Robert had been saying that he wanted me to help him write a letter to his mother. I’d been putting him off, “We’ll talk about it later.” I had visions of long paragraphs spiraling into nowhere and I didn’t have the patience to make sense of it. One of his pastors turned him down too. Robert said that the pastor had confessed that he couldn’t read or write either. I assume that Robert was filling some gaps in the story or that the pastor has a cruel sense of humor. Finally, yesterday, I said, “Okay. Let’s get this letter written.” And this is what Robert dictated to me:
Sorry I can’t make it down for your birthday. I’ll try to figure out a gift to send you for Mother’s Day. I hope you’re feeling well.
From your son,
I tried to draw him out, “Is there anything else you want to say?” “No, that was it.” We went out and got a card, he chose a postcard with Mount Rainier on it. I asked him for his mother’s address. He thought for a second, before admitting that he no longer had it.