I said your name aloud again by mistake today. When the phone rang I thought…it must be you. I lost my balance. I fell and scraped my knee and there it was.
I’ve misplaced my keys again. I wanted to tell you. It’s like something is out of place but nothing has changed.
I am still yours.
The corners of the envelope were frayed and worn thin from the years of constant removal and replacement. I tucked the letter back inside of my pocket, compulsively checking to see that it was still there every three minutes or so. I liked to think of the words, close to my skin. I’m a lot more sensitive than I appear, it's true. No one notices that. I just don’t feel comfortable talking to people. Saying things out loud can be a mistake. Believe me. I’ve been told that I appear very stern. That when I do speak I come off like an asshole. Mostly though it’s just voices in my head.
I waited my turn and continued down the queue. My dry, skinny fingers tucked the ticket stub in tight, next to the letter. I like to keep these things. The fabric was torn on the aisle seat. Only a small tear, but still. I chose the second seat and repeated my mantra as the others filed by. No one knows how to be quiet anymore. Or polite. People just think of themselves. They don’t stop to consider how other people feel. They never think about how their actions and words might hurt other people.
“Excuse me. Is this seat taken?”
“I hate to be a bother but I think you are in my seat. 13 B.”
“I’ll just sit here then. This looks fine.”
I always thought that we would just continue on the way that they were. When I think about it now, when I think about you, I wish… I just wish you had felt this way. Forever. You wouldn’t talk about it and I’ve often tried to remember the exact moment in time when it all changed. It’s hard to put a finger on it. It was like a dream. Though I can remember every detail of that day in October. Your memory will not fade. And my feelings remain unchanged.
“I’m a reader. Books. Books and stories.That’s what gets me going.”
“Did you bring anything to read. I always bring a good book. Usually something I’ve read before. But there’s comfort in that. Like an old friend. Someone who knows you.”
“It’s okay if you don’t want to talk. I don’t mind. I’ll just read my book.”
“Oh! There go the engines! How exciting.”
My hands were cold and I began to fumble. I looked away, deciding which way to lace my fingers. Trying to hold a discernible gaze out the window.
“Excitement is just the beginning of fear.”
“Goodness, that sounds severe. But it does give me a chill. A rush. Not in a bad way though. Like a fever you haven’t felt in ages. A new adventure every time! I remember that thrill from when I was younger. The feeling of taking off is much like the feeling of falling in love. That was always grand.”
The awkwardness of fingers. We began to roll. There was a tall, rusted chain-link fence in the distance. It seemed to go on forever. The grass.
“Mind you, I have been bitten by that snake before. Oh yes. I am not immune to the venom and intoxication of love. Of course now, when it grows too cold, you just put on your coat and walk away. But I was never afraid of love. Never.”
I shifted in my seat, attempting to conceal any movement or betray any sign of involvement as my index finger snuck inside my pocket. Rubbed the folded corner. The rumble grew louder.
“Love is witchcraft.”
“Witchcraft? Are you sure that’s what you meant to say? I’ve read about that in books. Spells and potions and other sneaky things. Oh, I think love is brighter than that. Like making a wish. Like when you read a really great book and you wish that the author would just keep the story going. But the books all end. They do. When you're in it, it's like a dream. You go the distance, cover to cover, but you always wake up right back where you started. Granted, you've changed some for the reading. Become something more, something has filled you up inside. In a place you never knew was even there. It can be deep. Intimate. A metamorphosis."
I ignored the impulse to stand up, excuse myself and move down the isle. Find another seat. I turned my head and stared at the floor. Closed my eyes, concentrated on my breathing. Distant memories closing in.
"Love is like that. It's worth the pain. Not always of course. You understand. But sometimes, the good ones, they leave you with a yearning and a sadness, but at the same time a satisfaction. You have changed. A part of you has been forever changed, even if only just the smallest part."
The engines roared. I waited for the lift.
"Oh, I can remember… well. It’s not a thing to talk about. Much like a wish in that respect, I guess. But just to have been in love. What a thing it can be. It can stay with you forever! They say that if you tell a wish it will never come true. I don’t think wishes work like that. But that’s why people write books, I suppose.”
Feeling gravity's pull.
I'm obsessed with the feeling of taking off. The speed and the shaking. Fingers in pockets, eyes closed. Years have passed and yet there are things I cannot forget. That's why I've kept your letter. I could never destroy it. Or set it aside and pretend it had not existed. I am somehow captured by it. Frozen in a magical web. No one ever needs to read it but me. It's simply the thought of you. And I am powerless.
You are a spell.