Dead Letter Day
Ask any baba who has done time on a perogy-making assembly line, and she will tell you the trick is in the seal. No perogy worth its salt and flour allows its potatoes and cheese to spill out before being delivered via the fork and opened via the teeth of its grateful recipient.
Sealed perogies are on my mind today after I came across a sheet of paper while riding my bike downtown yesterday. Like a postmaster in the 19th century, I sometimes stop to pick up these lost documents and read them. This one was unexpected.
Jan 2. 2020 7:25 AM.
Well, here I am, sitting here, wondering how your Copper score is going? I told you I would go with you to Court, and honestly I am so sorry for the way Ive been treating you these past few days. I am going to do my best to treat you Right.
You deserve to be treated with love, respect and of course loyalty.
The only way I can tell you what Im thinking when your not around is to write, don't mind the messy hand-writing, Im also doin dishes, and cooking parogies. Mmmm.
Without access to sender or recipient, so much of this note is unfathomable. What is a "Copper score?" Is the letter recipient a would-be police service recruit who has taken an entrance exam? Or a fence for stolen construction site material? Maybe a mining investor? What is the nature of the Court appearance—plaintiff? defendant? witness? Why did the letter writer go back on a previous commitment to accompany Love to court? The note's suggestion that emotional injustice is afoot, that Love is not receiving what Love deserves, namely, love and respect and loyalty, is this the letter writer's self-indictment or is the letter writer echoing Love's feelings in the matter? And that third item in the list, loyalty, what does that refer to?
There is the poignancy of the last paragraph. Letter writer: The only way I can tell you what I'm thinking when you're not around is to write. Barry Gibb: It's only words and words are all I have to take your heart away.
Before the onomatopoaeic closing, there is homey picture painted. I see a sink of dishes, soap suds, a tea towel, and, on the stove, the browning perogies.
Those perogies return us to the most compelling aspect of the note. How did it go astray? How did a letter written for one particular person become unsealed and come to be lying face up on the street? Did the letter writer lose it? Have second thoughts and throw it away? Did Love lose it? Did Love read it and throw it away? Was it entrusted to a confidante, in essence, a private post office, who failed for whatever reason to deliver it? Some of these are heartbreaking possibilities.
The letter writer confesses to prefer face-to-face communication, but, in the absence of the partner, resorts to putting thoughts down in a text. But text is unreliable, text breaks down, text scatters. What was composed in the spirit of dialogue becomes unsealed and is disseminated. A kind of freedom of information.
Melville: On errands of life, these letters speed to death.
I cremated the letter.
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