I wandered down blocks of streets for I don’t know how long and watched the ground pass by my feet. When I looked up, I didn’t recognized a single building, not even a street sign. I swear I thought that I had walked to another town entirely. But what I didn’t see right away, what I should have recognized immediately, is that I was at my front door. Not my front door now—I live in an old apartment building with a radiator that chooses at whim when to not let me freeze to death—but the door of the warm home we shared long ago when you still thought I was good at something, so good in fact that you stayed with me all those 26 years. You left when you realized that I never was any good, not skill-wise nor other-wise. You loved me for who I almost was, and I almost loved you back. And all that almost lovin’ was just enough to make us believe that we were happy. And maybe we were.
You weren’t easy on the eyes, Stella, but you could stir a man’s soul. I didn’t care whether you had one head or three, least of all whether you were good at anything. You were a warm body on a cold night, a person who wanted to be with someone important. I was a sorry excuse for a writer, but your blind faith—your ignorance—gave me hope.
I’m home now from my long walk, and I’m typing, tossing and retyping a letter. This letter. This letter to you, Stella, or to me, or to some other cad out there in the world who is amused by my attempt at a thank you. I want to invite you to the book signing, but I can’t decide whether doing so is in poor taste. Surely you’ve seen the window displays in the bookstores with my face and name painted, written, etched, into every corner and fold of fabric in the window cases. The bookstore on 29th has a sign out front advertising the event this Saturday. Maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe you’ll show up. The book is about you, after all, and how you loved and left me. I changed our names to protect our innocence, to portray our life together as a work of fiction by exposing it for what it was. But I left out the most important part of our story; it’s the part that came after us—the part I have reserved for this letter to you. And here it is: Dear Stella, had it not been for your loss of faith in me, I would have never amounted to a hill of beans.