Dear Beatrice, from Aunt Grace

Dear Beatrice,

Someone deeply hurt you in the past and now you keep everyone back with sharp repartee. You keep your emotions tightly controlled behind a prickly exterior. Your wit pricks–and sometimes spikes–your audience. You would rather set them laughing than have them show pity or sympathy. I can see you are determined never to be hurt again.

Whenever Benedick visits, my dear, you come alive. Around my brother-in-law and cousin your conversation is just enough to keep them from getting maudlin or dull. However, for Benedick you become animated and your tongue is quicksilver. Now, hear me out, my darling niece, I haven’t finished yet. I am just telling you what I observed at my last extended visit.

I think you enjoy your banter with Benedick. I am quite sure you count him a worthy opponent, someone rare who can give you back tit for tat. You know, I think you are angry with men. You think they are weak. No one is strong enough or bold enough to hold meaningful conversation with you; in fact, they are afraid of you, and you despise them for it. Isn’t this so?

Only Benedick has the wits and the boldness to fight back. It is exciting to argue with him, isn’t it? Believe me, it is richly entertaining for us, too. We’re all used to it, and in fact, when you are focused on him it gives us a brief respite. I know my brother-in-law is nervous around you, never quite sure where your words will hit next.

Benedick is charming, in a play-boy kind of way, not quite as mature as one would hope for a man of his age. Does it disappoint you when he suddenly backs down from a fight and walks off? Would that he had the stamina to continue, but you have to admit you are awfully hard on him.

You told me once that I was the only one you knew who could see the truth and wasn’t afraid to speak it plainly. Now I am telling you not to despair. Benedick is not as indifferent as you may think. Notice he is the only one who fights back, not merely humoring you or thinking you an amusing oddity. He respects you. I think he even loves you, though he may not recognize it yet. And, admit it–you are hard on him.

I foresee a time when he must choose between hanging out with his buddies and committing to the woman he loves. If he shows signs of it in your company, hold him to it. Don’t let him straddle two worlds. Give him courage to be the man he is meant to be.

May he have eyes to see the rare jewel before him (for so you are, my dear). And may he, in turn, heal your heart with trustworthiness and lively companionship.

In deep affection,

Aunt Grace

Author’s note: This is in response to the WordPress Writing101 Day #8 prompt, “Write your post as a letter”.

About lettersfromheartscontent

Mother of six, homeschool teacher, tutor with Classical Conversations, wife to a forester and educator. I tend a perennial garden with a riot of blossoms, ride my bicycle in and out of the watershed, play ocarina and a boom-chick accompaniment when my kids feel like playing contradance music. I love being home, but I love an open road and adventure, too. Classical Conversations' Writers Circle carries my article on some aspect of classical education once a month.
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