When I was little girl I stepped into a bodega to buy myself a packet of Swedish fish. I was enamored by the lights and temperature of the air conditioned song of the refrigerator that kept the beer o’ so cold. Others were enraptured by the cash register that kept the money from that and the lottery o’ so warm.
As I stood there with hands and face against the window I listened to nothing except the hemming and hawing of the fan blowing behind those cold glassine walls. Skin stuck and quietly popped as I shockingly, secretly, pulled it away.
The woman that came in for a stamp asked for it and as it was delivered she reached in her bag to deliver payment. The robbers pulled out the gun and shot four times. She fell to the ground as I turned around. Even though I was a child I ran into the way of harm. I buried myself into her armpit and begged her to be okay. They hurdled over the counter and left into the daylight that was free of water that my fish would swim in. Next to her body laid a quaking stamp and her American 25 cent piece. The letter deserved its own narrative but would not get it and it poked out of her pocket like a baby kangaroo from a pouch.
I took both and marched off.
I kept the stamp, letter and candies in my pocket as I went home. Sirens blared and lovers fought. I saw a car stop to avoid hitting a sparrow but smashed him anyway. The couple in that car fought as well. Love was a precarious thing and whether you knew it intimately or not, you were hard pressed for fucking murdering it, regardless of whether they said you didn’t do it.
My mother had been hell bent on doing the same to herself that she did to me. Essentially, she was intent on murdering us. I’d found her on the Hattiesburg Bridge a number of times, drunk like Elvis, leveraging herself over the causeway and begging for Jesus to take her home. I didn’t read that letter. I posted it and dumped the contents of her bottle of booze from her pocket into the river that led my village to the world. Inside, I put it in a tiny lock box and let it find its place in the sea in hopes that it would find a proper destination. A destination where it would end up that I was sure would be a better place than me now. When the receiver received it, I knew they would appreciate its simple message.
I never read it, but I knew it said something like “If my love was measured in currents then it would be strong enough to take this message to someone who deserves it. And I’m sure you do. So whoever you are I love you and am sure the person who brought you to this does as well.”
Most stories end with “the end” but I’m going to finish this with nothing.
The letter was sealed so I could not open it. I remember the girl as being beautiful but have no newspaper to prove it.
The fact that you found it, where ever you are, is proof enough.