Dear No One,
To most people, traveling the world is a luxury and a privilege. There is so much to be enjoyed: food, conversation, sites. But because of you, a place I used to find solace and adventure, has become a personal hell.
When I was younger, you were a mentor — someone I looked up to. Age alone can do this. When we came to visit, you showed us around, had us try your favorite coffee shops, and even introduced us to your friends at the restaurant. House wine, bread, laughter… you could not want more while abroad with people you love.
It was not until truth was spoken into me that I realized how much hurt you caused, and I will never be able to reconcile what you did.
It would not be fair to call you by name. It would not be fair to explain all that you have done. But it also was not fair for you to do what you did to me.
Now, I will think of the place I used to love and remind myself to never go there again. The pictures I have will be like that of a history book, for the sake of old memories and lessons to be learned.
Not only am I no longer able to trust you, but everyone I love must now suffer the reality you willingly imposed upon me.
Only time can uncover truth. Truth has a way of excavating even the most secret of secrets.
Time is the only barrier I had between you and me. The more I allowed time to take hold, the more distance I had between the reality of what happened and the fiction I decided to live in. Living in the truth did not seem possible while you were still living. It was ugly and far too painful.
How was I supposed to heal? How was I supposed to go through my life knowing you were somewhere living yours?
I trusted you and you betrayed me. You betrayed them, too.
All that time, I blamed myself. It was my fault and I wanted to be punished.
And that is how I learned the weight of shame and the power of forgiveness.
What good did it do for me to dance around the subject only to torment myself every time it came to mind? What good came out of hiding it out of sight?
For even as we hide in the darkness, the light still comes searching for us.
And it came to me, fiercely.
I told him about it and he allowed space for the light. We cried and cried and cried. I could not be consoled, but the light made truth known and now I am free.
But you will never be free.
Your child will grow up and never know who you are or what you have done. You can’t even believe it.
It was only through forgiveness that I have been made anew; that I was able to dust off and move on for the first time in three years.
No more nightmares. No more anxiety.
Truth has made itself known and I am no longer shackled to the floor of shame.
If I could say anything to you now, I would tell you to let the light in. I may not be ready to forgive you, but I can at least forgive myself. And that’s what I want for you, too: Forgiveness. Give yourself the chance to have a better and fuller life. Let forgiveness open the door to humility and you may one day be free.
If I don’t want that for you, I am no better than you are.