Friday, March 14, 2014

Baltimore

I met my pen pal, Chad, this week! 

We have been writing for about a year now, and our letters have been thoughtful and sincere since the beginning. It was an easy decision to make to come visit once I knew that I would be in DC for a work trip, though the planning and execution took longer than it usually might. I ended up staying in Baltimore for four nights. I knew what Chad looked like from some photos, but had no idea what his voice sounded like, how he carried himself, style of dress, or the gait of his walk. So many things that you never realize fill in the crevices of what can help characterize a person you interact with on a daily basis. 

Our letters from the past year, side by side.

Just taking in each other's physical presence was really surreal! But other than that, it was basically meeting one of my best friends for the first time. He took me all around Baltimore--we ate lots of food and I saw Hopkins (all that brick!). Basically every day we went to at least two book stores and/or libraries and spent a couple hours reading and writing. It was amazing to have that sort of companionship, and to be able to enjoy hours of silence just reading or journaling in the same space.


We walked miles and miles and miles. It was such a luxury to be able to say whatever was on my mind, and to ask things and receive such an immediate response (really, anything is faster than waiting for a written response via post). It was also so, so nice to get to know each other's sense of humor in a way that was never conveyed through our letters! The more candid things, the way inflection in voice changes, the laugh.

In this moment, words feel like they are simultaneously everything and nothing. Because for the past year, I have exchanged correspondence with this person and through this process, words were all we had. But I also feel like my words cannot fully explain the depth of what I feel and how wonderful this has been.

I'm struggling to write a more personal update than this on a public forum--I think that sort of thought process and documentation is reserved for my journal and, of course, letters. I'm lucky I had work to launch myself into this week, otherwise I would have been even more sad and less preoccupied at our parting.


“Now begin in the middle, and later learn the beginning; the end will take care of itself. ”
― Dathan Auerbach
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3 comments:

  1. That "Now begin in the middle..." quote is actually from a great short story called "Repent, Harlequin", by Harlan Ellison. Highly recommended, if you haven't read it already.

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    1. Oops--you're right! It was just quoted in Penpal, which is a novel that actually started out as a bunch of short stories posted on an online horror forum of all places.

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    2. And let me be clear, by "online horror forum," I mean a Reddit post.. haha.

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