I sat on my bedroom floor, curled into a ball with my face buried in between my knees. My dad passed away yesterday and I hadn’t recovered. I wasn’t sure if I ever would. People around me told me to write down what I was feeling, or listen to music, or do something that would distract myself from my dad’s passing. I tried, but at night when I was all alone, these emotions would rush back, and I couldn’t stop it.
Just then, I remembered reading about this pen pal segment in my school magazine. There were addresses printed all over, other than that nothing else was listed. It had something to do with remaining anonymous and protecting the students’ privacy. They could reveal it themselves if they chose to. When I saw the magazine last week, I laughed it off, thinking no one would participate in this, not with the Internet easily accessible to us. Why not just befriend a stranger on Facebook? Never would I have thought I would find writing to an anonymous pen pal useful, not until now.
I wanted to talk to someone that wouldn’t bring up my dad, because he or she would never know it was me. If I read the letters at night, maybe it could help me feel better. Like I wasn’t alone.
I took out a pen and paper and wrote:
It seemed short and sweet, like I wasn’t trying too hard. Truth was, tears starting forming when I wrote that sentence, and I couldn’t go on. I just felt so broken, so fragile, even writing felt like an unearthly task. I cried until I was tired, and slept.
The next morning, I posted my letter en route to school. It took me a day to receive my reply, and this was what was written: A tear defiled the paper, and I realized I was crying again. Why couldn’t tears ever run out? Rhys was his name. Even though we went to school together, I don’t know him. His reply was so perfect, it reminded me of my dad. It felt like something my dad would’ve said. I made myself write a reply despite my blurry vision. I had tissues nearby, wiping my eyes ever so often. Every two days, I received his letters, whoever he was. I wasn’t sure if Rhys was even his real name. I made a point to only read his letters at night, when I felt my worst. He always made me feel better. I smiled. I couldn’t remember how long my smile lasted, but it felt pretty long. He made me feel like shedding tears again, only this time the tears had a mixture of joy in it too. With a fresh piece of paper, I wrote my reply to him. And he kept his promise.