I am starting this Writing 101 a few days late. Hopefully I will find to catch up on the four days I missed. If not, I’ll just go from here.
Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.
Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.
**** I totally tried to work on brevity. It didn’t work. I’ll try again another day.****
As I step out of my apartment I notice a piece of trash by the elevator. Why am I the only one who feels the need to keep this place tidy?! What, do they all think: ‘Let’s just leave trash in the hallway… the girl in 6B will clean up after us.’ Convenient they leave the trash right by the elevator which happens to also be right in front of my apartment. As I stoop to grab the paper, I notice neat handwriting on the inside. Well, if I have to be the one to clean up the mess, I might as well snoop a little. The paper read:
“I AM SO DEEPLY SORRY FOR THE TROUBLE I CAUSED YOU. I CAN’T SAY THAT ENOUGH. I CAME BY TO APOLOGIZE TO YOU IN PERSON, BECAUSE THAT IS THE VERY LEAST YOU DESERVE. BUT YOU AREN’T HOME – OR YOU AREN’T ANSWERING YOUR DOOR. I WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH YOU MEAN TO ME AND ALL THE WAYS YOU HAVE CHANGED ME FOR THE BETTER… I DON’T KNOW WHY IT TOOK ME SO LONG TO SEE THAT WE SHOULD NEED TO BE TOGETHER. THE THING IS, I HAVE LOVED YOU FROM THE MOMENT I SAW YOU. I LOVE YOU. I WANT TO SPEND MY LIFE WITH YOU. I CAN’T BELIEVE I AM JUST LEAVING THIS ON YOUR DOOR BUT I CAN’T WAIT ANOTHER MOMENT. I WILL WAIT ANXIOUSLY TO HEAR FROM YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU.”
My heart begins to race as I think about the argument I had two days ago with my long-time “guy friend”. We haven’t spoken since I walked away from him… me fuming and crying over all the things he had said to me; him with his arms flung out to his sides, head tilted to the sky, calling after me “That’s not what I meant.” His words had been unfair and unkind and completely uncalled for. This trash… this note… must be from him! It must be. I had, in fact, taken a much-needed nap yesterday, so it makes sense that he stopped by and left a note when I didn’t answer the door. He loves me? He loves me? He… loves… me. !!!!!!!! He does. And I do too… I love him. Holy moly. This is happening. This is the best day of my life! This is the moment I will remember always. This is the story we will tell people when we get engaged… when we get married… when we have kids and grandkids. This. This is the moment my life where my life changes and gets back on track.
Just as the elevator opens and deposits me on the ground floor, I pull out my phone and call him up. This conversation is call-worthy… I will not do this over text – although then I could screen-shot it and keep it for forever! – wait, it’s ringing… ringing….
Him: “Hey…. So…. Are you still mad?”
Me: “I was. I really really was. Until two minutes ago.”
Me: “Yeah. I saw the letter. I almost missed it because it fell off my door and I almost threw it away… I don’t know why people think they can litter in the build-…wait. No. That’s not why I’m calling. I’m calling to tell you I got your note. And I forgive you. And I appreciate the apology. And… well, the truth is, I want you to know I love you too. I do. I love you so much and I always have… just like you said – or wrote. Whatever.”
Him: “Uhhhh, yeah. I don’t….The thing… I, uh.”
Me: “You. You didn’t? You didn’t write me a note?”
Him: “Uh. I was waiting for you to… no. No, I didn’t write a note.”
Me: “Oh. Okay. Ha. This is. Awkward. Ihavetogo.”
I hang up. Or I try to. My fingers are very sweaty all of a sudden. I didn’t know my fingers sweat but they are definitely sweaty and it makes it hard to hit the “hang up” button. Somehow our conversation is disconnected… either by my sweaty fumbling fingers or his not-loving-me self. Either way, we are disconnected… so completely not connected. I find a seat on a bench. I don’t think I ever noticed this bench in front of my building before; how long has it been here? I don’t know but I don’t really care because I’m glad its here now to support my unsupportable body. I sit and I try to breathe and I try to catch up with my brain. Did all that really happen? Did I just picture my entire future with a man who doesn’t love me? Did I just profess my love to a man who doesn’t love me? Yes. Yes I did.
As I sit and stare at my feet and the stupid, stupid letter in my shaking hands, I realize I’m holding someone else’s future. I am holding the future of someone else with a man (it really does look like masculine handwriting) who loves that someone else. This is their story. The story they will share when they get engaged and married and have kids and grandkids. I have got to find the person who needs to read this letter. Really, their future depends upon it.
I stand up and give myself a little shake. I will have to grieve the future I had imagined for myself later. I will have to figure out if the friendship I thought was really a loveship is worth awkwardly fixing later. Right now, I need to go knock on the twenty-six doors on my floor. One of those doors belongs to this letter and to this story… and I guess that I will get to play a small part in their story too.