By Dan Leicht
It’d been years since he last spoke to her in person. Decades. Thinking back on all the time that passed felt like remembering what happened yesterday. He sat at the kitchen table with a pen in hand, crafting what he told himself would be the most perfect hand-written letter.
He didn’t know what to say, how could he? So much had happened since they last spoke. They were both in their twenties at the time they met, a fleeting romance both knew couldn’t last. Back then he was struggling to solidify himself as a writer, she an actress. Years after their departure from one another he saw her in a television commercial, he’d yet to publish anything.
What’s there to say? He wrote.
Would she even remember him? Maybe their time spent together meant much less to her than it did to him. He struggled with the thought before continuing.
In case you give up before making it to the end of this letter it’s Hank.
He got up from the table and poured himself a glass of bourbon. Then returned to the pad and pen.
I reached out to Kristen, do you remember her? You must, you roomed together in college. She reached out to your parents for me and found your address. I felt silly when thinking of doing the task myself. She’s doing well by the way, Kristen that is, I’m sure you’re aware of your families’ well being.
He stopped writing for a moment, feeling nervous as if she were there listening to him babble on.
I saw your (first?) commercial when it aired. Thought of reaching out to you, wish I had. It was nice to see you, even if it was only through the old screen. Luckily I had the set fixed a few days before. Cost me almost as much as a week’s worth of groceries. I don’t eat much anyhow. I’ve never married. Groceries for one aren’t too bad if you stick to the essentials.
He looked at his glass of bourbon.
The essentials do vary from time to time, however.
He sipped from his glass.
It’s been, hell, thirty years since we’ve last seen each other? As I write this a cat, named Charlie, cries for my attention. She’ll be 11 this summer. She’s a siamese-mix, so says the papers from the vet (she was taken in the Fall and everything looks good). On the weekends she has declared herself the alarm clock to my laziness. It’s for the best, since she gets me out of bed and onto the daily tasks at hand. I’m up to thirty minutes on the elliptical at the local gym, was twenty some months ago.
I don’t believe I’ve seen all of your movies — how many is it now? — I want to guess and say twenty, apologies if that’s only a fraction. Is my handwriting okay? Guess I should be asking myself, seems legible. The computer is used mostly nowadays for such things, but with this it seemed best to make it a touch more personal. I’m still left handed, as you can see from some of the smudges early on, I’ve been letting the ink dry properly since remembering this defect in the craftsmanship of pens — they’re made for the all powerful right-handers after all. I remember you were left-handed too. Small world as they say. Not small enough that we’d bump into each other on occasion I suppose.
Retirement is still some years off for me. Never made it as a writer like I’d hoped. To be honest, this note is the first time I’ve sat down to write in some time. It’s not like I’m too busy of a person, I’m not, but after a day of work sitting down and reading with Charlie on my lap seems all that really matters in the world. We split a can of tuna for dinner yesterday, her favorite.
Look at me, rambling on as if my modest life is something to tell the world about. I may as well tell you I’m down to only five cups of coffee a day. Three on the weekends, which isn’t bad, but then again it’s been a while since I’ve been to the doctor’s — is that bad? It’s not that I mind waiting rooms, I bring a book to read when waiting to get my haircut, but something about the doctor’s just puts me off. Maybe it’s the high price tag regardless of the length of the visit. “I’m having trouble sleeping,” I’d say, then he’d write something into a notepad, tear off a sheet, send me off and then charge me before I can exit. The paper will tell me to wait in another line, pay again — all this just to get some rest? I’d rather go back to eight cups of coffee and just forgo sleep altogether.
Charlie is on my lap now. She’s looking up at me, which usually means she wants me to rub the sides of her face, kiss her on the head, and tell her I love her over and over again, at least that’s what I think she wants, hell if I know. Maybe it’s just what I want. I do enjoy saying I love you out loud, a strange feeling indeed after holding the words in for so long. I once dated a girl, bare with me here, that when I said those words to her she just looked at me blankly and said nothing in return. It tore me up inside. ‘Said nothing’, hmm, does that make sense? Charlie doesn’t say anything in return when I say I love her, perhaps a meow every so often in response, but she doesn’t need to. Pets are strange creatures. We let them into our homes, can’t speak a word that makes any lick of sense to one another, and yet we become best friends with them. Strange indeed, yet quite beautiful. You had a couple cats yourself when you were younger, right? Cookie, and Sammie, if I’m remembering correctly. I’m good with some names but not all. There’s people I’ve worked with for years that I hope never ask me if I know their names. There’s the angry faced one, the one with the 80’s haircut…
Well, it’s getting late. I suppose I should wrap this letter up. I hope this letter finds you on a beautiful day, perhaps you’re sipping some virgin cocktail (do you still not drink alcohol?), perhaps there’s a cat on your lap, some music playing in the background. Do you have a pool? Please have read this by the pool if that’s the case.
Through a wormhole in time,