Sometimes, I

si

 
In the dusty recesses of his grandfather’s attic, a young man found a large, unmarked box. It smelt of bitter almonds and was empty save for a large, unmarked envelope at the bottom. Within the envelope, written on thick, white paper with dark blue ink, was a letter from a boy to a girl the day after their graduation.
Dear B.,
Yesterday was alright. The food wasn’t very good and I got some champagne on
my shirt. But that’s not why I’ve written you this letter.
After the diplomas and the photographs and the smiling promises to always keep in touch, I went out to get some air. A path led down to the little bay behind the hotel. The stars glistened in the water, twinkling in time with the whistling of the sea breeze. It was beautiful, B. I stood there for a long while, watching the heavens for a shooting star. I couldn’t find one so I went back up to get another drink and there you were. Don’t get me wrong, B. It’s not that you weren’t looking nice. You were. You were stunning and you were gorgeous and your eyes were… magic. It’s true. But there was something else, too. You stood off to the side, B., — a bit aloof — a bemused queen watching her subjects as they grabbed their boyfriends with one hand and their unravelling
saris with the other. Both of your hands were free.
“Hi,” I said, “hold this a minute?”
“Sure,” you said, holding the flute at arms length.
“It’s for you,” I clarified.
“Oh.”
“Yeah.”
“Thanks?”
“Don’t mention it.”
You should know, B., that I’ll probably never send you this letter. It’s silly. It’s all over the place. Anyway, just wanted you to know that I’ll never forget how you looked that night. Never ever.
Bye, B.
Yours always,
A.
The young man’s hands shook in the dim light of the attic. Carefully, he folded the letter and placed it back in the large, unmarked envelope and placed the envelope back in the large unmarked box. He closed the lid of the box and sat back. Above him, the dying rays of the setting sun shone through the dusty skylight. He watched a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. He watched until he couldn’t.

*****

A few hundred miles away from that attic, a young woman held open her grandmother’s chestnut drawer. It was dusty, like an old, forgotten promise that gathers the specks of regret and loss, and at the back of the drawer, rested a thick, white envelope, yellowed with the blessing of time. She opened it to pull out thick sheets of paper – paper that was once perfumed with the kind of love only a woman can nurture and only a man can cherish. It was an unsent letter.
Dear A.,
You looked handsome in that black tuxedo.  And you were so charming too. I wish I could’ve have sighed with possessive pride when you went around talking to everyone, greeting the parents of your friends.
A., I know I will never give you this letter because it’s too late now. For years, I waited silently for you…but you never came. And now, I’m going. To another. Because. That’s how it has to be, right? But before my heart swears allegiance to another, I have to sing the vows that my soul thread when it first met yours.
Remember the day we first talked? Your eyes held a galaxy as you talked of what you loved and somewhere between trying to race my calm heartbeat and daring to ask Him for you, I lost myself to you. You came so…easy. You felt like home. And that’s when I knew that I was no longer the same.
I’m going, A., but I won’t ever leave. I’m going to create a new world so that, someday, someone will live happily in yours.
I’ll never forget you. And I hope that somewhere, deep down, you’ll always remember the haughty girl who was too scared to tell you how much she loved the strength of your character.
Stay happy, A.
Yours eternally,
B.
She never realized when the flow of tears had stopped. She didn’t bother to wipe them away; these tears had been imprisoned too long. Quietly, she put the sheets of paper back and turned to gaze at the picture of the woman who had written them. She had lived and loved royally.

*****

He picked up his phone on the first beep. It was her.

“Same place?”

“Same time,” he texted back. He smiled. She always knew when he needed her.

Two hours later, she saw him walking up the path towards her. Her eyes lit up as she saw the same stars in his eyes.

“How did you know I wanted to see you?”

“Don’t I always know?” He was proud of them.

“I have something to show you.”

“I have something to show you, too.”

They exchanged two envelopes. They recognized the scent.

A. and B., B. and A.

“They loved and never knew,” she looked towards him.

“God sacrificed their love for us,” he looked straight into her deep, brown eyes. He had succumbed to the magic.

“Sometimes, I,” he stopped and cleared his throat and began again.
“Sometimes, I think of God as a
lover of music
listening to the poetry of our lives
listening to the minor falls and
the major lifts
and to those who loved too much.
My god, my god, what a symphony
we shall be.”

When he finished, he caught the pearls in her eyes. They were his, always had been. They got up and walked towards meadows that were waiting for their soft footsteps, their hearts humming their favourite song, their hands clasping their favourite hands. Together at last.

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