Challenge Day 6: Letter To A Stranger

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

Trying to catch up. Now I’m just cheating. Wrote this years ago under an Ambien fog. Will post Day 7 later today and hopefully be back on track by tomorrow morning.

Let us pray,


Dear Mr. Mraz,

I’m pretty sure you’re don’t know me. Actually, I’m quite sure you don’t know me. My name is Bassey. It’s not pronounced at all like you think. Much like Mraz isn’t pronounced like I originally thought it was. But I can’t remember what that is now because it’s been a few years since I discovered your music so I’m not sure why I even brought it up. Let’s start over.

Dear Mr. Mraz,

May I call you Jason, Mr. Mraz? I have to tell you that your songs got me through a summer in Edinburgh and a year on tour. I don’t “have” to tell you. I just feel compelled to tell you. Compelled is also the wrong word.

This is going horribly. I meant to write you an insightful and short note about how I quote your lyrics and share them with strangers and about the night in Edinburgh when I listened to your Live at Java Joe’s all night and stared out on the street, marveling at the number of stars and the way they fell over the hill. And how whenever I hear your songs from around that time, it’s a Pavlovian response to smile and remember how frightening and exciting and beautiful those moments were; even if my heart was breaking in the most absurd of ways.
I feel like you get thanked a lot for your music. But I’m not sure you understand how important you are. I tell people all the time when I recommend you “He’s having so much fun. Even when he’s breaking your heart you know that after he cried he went somewhere and laughed for a really long time. And then wrote the song…” I’m not sure if you cry but your lyrics ring true in a way I’m not sure I understand. I just know that when life hurts in those tiny little paper cut ways, sometimes it’s something as simple as a the perfect verse wrapped around an easy song that helps it ache less. 

The other day, someone I used to care about reminded me that he cares only for himself. So when he feels small in a world that alternately worships and rejects him he lashes out in ways that melt everyone who falls near him. And the closer you are, the more venom and fire.
It’s not something I understand. It’s not something I will ever understand. From the not sure why I don’t hang up to the trying to decipher it in order to fit my truth in. I listened. I wondered if any part of it could be true. I can’t believe him so hateful. So ungrateful. So ugly. Can’t fashion myself a victim though I feel wounded so I’m sure I deserve it somehow.  Maybe I’m as miserable and hateful as he says.
Maybe it’s true. Maybe a part of it. Maybe I’ll listen long enough to see if I can agree with something. And maybe I listen because I do a little. And maybe I listen because maybe he’ll talk himself out of this arrogance and selfishness and land on one kind word. Maybe
One ounce of gratitude. One minutia of sensitivity.
Or something…

Or maybe I’ll just listen to The Remedy again.


I have a son. He’s five months today. He’s amazing. I’m sure all babies and all mothers are and think the same but seriously… this one.
That’s not as much of a non sequitor as it appears. That’s more information than you probably care to know about some random woman, randomly messaging you because she read your blog and you talked about your grandmother and you love her and you like ice cream and I think about this boy of mine and he’ll one day eat ice cream and  I hope he knows that I’m doing the best I can.

I’m doing the best I can…

So you’re on my ipod right now. That’s probably why I’m writing you. And you’ll probably never read this but in case you do. In case one night, you’re in Tokyo or somewhere exotic and fancy like Buffalo and you’re tired. And you can’t stand another room service menu. Maybe you’ll read this. And maybe you’ll feel better about the hotels and the stages and the room service and the screaming and you’ll sleep easier or feel better about the beds you’re in and you won’t regret a moment of this life… or maybe, just maybe you’ll think about this email and you’ll say to yourself, “I wonder if the kitchen is still open.” And you’ll order the cheesecake well past the hour where cheesecake is appropriate. And you’ll feel good about it. All of it.


I hope  you’re having a good one. I hope you know how much you matter to a  scared girl in a quiet apartment in Brooklyn and the same girl, scared and quiet in Edinburgh. She will never forget the way the music soothed her nervous circles. 

Bassey Ikpi.

PS. Thank you for 0% Interest, especially the last verse.