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It was more of a gag gift than her being serious about wearing a plush, plum, suede coat. In fact, the thrift store had a deal going that all purple tags were half off. She got the coat for a swimming total of eight dollars. Who knew it would come with so much trouble to top it off? Actually, would it be defined as trouble? Maybe it could just be defined as sad. 

That’s what it makes her. Not the coat. The coat fills her with emotions that she can’t figure out how to compute. It’s the note inside of the coat of her coat that fills her with such sticky sadness that she wants to roll up inside a burrito and never leave the comfort of her house again. 

The note was wadded in a tight ball stowed in the corner of the jacket’s pocket. She’s wadded up papers in her time. In school, she was always trying to see how far she could toss balls of paper. When her divorce was finalized she grabbed each of the love letters her cheating husband had written and balled them up. It was violent. She had done it over and over again until she was sure the letters were near ruined. 

This letter is too. 

When she first stowed her hand in the pocket and ran across its existence she nearly tossed it into the trash. Something in her forced her to slowly unwrap the ball. It took some time to get it unfolded without tearing the now thin paper. 

As she slowly read bile rose in her throat. 

The note read:

Annie,

You never needed help to be so golden. Golden. I like how golden you are. Your eyes glint golden. You believe that? I never believed it when people gave me compliments like that. Girls take after their mamas like that sometimes. You are my girl aren’t ya? Even if I don’t get to see you no more? I wrote this letter, but I don’t think your new social worker likes me enough to give it to ya. I ain’t doing drugs no more, baby. You believe that? Keep believing it. Cause I can feel when you believe in me. It makes the moon better. It makes the sun better. All I need is your golden, baby.

This is my address. Write me back. If they say that’s okay, of course. 

Love you, baby. 

Love, your mama. 

There’s an address scrawled on the bottom of the note. 

There are tears in the paper where it must have been held with all her strength. Spots of the ink run down the paper where something was dripped on the paper. With her manicured nail she keeps running over the spots that were at one point damp. She knows it was with tears. In her heart of hearts, she knows it was with tears. 

At first, she placed the letter in the garbage can, but it lit the can on fire. It blazed so high and hot that it tainted the kitchen, it made its way into her bedroom. At night the smoke seeped under the doorway. Smoke crawled down her throat and filled her lungs, curling up like a cat finding a warm spot to sleep in and refusing to leave. 

She snatched it out of the garbage can and placed it on the kitchen counter where it sat for another day. It still feels like unfinished business.

That’s why she stands with the letter so tightly in her hands that it feels like it will tear right in half. If it tears she’ll think about it in the random spaces between other thoughts. Thoughts like what she needs to get for dinner and if her kids are ever going to remember to call her. The letter will be in between each of those thoughts. 

She slams the letter down and starts folding it. Then folding it in half again so that it could fit in an envelope. The letter has decided what it’s doing with its own life. 

Next, she grabs a sticky note and a pencil. For a second she stands there with lead sticking to the paper thinking of what to write. Nothing too sappy. It wouldn’t feel right to mention anything about golden light. 

So she goes with something simple: 

I don’t know if you delivered this letter or not. 

If you didn’t, I think you should. 

If you did, I think you should try again. 

With that, she slams the pencil down next to her note and sends it skidding across the counter space. She’s mad at herself for doing this, but she doesn’t know what else to do. 

Now that the notes done she grabs an envelope and sticks her note in first. The other note sits there staring at her with an accusation hidden between the college-ruled lines. Maybe this is an old woman crossing a line that she should leave well enough alone. Unfortunately, the note can’t seem to leave her alone. 

So she stuffs the letter into the envelope and seals it quickly before she can think better of it. 

The tricky issue of the return address dawns on her quickly. For a second it’s a roadblock enough to give up completely. But she knows better. She pulls out the smartphone her kids made her get, even if they don’t call her on it and Googles the address of the local post office. 

With a trembling hand, she writes “A. Non” and then records the address meticulously. She writes the address and “Resident” in the dead middle of the envelope. 

The deed is done. Perhaps a mistake, but a mistake that won’t haunt her forever. A mistake that she’ll think about on the off day when she’s wandering a grocery store and sees a mother and daughter holding hands. 

After that the last step of placing postage on the right corner of the envelope. A colorful purple flower that reminds her of the horrendous coat that brought all of this trouble into her life. 

Tears starting to well up in her eyes she brings the envelope to her lips and presses a kiss to the seal. Wishing it and it’s recipients well. Appropriately, the letter is placed on top of all the bills that she can’t figure out how to pay electronically. It could possibly make no difference to anyone in the world, but her. That’s good enough for her. 

December 04, 2019 05:50

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1 comment

Kylie Mullins
02:47 Dec 12, 2019

I absolutely loved your wording and how you made the pictures come to life in a readers mind! One thing was that I got lost and had to reread the middle portion over and over again to understand whether the house has burned down or not, and what had happened between mother and the recipient. Overall great job! I loved the concept and the flawless wording

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