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Love Letters Sent and Responses Received, Without Commentary

1. “I understand that your family’s primary concern is that J____ – the sister and daughter you love deeply – is a healthy, happy, self-aware person who is capable of receiving and giving love in her relationships without becoming needy, or domineering, or dishonest, or manipulative, or unkind. It’s what we wish for all the people that we love. Of course, we may feel differently about where same-sex relationships fall into the happy/healthy/appropriate spectrum, but I do understand that you all want the best for her.

I want to assure you that while our beliefs may diverge at certain points, the fundamentals remain the same. I believe J____ to be a wonderful woman and I feel lucky that she’s chosen to be with me. Any family that could have produced a person like her is a family worth listening to and respecting. She is honest, tender, patient, inquisitive, and honorable. That your parents were responsible for raising her makes me both impressed and grateful. It’s not my intention to provoke or dissect their beliefs about sexuality. That’s an issue between them and their god, and any friends or family members with whom they choose to share their questions, struggles, and frustrations. I do not see it as my place to begin arguments or conflict.

You’re absolutely right: this is a journey that will take time. I cannot predict where my relationship with J____ will be six months or a year or two years from now. I would never try to force my company onto anyone who did not want it – whether that be J____ , your parents, or anyone else. I do hope, however, that as long as our relationship does last, I can try my utmost to treat your family with kindness, respect, and friendliness.

More than anything, I want your parents to know that I think their daughter is a very important, very special person. I strive to make sure that I treat her with the respect and honor that I would want any family member of mine to be shown. Our relationship, I hope, is and will continue to be a healthy one. I would never treat her cavalierly or with disrespect, and I want them to know that.”

2. “I miss you wretchedly. I love you terribly. Write me a love letter and my next will be better than this one, I promise.”

3. “Dear Sean K.,

I’m sorry that N____ told you yesterday that I liked you because I don’t. Not that I DON’T like you, I just don’t like anyone right now which is what I told her when she asked me so I don’t know why she said that. I only said I liked your metallica shirt. I don’t like anyone right now even though you are a cool guy.”

4. “My book about God, given to the lord
Written by Mallory
Colerd by Mallory 
God loves us he sent his son to die
John helped people who sinned
We can show his love by being nice!”
(illustrations not pictured)

5. “How easily you now live without me; how awkwardly and clumsily and foolishly I live without you. I hope this does not embarrass you to read; it does not embarrass me to say. The pain, anyhow, is past. To love you without hope or expectation feels expansive. There is nothing that I need from you, nothing you can say or do in response to it – only know that there is nothing about you that I find unlovely. That I cherish you, deeply and profoundly and without reservation. That you should exist in this world – that I should have been with you – that I have been able to know both suffering and joy at your hands – seems like an extravagant gift, one for which I am forever and unutterably grateful.

I am not sad; I am not lonely. I have found myself capable of love that is unaffected and unassailable by circumstances and I am forever better for it. If this seems overwhelming or simply odd – well, I have unquiet thoughts, a disordered heart and an anxious spirit and I can only apologize for them.

If there is anything coherent or sane to be taken from this it may be that whatever hurts I have felt are all passing, and cannot outweigh or contaminate the hugeness of my happiness. You are a remarkable man. I love you unrestrainedly. I will still have to guard myself with you, practically speaking. But I have nothing left to fear; I have gone through the worst of it now and you were worth all of it.”


A. An “Angry Beavers”-themed Valentine’s Day card inscribed with “you’re cool too.”

B. Nothing (yet).

C. “Here is the tricky part: Your relationship with J____  (my sister and my parents daughter) is one that we believe is wrong Biblically. I say that not to annoy you or piss you off or get you in a bad mood…i think you know all that. I’m pretty sure J____  has let you know where I stand, where our family stands on the subject of “homosexual” relationships. We are also Christians, and I say that to say we are to, and do try to treat others just as Jesus treated others: With Love.

So where is a balance of : What is treating with Love? What is compromising beliefs yada yada yada…same boring stuff you’ve probably heard a million times before. Am i right? I’ve heard ananalogy kind of like this before (i write this with caution…so please dont read to far into it, i think in just the couple of times we’ve talked you know I am not a mean spirited person, and would never do anything to anyone ..especially a friend of the family and especially of J____ – I mean that with all that I am!)…so the analogy …Imagine if you will your father called you and said: “hey – I’ve got a mistress. I know it may seem weird, but I believe that the Bible teaches that having a mistress is ok, and I’m ok with it. Your mother doesn’t seem to like it, but i’m ok with it. I would like you to get to know her.” Now at this point your thinking… dont even know me and your calling me a whore …bzzzz wrong. Please dont think i’m doing that ….What I am saying is this: I’m pretty sure you believe that your father having a mistress would be wrong…especially since he is happliy married to your mother…and that the thought that he would desire you to get to know her and talk to her…well its somewhat repulsive.”

D. A high-five.

E. “This is Wolfy.

He looks more like a llama than a wolf, but never mind that. I’ve had him for as long as I can remember, probably since before the age of one. I used to do little puppet shows with him and my other stuffed animals from behind our couch in E____.

I used him to tell stories to N____  when N____ was a baby. I remember taking him to the zoo and the monkeys freaked out so much when they saw him that a zoo security guard had to ask us to leave the exhibit (Wolfy would have kicked their asses).

I amputated his tongue when I was 10 because it had gotten all gnarled and disgusting, and it had come attached to the front of his mouth at one point. He can still talk though, and plenty of anaesthetic was used at the time.

He is the only toy I’ve kept from childhood. I’ve had him with me my whole life. And I’d like you to have him, because I want you to have this piece of me while we’re apart, and the only thing I want to have with me my whole life now is you.

So: he can tell you all about my past, and you can keep him up-to-date on my future. I love you.”


1 = C, 2 = E, 3 = A, 4 = B, 5 = D.

Mallory Ortberg is a writer in the Bay Area. Her work has also appeared on Slacktory and Ecosalon.


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