Friends in a Box


Friends in a BoxI’ve written about adulthood before. Many times. I ramble about the philosophical meaning, the raw definition, how I could every prove to either myself or my parents beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am, in fact, a fully functioning adult. You know with health insurance, a 401k and everything!

So I’m decidedly not going to write about that again today.

It seems like it would be right up my alley, really, rambling about the times when I realized I was a full blown adult, but I’ve been there, done that. I should make a t-shirt for it.

So instead, I began to think about how I’ve survived all the way to the ripe old age of 28 in a world that seems like it was literally built to destroy the human soul with a psyche that is just two steps shy of being catastrophically self-destructive.

I wouldn’t have made it on my own.

But as the song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

They’ve been there for me for all of the darkest moments in my life. Sometimes they’ve acted as my shrink. Sometimes they’ve dared me to just step over the ledge and bought me drinks when I finally backed down. Most often, though, they just distract me from the things inside my dome and keep me grounded in the simple joys of life.

Like shots.

And boobs.

So, in the spirit of today’s Scintilla Project spark, I’m going to write some letters to some people that have meant a lot to me. Some of these are letters that are recreated from my death book (AKA the Journal of Unsent Letters).

Dear ######,

Do you remember the day we sat on the balcony of my apartment? You told me you were moving away and I called you a whore in response. It was one of the lowest and darkest moments in my life. For months after that, I replayed the conversation in my head, always going differently. In the replays of the conversation, I was less bitter, less angry, less jealous. I said what I really wanted to say, what you were hoping I would say, “I’ll miss you. Good luck.” I kept on playing that conversation over and over again through all of the things that came after it.

No, that wasn’t the lowest I’d ever become emotionally, but it was the day that I realized something very important. It was a lesson that I would more or less cling to with various levels of success over the years. It was a hard lesson, and I think, one that is harder for me to maintain when I’m around you for significant amounts of time.

You’ve always had a way of cracking the calm façade that I try to project.

That was the day I realized that anger was a painful, dangerous emotion.

All of that fury had lashed out at someone I never thought I’d be able to hurt like that and it almost cost me one of my best friends.



Dear #####,

You are probably the only person I know that revels in the singularly enjoyable nature of self destruction as much as I do. Over the years we’ve somehow managed to keep each other alive despite our mutual best efforts to the contrary. The long list of horrible ideas you’ve put into my head over the years, not the least of which includes consuming vast quantities of alcohol, an introduction to a certain image board that shall remain nameless, and various other acts that fall into a legal gray area are all balanced by the infinite weight of one simple fact:

You have never once allowed me to wallow in self pity for more than a few moments.

Fuck, you’ve even indulged me in a few fits of psychotic delusion just to ensure that I came out the other side alive and mostly well.

Thanks for that, by the way.

I hope you can grow accustomed to my cramped, erratic handwriting, by the way, because though this isn’t a letter from the death book, there are a lot of them to you in it. Also, a few other instructions will fall on you as well. I don’t know anyone that can as completely and neatly destroy all data from a digital source as yourself.


PS: I’m not sure why I censor-barred your name. I’m sure everyone reading this knows who you are.


To the BORG collective,

When you found me, I was a destitute, depressed, mildly insane and damn near homeless, but you changed all of that. You gave me a group of friends and support. You discouraged me from doing some things that were rather horrifying and damaging. I am probably extremely lucky that I found you, because if you hadn’t I might have gone down a much different path with my crazy, hermetic self. I could have easily lost the will to keep going, or worse, found a group that channeled all of that pain and misery into something darker than what it was intended to be.

You guys saved my life one night at IHOP and many of you never stopped checking in on it.

I owe you a debt of many things that can probably never be paid.

I trust that you all know how much you mean to me.

Especially the Queen Bitch Mother. Without your direct intervention, on more than one occasion, I would have relapsed into the pills or worse.

You carry all of you with me in my pocket, inside my cellphone, like the friends in a box we always knew would one day come.

From the field,

8 of 9


This post is part of the Scintilla Project go and check that out now.

12 thoughts on “Friends in a Box

  1. Sandi Amorim says:

    “journal of unsent letters” …that idea really appeals to me. As does your honest take on life. 

    1. Really, it just started out as a way of dealing with some big issues from my divorce and became a bit of a running idea book.

      There are all kinds of things we want to say to people that we never will be able to bring ourselves to say.

      I plan on having this read at my funeral. I should probably go back, open it up and take a read through to keep it up to date, like a will. Some of the things it addresses have been resolved and some other things have replaced them.

      There is no reason to have everyone reliving past drama that’s been settled and buried when what I really want is to have them know how I truly felt about them, beyond how I show it in life.

  2. Stereo.* says:

    I definitely know who #2 was for lol and I loved these letters, Matt. See there *is* a tender side to you AS MUCH AS YOU HATE TO ADMIT IT.

    1. No, like the ancient Piccolo, I have taken all of my good and gooey feelings and cast them out of me as the impurities that they are.

  3. aduronia says:

    what’s funny about this prompt and the responses i’m seeing from people is that i feel like i use my blog as an unsent letter entirely too often, but the letters you are all coming up with are awesome – these included. and i echo stereo 🙂 

    1. Making amends, even with the imaginary person can be therapeutic. Also, booting someone into a mental woodchipper is very therapeutic.

      Remember that!


  4. Lindaknoles says:

    These are beautiful, Matt.  The raw emotion in them made me cry.

    1. Thanks. I do my best.

  5. Tracy Mangold says:

    I know the feeling all too well of saying the exact opposite of what you are feeling. Lashing out when you really want to hug that person. But something inside prevents you from doing it and you end up being hurtful instead. Oh I know that feeling…too well. Why do we do that? Great post. Love the idea of the letters-unsent. Cathartic in their own special and necessary way.

    1. Yes. I suggest everyone start doing that. It’s important.

      I kick myself constantly for lashing out when I shouldn’t.

      So many great friendships have been ruined because of it.

  6. Jason Benoit says:

    Really like what you did with this one. I felt like I had answered this during reverb so I left this one alone. Great post Matt. 

    1. Honestly, I wrote and rewrote this post a dozen times before I settled on doing this. Once it was on screen, it was obvious that it was intended to be this way from the beginning.

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