Unsent letters to everyone I have once loved

Sanjana Ganesh
3 min readSep 15, 2023

Dearest,

It has been days since I have written to you. The last time I did, you answered briefly, and never asked me how I was in return. It might have perhaps mattered once. It does not now.

I'm writing to ask if life is progressing as per plan. If you're still siding with the occasional dictators of the world. If your sisters are well and if your mother still persists with her school teacher discipline. How are your beautiful wife and children? Were they happy to see you? Is your friend's cancer treatment progressing well?

I see that you are travelling the world now. Are Budapest and Vietnam everything they promise to be? I’m looking to head to the land of Ho Chi Minh someday. I will look to you for advice on places to see and people to meet. Or perhaps just resort to reading Anthony Bourdain’s guide. He says this: "Vietnam. It grabs you and doesn’t let go. Once you love it, you love it forever." I hope my appetite returns in time. I’m not eating too well lately.

How is your cat and how do you spend your nights now? Do you read as you did before you met me? Or talk to several other dashing young women who fawn over your brooding presence?

Weren’t you looking for a house that has enough shelves to store your books? Remember the Penguin Box sets we bought hoping to place it in the hall of a home we once dreamt of sharing? Do you have more now that you are building an empire? Did you always support the right when we were together? Seems strange to see the odd hyper-nationalism tweet.

What music are you listening to now?

I have a serious bone to pick with you. All my life, I have forgotten both willingly and reluctantly. I remember little of my childhood and teenage years. I do not remember the poems I read, the year of the sepoy mutiny or what I wore to graduation. But I remember these little notes about your day — when you hum and how you giggle. What is the procedure to forget?

Are you okay?

I’m not. Okay, I mean. I’m stuck between somewhere and nowhere. The month, months, years, lifetimes, we spent together are now playing in my head and the only thing I can think about is how happy I was when everything was fine. I don’t remember the terrible things you and I said.

Now, life is a different kind of fine. A fine that has a strapping man who loves me. I cannot fathom why. My heart aches for all the ills it has committed and it seeks redemption. It feels strange to carry so much heaviness. It has been a while since I’ve felt what I’m feeling.

You seem completely fine. Can you tell me that it will be okay? The reassurances that my friends provide are not working. I’m looking to randoms like Tennyson to tell me that I must have a heart for any fate.

Do you think so too?

Actually, do not answer that.

You don’t need prompting, do you.

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