A Bond As Strong As Blood

Dear Teacher:

I sat in front of my computer, browsing social media and watching random internet videos, a habit I developed as I aged. Then I got stuck on a picture that was taken way back in my childhood, high school days to be exact. It gave me a smile as I looked back at the time where I got the taste of the real world. It filled me with nostalgic delight, the next hour spent staring at the ceiling while reminiscing. Then it hit me, I wanted to write you a letter. So I grabbed my phone and started typing.

I had so much to tell you and share with you. I wanted to tell you just how much I appreciated all the things you told me, how I tried to live by every word. Excitement coursed through my body as I tried to make up the words to type. Do I open it formally or casually? What was I going to tell you?

I didn’t care, as long as I was able to write something, I was happy. So I did.

But, every attempt wasn’t sitting well with me. It would start warmly then quickly descended to sadness, for I really had nothing interesting to say. I haven’t achieved anything yet that was worth any recognition. So my excitement quickly turned to frustration, then to self-loathing. I threw my phone in disgust, and tried sleeping on it. I mean, I could start my letter with a “How are you?” but what else can I add? A letter shouldn’t be conversational, I told myself. And so I sat there in my bed, my phone at my feet. The blank screen looked so inviting, beckoning me to write.

So I did. And here it is:

I know this is kind of sudden, your high school student writing something after all these years. I’m actually not sure if you will be able to read this. But I wanted to tell you something that I have been holding back on; something I could never tell another soul that I met through my journey in life.

To the person who always believed in me, thank you. When I was having self-doubts, you gave me encouragement. When I was feeling self-hatred, you told me that you were always there for me. And most of all, when I was losing grip on reality, you slapped me with the harsh truth.

I was still at the age where I was unsure; about life, love and the future. Where my parents lacked, you were there to fill in. You always wanted to sit down and have a talk with me, wanting to know my dreams, fears or anything remotely related to me. At first I didn’t understand why you were doing what you did—I mean, you were also going through something. I tried diverting the topic whenever we were talking, but still you insisted on talking about me. I was uncomfortable, so I wasn’t opening up that much.

Then one day, you told me something that struck deep under my skin. With a voice only a loving mother could make and a smile so warm it could melt ice, you told me, “I can see in your eyes that you have so much to tell, so let me listen to you.” Your eyes glimmered with anticipation, as if you were interested in anything I had to say. But that just made me tear up, and you did too.

I know a simple letter is not enough to show the amount of thanks I want to tell you, but it can be the start. I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch for a long time, I don’t even know if you’re still teaching at my old high school. So I’m writing this letter not to send to you, but to show others that even though we are not related by blood, a teacher can just be as loving and caring as our own parents. We may not say it to you in person, but know that the lessons you taught us are always here in our hearts; not the knowledge, but the wisdom.

And with that last line, I lost my train of thought. I didn’t know how to end the letter. But then I realized I didn’t want to write an ending. Because from that emotional day up until my last, I will be grateful to you. I just wish I could find the courage to talk with you again, face to face. I know you still have so much wisdom to share, and now I am willing to listen to everything.

Sincerely,

EJ

***

Teachers, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. A single day of celebration is not enough to showcase the sacrifices you make, the restless nights, stressful mornings and the tiresome inbetweens. These things cannot be bound by a single day of celebration. But we know the one thing every teacher wants to see in their students when they walk out of the school into the real world. Success, for where we succeed in life, the teachers that helped us get it are also there with us.

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