Dear Letter In The Mail,
I look for you every day, though at times you have stayed away for years. I have put bundles at a time of my own letters in the mail in hopes of your reply, a sort of message in a bottle.
I dig for stationery remnants in thrift stores and tuck them inside my iris-adorned letter box. I have some with a pink tea rose design and some with sea turtles wearing sunglasses. The best letters I have ever gotten, I save in that same box in case of emergency.
Always, it seems, I have been a sucker for a hand-written note, even when the notes were as simple as “What are you doing after school today?” written with hearts over the “i”s and passed during Mr. H’s lectures on the War for Independence.
Letter in the mail, you remind me of why I write anything at all, even so called fiction.
I will never forget the day. It was March. Gray-covered. Rain fell in that weak-persistent way that salt and pepper race on a tuned-out television. Before that day, I’d never considered the term panic attack. Now, if I hear the words from across a crowded bar, they sober me.
Nothing big happened to trigger the attack. Staring out the kitchen window, a sink of dishes half done.
I had been looking forward to an evening of solitude so I could write. But my mind just went wild with imagination and I thought I would surely die.
So certain was I of my own death–probably by heart attack–that my hand shook as I wrote, “Dear Grandmother I Never Knew”, then kept writing more and more words.
Nothing less than a miracle, then, that by the time I closed the letter “You Loving Granddaughter, Liz” my heart drum had returned to that steady, familiar knowing.
Letter in the mail, you remind me.