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Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.

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wounded

A teen acquaintance posts a Facebook photo of herself leaned against an upright surfboard on a sunny California beach.

Absolutely envious, I write, “We are freezing to death in Ohio, yet you dare show pictures of yourself tanning? I hope a shark mistakes your board for a seal and takes a chomp out of it.”

That will teach her, Black! laughs Screen Six, joined by other readers who also laugh and then “like” my comment.

The young lady quietly sends a message. “Sorry if the kidding is supposed to be good-natured, Blackie, but I really can’t take it. My heart is stitched together with insecurities.”

Powerful word picture, commends Screen Three.

That young woman’s sentiments come to mind when, during one of my early morning “trashercize” walks, I pick up notebook paper blowing across the Rossford High School lawn. Seeing handwritten words, I realize my nine fingers hold the unspoken cry of a wounded heart.

Before you reprint this letter, cautions One (who never cautions me), have you changed the names to protect two innocents?

“I have, indeed. Otherwise, it is presented exactly as written.”

Dear Victoria,

You probably don’t know this, but losing you as a friend breaks my heart!

You probably don’t care cuz “we’re not friends” any more, but it does – it breaks my heart! Think of all we’ve been through … and you’re walking away from our friendship?

I know I can be kinda mean and I get moody, but even when I do, I’m still happier when I’m with you, cuz I think of you as my other half.

I never wanted to lose you as a friend, but I guess if that’s what you want, then … it was amazing being your friend! It was definitely a privilege!

Goodbye, old friend.

Obviously, Ariel

Wow, says Five in hushed tones. I do not know which has the greater effect on me: the fact the powerful letter is drafted by one so young, or the depth of the pain she suffers at the loss.

“Same here,” I reply. “Either way, I definitely feel for her.”

letter flyingI wonder how the situation played out, comments Four. Did the letter actually reach the hands of Victoria, who then brusquely discarded the sentiments and let it float where it might?

What if, gasps Two, Victoria never got the note in the first place? How sad is it that she forever may be unaware of just how much Ariel truly cares?

Maybe, suggests One, you should fold the paper, seal it in an envelope boldly inked with Miss Victoria’s name, and turn it in at the high school office.

All six screens continue to pour forth ideas, but their well-intentioned debate is to no avail. Rather than weigh what should be done with such a soul-searing letter, I am far, far away and lost in thought about the contents.

I also again think of the “surfer’s” comments, and I wonder what causes a young woman, beautiful of face and bright of mind, to find herself “stitched together with insecurities” at the very edge of adulthood? Where are those who mean most in life, who bring confidence and assurances and approval to the days of a teen?

Your own family provided those elements in immeasurable quantities, murmurs Five who, unnoticed, has slipped away from the six-screen brainstorm. How different would your days be without ceaseless expressions of love from parents and sibs?

Back to Ariel and painfully penned prose. “Please,” her letter says without saying so, “know that you are important to me even if you believe yourself nothing to others. Bask in our friendship and find strength in my honoring of you as a person of merit. We all disguise our ‘off’ days, but I have felt free to show you mine because I trust you to handle seeing that side of me. Stay close and allow me the unending treasure of your acquaintance.”

Your many friends also have blessed you, notes Six. They are your shelters from the storm, preserving you in the waning hours of hope, drinking deeply of your mournful tears, supporting you in your impossible dreams.

I stand in awe as one who truly has it all – “all” being that which really matters in the world, such as time, attention, care. Understanding this, I read Miss Victoria’s sad song a final time, then bow my head, asking that her simple but sincere request be heard and granted despite lost letters and unyielding hearts.

Too, I pray all who find themselves “stitched together with insecurities” these days be remade with fine steel cords woven of imperishable love and courageous friendship.

Your best Valentine’s Day gift ever, whispers Three. Now, would it be OK to nibble a few chocolates before you give Miss Laura the box?

 

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