Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Letters I've Written, Never Meaning To Send

Once upon a time, we did not text.

Once upon a time, we did not email.

Once upon a time, we wrote letters.

You took a beat, a spark,  from your heart and fanned it until you found the words to set it on fire within you, letting the flames dance and pulse throughout your body, down the length of an arm, through a hand with long fingers that wrapped around a pen, where the words made the ecstatic leap from body to paper. 

You would fold up the paper, lick the envelope.  Carefully, delicately, tenderly write a name on the outside.

And then...

You would wait.

You would imagine the letter's recipient waiting, this one whose name was written so painstakingly on the outside of that envelope, a shell so bashed and battered against the elements as it made it's way from your hands to his.  But that letter, it would arrive.



But whole.

He would pick it up.  He would turn it over in his hands, note the way his name looked in your handwriting. 

He would unfold this letter slowly, listening to the crinkle and crackle of the paper as he did.  He would take  his fingertips and trace each word you had written, that initial beat of your heart now something tangible for him to see, to touch.  The process would then flow backward, as he would trace the loops and dips of the letters and words you'd written. They would flow through his own hand, up his own arm, to a place where they would explode into something electric, shocking his heart into a new rhythm.

And the next beat...

...that one right there...

...would be the very same beat your own heart produced.

He'd read the letter again and again until he had it memorized, until he could see it so clearly upon the backs of his eyelids that he could be anywhere in the world, shut his eyes, and read it word for word, even as that letter sat, folded, miles away, in a drawer.

Once upon a time, we wrote letters.

We wrote letters.