The greatest letter I never sent lies in pieces. It sits in a variety of places, unhappily gathering dust, wishing to be read. No one can or will ever read this personal piece, this ode to love and darker things. I can give you hints, but the entire letter brings too much agony and pain to the surface of my blackened heart. Yet, as they say, the first cut is the deepest.

Somewhere around the beginning, I mention freedom and falcons. To fly free is my dream, yet a part of me-the part that urged this letter into existence-wishes to be chained down and never released. I yearn to touch the moon but hint at love's silken bindings, and how I might consent to be tied down.

"Above all, friendship reigns." This literary piece of art is similar to conversing with a best friend; free and easy and finally consenting to dredge up a life of pain and almost-hads. If this letter goofs things up, an olive branch is extended. Forget it ever happened and move on to lighter things. How is the family things. Boy, I feel like I stuck my whole leg in my mouth kind of things.

I confess my monstrosities, my waning faith and steel-shrouded pride. Sins and secrets spill forth, outlining my ugliness in all its horror. "Hate me," I seem to plead, "agree with the world that I'm not worth the oxygen I breathe." A lifetime of horrors and black-tongued beasts provoke these words. I beg to have their hateful words proven right, for no other reason I can discern than to prove me unworthy of love. Spite, selfishness, arrogance, ugliness-all are covered with equal brutality. Even now, I wonder what the reply to these self-flung accusations would be.

Finally I come to the meat of the story, the part that all of the skirting and rambling has rounded up to. A simple phrase, really, nothing more than three syllables that in any other order or context would mean nothing. I twist and turn and finally whisper-if you can whisper with the written word-"I love you." I explain how beautiful I find him, in mind and spirit and depth. His shy wit and self-effacing attitude caused me to become enamored. I desperately yearn to touch his smile and hear him laugh.

To make him laugh seems to have become my life's dream. He seems to have touched my soul when no one else has ever breached my many barriers. He has awakened something beautiful and shiny and new inside something that used to be used and worthless and dull. I love, and in loving, seal my thoughts to him for eternity. Welcome or not, I stand before him pleading my case.

A glorious letter, if I do say so myself. Too bad I never sent it to my secret infatuation. We are distant now, rarely talking and never thinking of What Might Have Been. I did mention, once in passing, my delicate emotions. They were reciprocated, to my outstanding joy, but now things have changed. Time and foolishness has erased our relationship. Not that there ever was one. But, known only to me is this letter, and known only to me is my foolish love, which still burns me in the middle of the night.

Tears and love last forever and go hand in hand. Regrets abound, sometimes making me wince from their cruel blades. I regret things that should make me happy, revealing my dark, lumpy, red-eyed internal demon once more. Poetry and prose cannot free me, and the truth sets no one free and instead has left me to rot. I flew with eagles, once. Now all I do is lie shivering and naked, chained to the rocks and the ground.

I loved once, and in loving, died.