Letter From Away


     She went away. We wondered if she would ever come back.
     I kept thinking that there would be no reason for her to do that, that there was nothing here to come back for. I hoped she would send me a letter telling her where she was. Then I would go there and find her. I would finally get out. She would not mind my being there, she left to get away, I just knew it.
     The only way they would let me out was if I went where they couldn’t find me. They would not let me go, but they couldn’t stop me, they wouldn’t find me. And I would never come back, either.
     I was still in high school, so they really wouldn’t let me go. I would have to run away. No one really needed high school, anyway. it was a bad training ground for teaching about social structure. People could get messed up for life.
     Then, one swift breezy day, this lighter than air envelope came. It was her! It was an airmail letter telling where she was. I couldn’t believe it. I read it four times in a row, nearly memorizing it.
     It was close to 4.00. they would be home in less than an hour. As I left the house, I willed them to be caught in traffic. I walked four blocks to the drugstore. I had five dollars in my little purple purse, placed gently in this old but still beautiful Chinese wallet she had given me for my birthday right before she left. I was careful with it, I didn’t want to wear it out, also in it were my library card, my social security card which had a hole in it, and my school ID.
     At the store I found a package of the light airmail paper and envelopes. There were two people in line ahead of me. It seemed that it took an hour to get to the register. I paid and left the store.
     Outside, I looked at my watch. 4.20. I nearly ran home.
     There, I went into the drawer of the desk in the spare room that was used as an office. There were no airmail stamps. I took about five off the roll in the little brass stamp keeper.
     The front door opened. I slipped out of the room quietly and slipped back into my room.
     After a screaming match that broke out between my brother and mom that took place at dinner, they all went to flop on the couch and floor to let their minds be taken away from them by the mindlessness of sitcoms and police dramas.
     I had homework, but I decided to fling my homework in the can and read the letter again. Then I began writing, following along the letter, kind of parallelling it as if she would remember the sequence of the letter, so that it would be easier to understand.
     I used up about five pages of the light paper. I told her that where she was sounded interesting. I talked about how things here were going even worse and not getting better. I also said there was, as yet, very little chance that I would get into college, especially one out of state. I tried to make it not look to much like I was desperate, but in reality I was.

Something I wrote back last December (2003) or around that time.


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