm writing on, just think of it as appropriate to that article on DNA you gave to us. I'll get back to you on that when I'm 47. (ha!) I will not see you after I graduate. I leave directly for some sunny area with Linda and the night I return from that hung-over vacation I leave for Amsterdam and you'll have already left for Turkey. If it fits in that I see you in California it would be a surprise. I won't divulge myself in any bittersweet memories here. We both know that sincerity seems out of place in our relationship, unless we're either wasted or overwrought with tension. Sarcasm at it's maximum. Oh, how I'll miss it.

I don't know - I don't know many things. I wish I did and will strive to learn. I don't know why I'm writing this. Like Stephan Daedalus, I suppose I always feel like we end every conversation with many important things not said. I always feel frustrated enough to want to beat you over the head with your 'biblical' Norton's, flush all your ungraded tests down the john, bind and gag all of your devilishly advocating, argumentative retorts and talk to you, or more or less "at" you, till I've said all I can say (which I'm afraid isn't comparatively much). Then, when you're on the brink of explosion. When your body and mind are quaking with all of that smoldering witty, rhetorical criticism, I'll bravely expose myself to it and revel in your sarcastic glory which you omit with such lavish embellishment. Oh, how nasty I really must seem. Like some ungrateful child. Maybe I am - that's another thing I'm not sure of yet. I still have so many great mistakes to make and learn from, right?

One thing I do know, and just realized as I start to return to my studying - When I move my tassle at graduation it will be a moving moment that will symbolize all that I've endured while at C.A.C. - the deaths of people closest to me, my rape, my mother (myself, for that matter), Alcatraz, (On a lighter note) all of the friendships I've formed, all of the trips I've taken - HAGUE - M.U.N.! Yes, I'm resorting to sincerity - a mistake I always make, and, well, Ms. Stein, your class, which inevitably formed my close relationship with you. You must never forget hanging those apple tree branches in our junior 'hall of Paradise.' So, I'll move my tassle and think of all those things at once in exhilarated confusion and anxiety at the fact that it is going to be just another step toward paying taxes. Oh, but then I'll take my cap and toss it in the air, tossing my future with it and all the excitement and happiness that comes from not knowing where I'm headed, and from the comforting fact that I'll get to make all my mistakes on my own. What comfort!?! I'll toss my relationships with the people I love, (yeah, it includes you too) in the air to mingle with my dreams that will seem blinding as I look up ready to catch them in my cap under the glaring Cairo sunlight. And, well, hey - I'll miss your 'fill in the blanks' tests, if that's any consolation. You've been the major factor in readying for college - even if it isn't at Skidmore, and if I don't catch my own dreams I'm hoping to catch one of yours in the window of a prominent New York Bookstore. I suppose you'll still be too overworked and unorganized to send little ol' me an autographed copy. At any rate I hope to see you when you're fully gray and I'm pregnant with my fourth child and as fat as all of my father's family, God forbid!

Just carry with you the fact that I love you inspite of your faults and that I'm thrilled you've attempted to like me a bit in the midst of all of mine.

Looking forward to life with my own Intimations of Immortality,

**Unknown instead of "Anonymous," since the latter implies that the author wanted this to be read.

* Found in a used copy of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale I bought around 1998 in Seattle.

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Last updated: Monday, November 14, 2011