He had not been expecting a letter.
He had given up on that particular notation years ago. After all, time has a way of dulling emotions and chipping away at hope to the point where he had become comfortable with the outcome of his life. That part of his life had become a foreign and distant memory, a mental snow globe of sort to be shaken around and stared at in a moment of boredom, before moving on to more pressing matters. Besides, no one wrote any more. The last piece of mail he had gotten that had not been a bill or a mass mailing from a car agency, a neighborhood church, or a real estate ad, had come from his grand mother years ago. As he made his way back to the house he wondered if grand mothers even wrote any more these days.
The dog greeted him at the door. Dogs, he thought, have no need to write letters years after the fact. There is no need for closure with them, but then again for all he knew, someone, somewhere was probably writing a best seller titled, “Dogs need Closure too.” The though amused him and he set aside the mail to go get the yapping mutt a treat.
The ringing of his cell phone interrupted his trip to the kitchen and the sound of the voice at the other end made him put away any thoughts about the letter. Something had gone wrong on the Mall project. Something always seems to go wrong on these types of projects, which is why in a way he had a job in the first place.
Without bothering to change from the clothes he had worked out in, he rushed back out of the house determined to make it to the site before the problem could get any worse. His mind was racing over each task that could be shifted around at the site to stay on schedule, when the song on the radio interrupted his thoughts. The song had been her song, and while there remained little from the past that could usher in a flood of memories, the song always had a way of getting to him. He fumbled with the dial, silently cursing the musical gods who had seen fit to reach down and touch such a silly melody and proclaimed it an unforgettable hit for the ages. By all rights such a song should have enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame and disappeared into a television infomercial for hits from a highly forgettable era.
Working through the problems at the site made him take a quick mental inventory of his life, and he grappled with the nagging thought that somehow his life had not turned out the way he had planned. There were no noble and great deeds to be remembered by, no fortune amassed or squandered, and no great wisdom he had learned and would in part on a future generation. Then there was the girl. What could she possibly have to say? What could there be left to say, and why say it now? He entertained the idea of sending the letter back unopened, as if to say, “too late,” and “it doesn’t matter anymore.” The problem was that it did mattered. If the girl needed closure, he needed it as well.
The trip home was spent playing a guessing game as to what was in the letter. Was there a heartfelt acknowledgement of regret, or a summary of a life greatly blessed by the freedom afforded to those who can simply push aside the past and begin anew? Was she dying? What if she was dying? What if is she was simply making amends because she was dying? Why hadn’t she picked up the phone and just called?
Arriving home, he sat silently in the car. “Whatever,” he softy whispered to himself. He went inside, grabbed the letter and opened it. It was written in her hand writing, which made it all the more personal, and judging from the scratched out words that sprinkled the page, it was probably her one and only draft.
The first line made him laugh, “Sorry that it’s not in purple” she wrote. Twenty years after the fact, and that’s the first thing she writes, he thought. Well, at least she remembers. She had once written all her notes to him in purple, it was her thing. It had become their thing. And now, years later, now that they weren’t together anymore, perhaps it was only fitting that it was not in purple.
He read on. She wrote as she always had, in short sentences and with the unrestrained emotions of a school girl who would punctuate sentences with either happy or sad faces. If he had not known the girl, if he had not read so many of her notes first hand, he would have thought a sixth grader imposter had produced the writing. Then again, a sixth grade imposter would have ventured head long into using bigger words. And yet, she still managed to say what she needed to say. She still filled the page with enough heart felt emotions, that reading it was impossible with having to fight back a tear or two.
He was done reading it in minutes, but before he could process it all, he went back and re-read it a few more times. Then for the first time all day, he smiled.
There was closure.