Formerly published in The Other Press and Cupwire. Jan. 8 2013
From Elliot Chan
Dear Letter G,
I didn’t think much of you the first time we met. I was young and ignorant and you were just amongst the other 26 letters hidden somewhere in the middle, quiet and passive. I apologize now for the way I neglected you. Remembering all of those hours wasted with vowels—those damn popular vowels. Hell, I still find myself asking sometimes, “Why?” Why couldn’t I see something so obviously in front of me? Can you blame a fool for learning? It was as I matured that my view changed about you. Learning cursive was like seeing the tomboy dolled up on prom night.
Stunning. Suddenly the “Plain Jane ‘G’” I remembered as a child was all grown up. Your curves, your points, and the way you swoop up at the end when I write you. You are like no other letter in the alphabet. Nay, there is no other character in all of language like you. You are the perfect symbol, the perfect image, and the perfect mark. There is something about that little loop on your top left, like an eye. I know you see me, winking at me. I see you too, but you know that already.
I envy the Ginos, the Gunthers, and the Guys, because I too wish I had the privilege of scripting you every time I sign as myself. I’ll think of you in every cheque I write, in ever contract I receive, and in every credit card purchase I make. Sadly, you are a rarity and a treat. I find you in intimidating moments when I open sentences with “God,” “Gun,” or “Girl,” but then you sooth me with inspirations such as “Glorious,” “Great,” and “Glad.” Regardless of the meaning, every word with you in it is significant.
I can’t help but pity other letters. The lower case “A” with its ambiguous form, the loop, the vertical line on the right, but what about the arch above? Like many others I neglect that extra modification, but some believe lower case “A” needs cosmetics. Some letters are just the means to an end. Such as the cursive lower case “R” and lower case “N,” they always look the same when I write too fast. I see nothing in them. There is no other letter with your distinct characteristics, but that is not to say they don’t try. There is the capital cursive “Q,” uncommon unless it is used as the number 2. The capital “Z” built with impressive curves, but it’s aesthetically a “J” that workouts. Your closest comparison is perhaps cursive capital “S”, but the extra flourish it requires takes away from its beauty. “G,” you remain my one and only.
I know it is crazy, because we are so different. You, the seventh letter in the alphabet, and me, a human man going through a complicated phase, but I believe we can make this work. Consider it a game or consider it growth, but whatever it is we are doing, I know you are write for me. So take a step back and look at the big picture. If your love is a prison, then I hope my sentence begins with the letter “G.”
From the tip of my pen,