Red Letter Day

On a dark night late in the year, you drove thirty minutes to a post office on the southern edge of downtown, to mail a single letter to someone you will not remember twenty years later. But anyway, it was more to get away, to send some feathers in a red envelope, some feathers from the wings of your heart which longed to fly out from this empty low place, to find a home where it was wanted and needed and valued. You no longer wanted to feel as though there was an impatient curmudgeon named Time waiting by the front door in a worn floral armchair asking, “Oh, you’re still here?”

That is why it did not matter to you that the drive was an hour round trip, to mail a single a letter, to whom you will never remember. It was important. It must have been a boy who you hoped would save you. No one noticed if you were gone for long periods and for long periods, years in fact, you wanted to be gone.

A red envelope, near Christmas, with light snow falling on snow covered streets that muffled the sounds of the tires of the car you drove. No one was out, just the low hum of emotional energy that surrounded the small cafes’ and bars that lined the brick streets, reclaimed from sagging industrial corridors once ruled by corporate giants, then prostitutes and the homeless.

It was freedom. It was hope. It was a moment. The long sad empty that followed still follows as you squeak along through life, sending love letters to people that do not realize that they are love letters. Nothing more than crystallized water on delicate flowers in early spring or buds on a tree that had lost its leaves in late fall, then during an unseasonable warm snap began to sprout, only to finally be covered in snow.

Tea can sometime serve as a (poor) substitution for coffee. It can serve as a way to stave off hunger. It sort of works. It gives you the illusion. Tea for a woman in a snagged pink terry cloth robe, with lumpy hair, flowerless, kiss-less, sipping hot water after a hot bath muttering, “This will do…”

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, January 2017

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