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But who was I kidding. It wasn’t what was in the letters that scared me. I had taken care of that. Those memories—good and bad—were filed away. Chronologically. Alphabetically. Emotionally. I didn’t have to deal with them. Out of sight…and all that. I knew it was avoidance. But I didn’t care. Then those damn cats learned how to open the black drawer. I could hear them—scratch, scratch, creak, plomp.  They took to sleeping beside the letters. They are not subtle. I think Nancy put them up to. I looked for the key to the drawer. Lost.

I knew—and the cats probably did too—that it was something far scarier than memories that kept me away from those letters. I could tell those stories. No problem. Had entertained envious friends for years with my selective memories of Amalfi and Seville.  No, what paralyzed me was the WRITING of them. There. I said it. Even the thought of putting fingers to keyboard to create(!?????) sent me immediately to endless games of Free Cell. I had a friend once who totally avoided writing his dissertation by daydreaming of making emory boards on a beach anywhere…it worked. All I had to do was keep the cats out of the drawer, the letters filed away…and an internet connection.

It didn’t work…I got the phone call…