september 2015
Dear Laura,

I do not know if you will ever read this, but my hope is that you will. I am not looking for forgiveness and I do not expect you to let me back into your life. But it is something that I need to do and something that you deserve to have. A lot has changed for me in the last year and I like to think that I am a better man because of it. I am in a program now. I have found something of a higher purpose that is guiding my life now. I am healthy and I am sober and I have you to thank for that. It took me a long time to realize what I was doing to myself and to the people around me. I never wanted anyone else's help, even though I desperately needed it. I could not accept what you tried to give me. I know now that all you wanted was to show me how much you loved me. I was too selfish to see that and I am so very sorry.

I am sorry for a lot of things. I am sorry that I was not honest about what was going on in my head and in my heart. I had never told you about my childhood and that is not an excuse, but it has a lot to do with why my father's death was so difficult for me to deal with. I loved my father dearly but he did not know how to love us. My mother's death broke him and he never recovered. I have gone my entire life trying to better myself, trying to reach further and dream bigger than he ever did because I was afraid. I was afraid of becoming him. I do not want to be like him, but by pushing you away and trying to make sense of things on my own, I went down the same path. I turned into everything that I was trying to avoid.

I did not plan the accident and I never saw the car. I only wanted to drink, to forget the pain and to numb myself to everything. But I was glad that it hit me. They told me I was smiling when the ambulance arrived. I wanted to die and I knew you did not want to hear that. But I was ready for it. Ever since my mother passed, I had always been ready for it. I would think about how it would happen and what I would leave behind. At first, it was motivating to live each day as though it would be the last. It got me into shape. It got me a job. It helped me to forget the life I had left behind in Mississippi. And then you came into my life and I wanted to savor every moment. I wanted to plan things. To think of the future. A future with you. Waking up to your face every morning and calling you mine. Starting a family.

I am so sorry I never told you this. I am sorry for all the things I said to you in the hospital in anger. Even after they told me you waited for fourteen hours while they put all the metal rods in my spine. I am sorry that I told you to leave and to never come back. I wanted you to stay but I could not bring myself to say it. There was no knowing if I would ever walk again and I never wanted to be a burden to you. I wanted you to have a man. Whole. Full. Someone who would take care of you. Who you would be proud of. I am so sorry, Laura. I am sorry that I lied to you and told you that I did not love you anymore. I am sorry I was so foolish and so fucking scared to let you in, to tell you the truth. I am so sorry I have left it until now. To write it in a letter like a coward.

I have always wanted you to have a happy life. I will never forget the time that we spent together. I wish I had never thrown it away. I did not deserve you then and I do not deserve you now, but I would like to believe that one day, maybe years from now, you will think about me and your first thought will be of the good times and not the terrible end. I loved you so very much, Laura. I still care about you and I will always want the best for you. I know that the best was not me. And I know that I gave up that chance a long time ago. But you made me very happy. There is a lot more that I would like to say to you. Words that I can only say in person. If you decide that you want to meet me, please let me know. I still have the same phone number. I am still living in the city. I work a lot more than I used to, but I will always have time for you.

If you have read this far; thank you. If you have not, I understand. If this letter is sitting unopened, decomposing in a garbage heap or burning in a fire, I understand that too. I know we can never go back. I know that the world will not stop turning just so I can wake up to reality. I know that I am opening up old hurts and I know you are not holding out for me. But I needed to tell you that I am sorry for all of it. For all the pain I have caused and any pain that this letter may be causing now. I am sorry that I miss you. I am sorry to dredge this back up. I am honestly, sincerely, sorry for everything.