I. I wrote you fifty-one letters in the year after we fell apart.
Losing you was my first brush with real grief, the kind that consumes a person like a housefire. Each time I looked, my heart was reaching for you from the attic windows. I knew, for your sake and mine, it was better to leave the rambling paragraphs unsaid, but all the smoke had to go somewhere.
I made a deal with myself: Each time the urge came over me to pick up the phone, reach across maplines to drop myself back into your proximity, I’d open up my laptop and write to you. Fifty-one times, I twisted the faucet and allowed the grief to run free. At each letter’s close, the current had given way to soft, distant drips.