“You hummed as you retrieved the mail. Part of a normal day’s routine. Or not. You shuffled through the junk and an odd envelope caught your eye. A letter. No one writes anymore. Except me.
“Think of me as that song you can’t get out of your head. Can you remember a time when I wasn’t there, simmering in the background? I’m always with you. Even in your sleep. How long has it been?
“You didn’t expect to get this. You thought I couldn’t find you. You thought I forgot.
“How could I forget? Not you!
“Yet you weren’t really surprised when this popped into your hand.
“I know your work, your bank, and your favorite coffee shop. Your friends don’t know me. But I know them. They say the darndest things about you.”
Megan stopped reading. Her trembling hand made the page shake. She flipped the envelope over. No return address. No signature at the bottom of the hand-written letter. But she knew who wrote it. The clumsy mix of printing and cursive from a cheap pen said more than the words themselves.
No one writes letters. But are the rare ones written on a legal pad?
She tossed the yellow pages onto her kitchen table and looked out the window to the street. She couldn’t concentrate.
The window wouldn’t open. Megan moved through the house and tested each one.
The bedroom window slid open easily. She slammed it shut and secured the latch. Megan caught her breath.
She paused with her back to the wall, strode to the closet and threw the door open to reveal her clothes. No intruder. She pulled her umbrella out and made a thrust and parry as if she were fencing.
She sighed, put the umbrella down and moved back to the kitchen.
Lying on the table the letter became the centerpiece of the room. It defined the environment. It demanded attention.
Megan picked it up and continued reading.
“You put this letter down – left it for how long, only you know. Yet you returned to it. Curiosity’s cat knows something.
“Arriving home, will you find the door unlatched? Check the yard. Behind the door. What about the shadow behind that tree?
“Leave the lights on. Will that help? The better to see you, my dear.
“You check the windows. Ah, you find one unlatched. I know the one. I could have left this note on your pillow and saved a stamp. Wouldn’t that be intimate, my dear? I forgot to bring your favorite chocolate mint.”
“Your friends will whisper of paranoia at all your new routines.”
“You’ll expect me. But never know of my arrival. Until too late.
“You could move. Or so you think. I found you once. I will again. I always have. New location, same old dance.
“Or call the police. I’m not afraid. But telling anyone our story might shed unwanted light on your part in our secret.
“Did you forget? Could you?
“You have something of mine. And I want it.”
Still holding the letter, Megan pulled her phone from her pocket. She checked the time and set it down. The drawer rattled as Megan yanked it open. She grabbed a knife, examined it and threw it back into the drawer.
She rummaged through more drawers. Opening them and slamming them shut. So much stuff.
The letter settled to the floor. Megan retrieved it and smoothed it onto the counter.
“I know, it all happened years ago. Why now? Water over the dam and all that.
“You think I’m stalking you. You would. But that doesn’t add up. Because we know each other. We’re not strangers, but threads in our mutual, entwined history.
“And you know this isn’t pursuit. I merely wait. Stalking has nothing to do with it. And now you know about waiting too. We’re waiting together to complete that unfinished business from long ago.
“Isn’t anticipation delicious? And I’m sharing with you. One of my favorite things to do.
“Our destinies are locked, love. Not stalked.
“But now you mention it, aren’t you stalking me? Did you think I couldn’t see? All these years you’ve refused to let me move on. Now you mention it, I should call the police, but that would tie us ever tighter. Who wants that?
“Agreed, then. No stalking. We’re already together. You just haven’t seen me yet. I’m giving you time to gather what you owe me. Then we can hold hands like before.
“We walked down long smooth beaches. And later, dozed among the dunes with laughing gulls wheeling overhead.
“Our sandy tracks ran behind us like notes of a beautiful melody. Our song.
“Our steps will always rhyme. We shared so many songs!
“Remember the words we sang? I know you do. You know them all. In a previous life you were a radio. I know.
“Together forever. The melody eludes me. It will come. Perhaps you’ll sing it for me when…”
Megan looked up. Had she heard something? The refrigerator rattled. She looked at the letter.
“Look in the mirror. I’m with you. I am you. You’ll see me everywhere.
“We’ll be together very soon. Then you’ll see. You’ll see truly.
“I must apologize for my length. There’s so much I need to say now I have your attention. After so long – you must understand.
“I look forward to sharing a toast. Chilled to perfection. You know what I like.
“We may be a while. Or should I bid you good night?”
The letter ended like that, unsigned. But she knew who sent it. And he knew so much.
A floor creak from down the hall drew Megan’s attention. She listened. Another movement and she was sure.
He stepped into the kitchen looking as she remembered, trim, relaxed and easy in his stance. Gentle eyes upon her. His shy smile seemed incongruous.
He took a tentative step.
She added, “What took you so long?” He didn’t stop smiling.
The refrigerator chuckled to a stop leaving an awkward silence.
“Your favorite is in the fridge. The way you like it. Heavy on the bull.”
He opened the refrigerator to see a dozen cans of Red Bull on the middle shelf. Above them stood a bottle of Stolichnaya.
He looked at Megan and his smile softened. “Ah, Stoli…”
Megan moved to him and they embraced. She smiled up at him. “I missed you.”