"Dear Blue Eyes" by Lee Harrold

Dearest Blue-Eyes,
          I don’t know your real name, I don’t know where you’ve come from, but I know I don’t like you. That’s not true; if I didn’t like you I wouldn’t write to you. I hate you, Blue-Eyes. I hate you, and my hatred takes fewer victims than I have fingers, so just you smile, Blue-Eyes, because you are a special guy. I attend Santa Clara University, and at Santa Clara University we value diversity with emphasis on the whole person. I haven’t taken a religion class yet, but I’m pretty sure--spiritually--you’re only part of a person. I hate you for what you’re not; I can’t feel pity, and I won’t empathize with you.

         Yet I’m disturbed. I wake in cold sweats from night terrors with you. The judge, who looks like me, rules against you; but you’re acquitted because you have no peers for a jury! Let me be your juror, Blue-Eyes. We’re in this together, and I think I know the source of the problem.

          It’s your lisp; I’m sure; it must be your lisp. When you took the microphone in Locatelli and everybody else eyed your muscled v-neck and bulging blue jeans, I noted your amateaur rattle, ten-dollar haircut and elevated iPhone. I shuddered at the words, “This poem is near and dear to my heart,” and was distracted by two key lapses.

          I should have leapt on my chair and shouted, “Slay the imposter! He disrespects the vibe!”, but the moment was too rich, so I suppressed my instinct and pondered the air that ethcaped your lips twice at introduction. Next, you read the poem. You read fifty-five stanzas in a solitary tone to a crowd of enthusiasts from your iPhone 5s. In the fourth minute the room caught on, and finally I noticed your frat brothers in the second row. It was a dare. I didn’t stop you then; I wanted to watch you suffer.

          You read--head cocked, thumb hooked--about leaves and ponds and god with neither conviction nor fear, but with stiff back and steady lilt. It was your revenge for when you had to read for the class in English. Blue-Eyes, you don’t have to be angry. You didn’t have to assimilate, get pecks, sell out. Nobody’s laughing; it’s been eight minutes.

          I stood and shouted. I clapped and yelled. The crowd joined me in mock admiration, and you stepped lightly, as if you were the wounded one, left and off the stage. If we meet in the Cellar, I’ll buy you four pints of “The Tonight Dough” and explain why I was so angry.

          I had a speech impediment too. I choked on words, froze up, stopped breathing; I aspired to have a lisp. I was afraid of friends, waiters, presentations-- I refused to leave the house for fear I’d have to talk to someone. Though eventually I would grow out of the stutter, I expected to stay inside and play video games for the rest of my life.

          I admire you, Blue-Eyes, because, especially at the rational age of twelve, I could never work up the courage to take my affliction out on another person.

          In admiration,
          Lee Harrold