A recent post talked about letters unwritten. This one is about long letters painstakingly written to a friend who can’t read, and which are never sent. It’s curious that Singer continues to write them even though he never posts them. And that he never posts them even though he regularly goes to the post office to send money and cartoons to the same friend. It is sad that the letters end up being destroyed. Given John Singer’s character, they were probably full of human feeling and observation.
‘The fact that Antonapoulos could not read did not prevent Singer from writing to him. He had always known that his friend was unable to make out the meaning of words on paper, but as the months went by he began to imagine that perhaps he had been mistaken, that perhaps Antonapoulos only kept his knowledge of letters a secret from everyone. Also, it was possible there might be a deaf-mute at the asylum who could read his letters and then explain them to his friend. He though of several justifications for his letters, for he always felt a great need to write to his friend whenever he was bewildered or sad. Once written, however, these letters were never mailed. He cut out comic strips from the morning and evening papers and sent them to his friend each Sunday. And every month he mailed a postal money order. But the long letters he wrote to Antonapoulos accumulated in his pockets until he would destroy them.’
Source: Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, p. 187