It came in the mail early in the morning, a big fat package wrapped clumsily in packing tape. It was handed to me without the slight notion of it’s significance, the mailman smiling nonchalantly as he asked me to sign my name and absorb another three dollars for shipping; the nerve. He said he couldn’t bear to throw them out but couldn’t keep them. “What am I supposed to do with them?” I spit this into the phone, thinking my venom would somehow come through the line and wrap the chord around his throat. There were sixty-three. Sixty-three old letter opened and read, some cried over. Two years of letters sent back and forth from across the world, multiple postage on each, some with jokes written on the front. I recognized that phase where I thought stationary should match, and some of the letters are written on expensive cardstock instead of notebook paper shoved into manilla envelopes.
I sat there for a long time with them, just staring at the things. It was the beginning of summer in the city, and the sweltering heat had hit the north, a wrecking ball breaking down the barrier that keeps us in all winter. I could hear the chaos on the street and I liked it, slowly mingling as it rose until all I could hear was a dull hum. I liked it, it made me feel a little less, and that was always a welcome change.
I picked up the first letter, unsure if I should open it, everything was so new. He once told me I was the kind of girl he could be sad with. I didn’t really know what that meant, didn’t really know what the meaning of it was at the time. Perhaps he was just sad, maybe I was the sad one, truth be told we didn’t spend enough time together to make that clear. All I can think about are the airports, glossed over, the fatigue and the weariness gone, the passengers less interrogating. All I can see is his eyes when we would meet at the gate, and he would say “hey beautiful”, I could have died right there.
I open the first letter,slowly, trying my best not to disturb the things that remain so beautiful in my memory, holding my breathe, fearing that some sort of air will come out of this thing that will make my heart break into ten million more pieces. The air is thick, and the paper is crumpled and covered with kisses.
I tell him I will love him forever, that the beat of his heart is in sync with mine, and I feel him at all times. ” There is no happiness such as this” I say, “and I know I will never find it again.” I stop reading after that, and put the thing down. There are no more tears left in me, my eyes have nothing left. Instead I look at the pile, with an ache in my chest that is so huge and physical and real. This can’t be it, it can’t be. Blank packages full of letters and blank smiles from post men, is this what we have become?
Everything in life is so transient isn’t it, cut down and melded, we try to make things last, to make things meaningful. We say forever and always and love and sorrow, but it’s all just sand slipping through fingers, just old letters in a box, just old memories.