Dear Jack,

Please forgive the impersonality of my writing this email on behalf of Dolores. She has a message for you that is difficult to deliver, and as her friend I agreed to be the messenger. (Please don’t shoot me.)

Dolores thought my writing to you would be the most efficient and least painful way to handle the situation before us. She is understandably very concerned about hurting you and is caught up in worry, I’m afraid, about what your reactions might be to the news I am about to share. Please understand that she is very simple, a person with gentle soul and such a pacifist at heart that she does not want there to be a to-do made about this. I have asked her to focus on the message she wishes me to give you, but I can see it is hard for her. When you are the topic, she becomes distracted or focused on other things, and I can only assume she must be remembering special moments. Perhaps she feels mesmerized under your gaze or by the way your hands make motions in the air when you talk, and her senses simply abandon her. I regret in some ways that I am only writing and not able to hear your feedback, as I wonder if you have any idea of your effect. On Dolores, I mean.

You must know that our dear Dolores is sweetly temperamental but overly sensitive, and so this whole situation is not easy for her (as evidenced by the fact she has pressed me into this service instead of handling it herself). So enough prologue, here is the truth: Your relationship with her is not working. This isn’t a shock, right? I only mean that I wouldn’t imagine it would be…you being so sensitive and intuitive and smart. As an aside, I have to admit I noticed for some time that things were not quite right between the two of you – I have sensed some kind of tension or something very like incompatibility. I thought perhaps I was imagining things, but no, I could see in my dear friend’s eyes a dull gaze of something unwarm on those occasions where I spent time with the two of you, and it concerned me. In your eyes, your sea-green eyes, I would see something else. Your eyes are so depthless, the frame of lashes sooty and charming. I have mentioned this to Dolores, about your eyes, but she only furrowed a confused brow. Anyway!

So – Dolores shared with me that you have asked her repeatedly what she wanted from you in a relationship, and that she could not answer. Be assured, even to me and without you in the room, she could not answer that question. Because I care about her well-being and happiness, I have posed the same question to her throughout the arc of your relationship. Dolores’s answers never seem to be able to settle on any one thing and so I would offer some responses for her to “try on,” to see if they were possibly the things she would like from you. I asked if she wanted to reach across the space between you and touch you, especially your laugh lines around your mouth or your dark hair where it curls on your collar. I asked if she wanted to know what moves you, what you are made of. I asked if she wonders what would make you happy. Most recently, I asked if she simply wishes she could sit in a café across from you and confess all her feelings and not worry what time it is or who might spy you. Dolores had no answer to this, and even laughed when I asked it, because of course this is absurd and she doesn’t have to wonder. Perhaps that’s the problem? Yes, it suddenly occurs to me that perhaps your familiarity (almost as though you are brother and sister, not lovers) with one another has lowered the quality of your interactions. Whatever the case, you are unfortunately not well matched.

We all know some relationships just don’t work out, and no one is to blame for this. The dissatisfaction and the frustration Dolores feels is real, and for you, too, it must be very hard. As Dolores’ friend, I have asked her to consider how she can desert her own well-being by sleepwalking through a hopeless situation. Surely you have a good friend who would ask the same of you? For both of you, there is a such a price to be paid for living so mediocrely. Dolores simply cannot put her heart, nor yours, through this any longer.

I am passionate person, Jack, and from what I gather, so are you, so I know you will understand where I am coming from. If you only have one life to live, don’t live it complacently. You cannot do this anymore, can you?—doing things by halves or quarters, asking yourself where you and Dolores are headed, if you could be serious about her or vice versa, etc. She isn’t really emotionally available, and that must be so difficult—I know it would be for me. Actually, it occurs to me that when Dolores introduced you to me, I strangely felt and sensed things about you and was surprised that the two of you had decided to pair up. But love is a funny thing and it often doesn’t make sense, so I didn’t think overmuch about it. Who can reason with love? But it’s not love, after all.

As I write this letter, I realize how impersonal it is to let you know this way that Dolores is exiting your relationship. I realize it would be much more fair and even-handed of me to meet with you so I can help you to understand and to answer any questions you may have.

Would you like that, Jack? I’m sure Dolores would understand, as she once cared about you and cannot mean that you should suffer! As a courtesy to her, and because she is my great friend, I feel I must prevent her being seen as cruel.

Write me back and we can set up a place and time. Or perhaps you’d prefer something private, in which case, you are welcome to come over this evening and we can chat about this, and other things.

Your friend,