Emma flopped on her bed, dejectedly throwing her bag on the floor as she did so, tears threatening to spill over.
It was worthless. All worthless. All her hard work that she had slaved over for the past ten months down the drain in a matter of minutes. All the late nights, event cancelling, and pages upon pages of essays were pointless now. She had sacrificed so much, for it to all come down to this.
Rolling over, she curled herself into a tiny ball as despair washed over her. She hated that she had given up so easily. That as soon as she had heard the awful news, she had quit. Giving up on her goals. Giving up on life.
Giving up on herself.
Then the tears came. Rolling down her cheeks. Tears of grief, of disappointment, of sorrow. But amongst all the other swirling emotions was anger. Anger and pity. She felt sorry for herself, telling herself that it wasn’t fair, that she should’ve received that scholarship. She had toiled long and hard for what? Nothing? She had earned it. She deserved it! But no. She wasn’t good enough. Nothing she did was good enough.
Wiping her burning eyes, Emma stared at the discarded envelope. It stared right back. Daring her to give up. Telling her it was hopeless. It was the article of communication, relaying that horrible message. It had thrown her into a pit of gloom.
In a sudden surge of anger, she snatched it off the bed-side table and ripped it to shreds, then sobbed as the little, white flecks floated gracefully to the ground.
Once her tears abated, it was nearly dark outside her window, the sun sinking behind the mountains in the distance casting long shadows over the town at its base. The normal everyday activities were continuing at a normal, everyday rate. The small-business owners were locking their shops, the last of the customers filing out. Happy couples were walking into restaurants for a quiet evening. The scene was tranquil, beautiful, which only made her anger flare once more.
She didn’t want everyone else’s lives to go on as normal while hers crumbled around her. Her selfish, conceited self wanted everyone else to feel the pain she was feeling too. She didn’t want to be alone in her sorrow.
But as soon as she thought that, she rebuked herself. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault that she hadn’t been good enough, only hers. Taking a deep breath, she realized she needed to calm down. Life wasn’t over, only this chapter.
But she wasn’t quite ready to move on. While she was overreacting, she couldn’t just...ditch her disappointment. It would linger but she couldn’t take it out on anyone else.
Turning to her desk, she took out a piece of stationary and a pen and sat down, clicking on a lamp. She tap, tap, tapped her writing utensil on the wood, staring into space. She couldn’t conjure up any words to write. She wasn’t a talented poet or a great tale-spinner. She didn’t have eloquence when it came to writing, no matter how hard she tried. Which was probably why she wasn’t accepted, she mused ruefully.
But that didn’t matter now. She knew of one person who wouldn’t judge her for her lack of fervor in her writing. Her dearest friend, Olivia Ford. They had met in first grade and had been inseparable ever since, that was until Olivia and her family had moved to Connecticut. They had remained in contact through continuous letters back and forth and still kept up that art even until now.
Emma frowned. They had continued the hobby until she became engrossed in applying for this scholarship. She probably hadn’t written to Olivia in at least a year. While technology made it easier to stay in touch, they had mutually agreed that they preferred letters. There was something wonderful about receiving a crisp envelope with floral paper inside, riddled with private thoughts and funny moments, that brought intimate joy to her soul. A letter could be filled with secrets. And Emma believed that it was easier to be honest when writing a letter, as opposed to a text or email, although why, she wasn’t sure.
The more she thought about it, receiving a letter was something she had always looked forward to. She’d excitedly wait for an envelope to arrive with her name on it, sprinting down to the mailbox every single day in anticipation.
It was a small thing, but it thrilled her to the core.
Unless, of course, it displayed less-than-happy news, like today. But she felt that that was simply another aspect of a letter. You never knew what to expect. Whether happy or sad, you always learned something new about your friends, the world, or yourself.
A letter was full of surprises. A letter gave you a sense of purpose. Once she received a carefully prepared letter, she knew that someone was thinking about her. To the rest of the world, a mere text or phone call provided that, but not to Emma. Things like that couldn’t fulfill her profound desire. It took only a few seconds to type a sentence into a phone and send the message on it’s way. One had to set aside ample time to reply to a letter, however. One had to take time to think about what they wanted to say to you, write it out, carefully seal the envelope, and draw a doodle or two.
Emma supposed the world would be a better place if letter writing became a more widely-spread hobby, since she figured that she wasn’t the only one who felt this way about something as simple as a letter. Writing letters had been the primary means of communication, lost now as technology flourished. It was a lost art, one that Emma felt shouldn’t be forgotten.
She placed the tip of the pen on the paper, beginning with the universal opening, Dear Olivia, but she stopped under a strange impulse, swivelling in her chair to look outside. The sky was black, little white dots scattered across the expanse, gleaming at her.
Emma smiled. Letters were only one of the many seemingly insignificant things that brought her joy.
And a celestial image of the night sky did just that.