It’s 8:40. I’ve been up for three hours trying to shake off a bad night’s sleep. When I walked downstairs, I figured out why, and you—my brown-eyed friend—are responsible. At least partially.
They they were—your letters, the box—near the base of the stairs just where I’d left them after sharing a visual look at the size of my task with a friend. I passed them by, warmed a cold cup of coffee from yesterday’s brew, sipped to test for appropriate heat and
In writing to you, I’m writing to me. In reading your letters, I’m finding you all over again. Or you’re finding me.
Usually the box shares the bed where I work with a laptop propped on a pillowed tray and my back propped against numerous pillows to save my lower back from sitting all day in a desk chair. Evenings I place the laptop aside, watch a little TV, move the back-propping pillows to the unoccupied side of the bed, and curl on my side under the blankets until my knees come against the letter box on the bedspread. It’s become my near-constant companion—this cardboard and paper presence. Last night it was not. Ergo, a lousy night’s sleep.
I’m right as rain now. Second cup of reheated coffee at hand and the box within sight as I write, the crankiness dribbled away. Here’s a picture:
Remember the “fistful” of letters I mentioned in an earlier letter? More than a fistful, they fill the shoebox pictured. Our Aimee returned them. I wish you could see her. Meet her husband. Meet her son and daughter, the middle two of your six incredible grandchildren. I could (and maybe I will) fill a box of equal size (not the shoebox, the big one) with letters describing our children, their children—the families descending out of us. Remember the letters you wrote with visions of our future family? “Mr. & Mrs. Alphonse L. Doiron, Inc.” We were going to manufacture babies, little Doirons. And we did.
Alsie, sorry, I must cut this short. It’s Tuesday here in Baja—bridge game day for me. They won’t want me un-showered.
And it said that you … these words run off the page and I wonder what my short letter to you said about me. Did I offer an apology for my short letter? Tell you I needed to say goodbye so I could meet friends, take in a movie, or make it to Mama’s and Daddy’s for dinner on time? Maybe my excuse was I needed to catch some shuteye before the alarm went off and another day of work for Pac Bell demanded my presence. I don’t have the letter in hand. The photo above was taken in November of last year. The letter, restored to its envelope, and the envelope filed chronologically with the hundreds of other letters—is out of immediate reach.
What is reachable, palpable, is an echo of guilt. Not the kind of guilt to cause huge amounts of self deprecation, but a gauzy veil of nickel-blue guilt I can see through. Clarity’s missing. I see the girl, the young bride who sent short letters to the boy “on alert” who doesn’t “know what’s up”. She’s a shadow, a cloud, a transparent mist, a flesh-and-blood girl too busy with life to write you a proper letter. She’s me. And I’m me. And you …
Sometimes this task is more than I can handle. I have the words. Acres of words. It’s harvesting them, making sense out of what was shared, is shared even now. This guilt business—is a bad weed. Makes me think of the kudzu blanketing trees along Georgia highways and byways. I can’t seem to untangle myself from its grip. But I will.
I will by signing off for the moment. It’s best, don’t you think?
I listen for a response, that patient/impatient hum. Nada. I smile, deciding you’ve drifted into sleep. That’s ok. I’ll be back, poke you with lines from your past and mine.
Love, love, love, Lynnsie