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My Dearest William,

Have you forgotten your old friend? It has been notably longer than usual to have not received a reply from you. Or perhaps you have got caught up in the chaos of life, too busy in the day and too tired in the night to write? If that is the case, do take all the time you need, William. I am an impatient fellow, as you know, but I of all people can sympathize: time has a way of slipping by.

Despite my better rationalizations, I fear that my last letter may have got lost in transit, and my deepest, sincerest apologies were lost as well. How I would hate for your last word from me be such miserable nonsense as was that dreadful letter! O how I wish I never wrote such vile things... had such vile thoughts! If this is indeed the case — that my latest letter never found its way to you please know I take it all back, William. I am still the friend you know and love.

Yours, for-ever,
Edward Poole
24 Thornewood Rd.
July 20th 1789

***

Dear William,

My heart is heavy with worry... I am now sure I have offended you deeply. Please accept my sincerest apology.

Most sincerely,
Edward Poole
24 Thornewood Rd.
July 29th 1789

***

William,

Though I am now convinced that this letter will receive no response, I find it impossible not to write you. It is too deeply ingrained in my routine... you are too deeply ingrained in my thoughts to change my habit. I take you with me when I work for Master White, I take you when I work alone in my basement laboratory, and I take you with me to bed each night... The longer I live without a letter, the more it seems my mind insists upon conjuring you. The thought of you haunts me, William, torments me... Still, it is better than not having you at all.

Please, if this letter reaches you, if you read these words before throwing the parcel into the fire, write me back. Or, if anger or disgust at me forbids even putting pen to paper, I ask for only a blank page to confirm your good health. Should I receive the unwritten letter, I will write you back only to confirm its arrival. Thereafter, unless you choose to write me in return, I shall cease sending my unwanted letters.

Yours,
Edward Poole
24 Thornewood Rd.
August 10th 1789

***

William,

As promised, I write this letter simply to confirm receipt of your empty parcel and to confirm my acknowledgement of your wish to cease communication.


Edward Poole
24 Thornewood Rd.
September 13th 1789

***

Dear William,

I can't begin to describe the emotion that possessed me when I spied your name among the morning's mail. First, I was in a state of utter disbelief. "William?" I thought, "Certainly I am mistaken!" When I confirmed the name on the return address was yours, and that the familiar handwriting was of your strong, precise hand, I must admit I was terribly apprehensive to open the envelope. Why, it has been nearly six months since I sent that final letter, one that simply conveyed my understanding of your wish to be rid of me indefinitely. "So what good can come of this?" thought I, as I held the unopened letter. "What terrible news awaits within this letter?"

Even so, my hesitation lasted but a moment, as my curiosity grew that much stronger. I opened the letter and read your news. Even now, long past bedtime, I struggle to accept what I now know to be true. I suppose a true friend should have a different reaction to this announcement, but you of all people know that we are not friends. I need not elaborate on this statement, nor will I disclose the extent of my disappointment. You know what you have done.

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