For Melissa, Wherever She Is

This is an apology in a bottle, scrawled on a piece of paper, crumpled and stuffed and corked and tossed onto the waves. I don’t expect it to get to the person who needs to hear it. Who I’d like to hear it. There are things we break, people we hurt, and we cannot undo them. The most we can do is give those things to God and let God do whatever fixing needs to be done. I’ve broken a few such things in my life. But this, for Melissa, this is something I’ve needed and wanted to say for a long, long time.

Melissa, I’m sorry I was not the person you needed and wanted. I’m sorry I treated you so badly, that I was so cruel and heartless. That I used you. I was 19, and incapable of being the kind of person who could have loved you the way that you needed to be loved. I was not the person who could have accepted who and what you were and were willing to give me.
I think about you a lot. I pray about you often. I hope you found the love and comfort and belonging you were looking for. You were a sweet, cheerful and persistent woman, and I hope that has carried you through your dark places. It is not that I wish things between us could have been different — it took encountering Jennifer to truly become someone better than I was, but you and Jennifer had much in common, and it was her that made me remember you, your life, your struggles, and how I did not contribute much (or any) joy — but I do wish I could have been someone different than the person you met.  
I hope that the electrons, the ether, the spirit, carry this message, if to no other place than your soul. I hope you have found joy, had a good life, have loved and been loved. I cannot, and will not, ask you to forgive me. If you even remember me. I remember you. I will always remember you.