Today is the 21st day of December. It is the first day of winter, of Yule, and the rebirth of the world into light. I’m sorting through my boxes; these piles of notes I’ve kept for years on end. I’ve found old letters, buried in the piles of papers and memories. They are tucked away in their own folders and made distinct from the rest.
What importance do these letters have now? So many old thoughts and responses from someone I love or used to love. The letters I waited for with impatience from week to week and read and wrote with affection. Those little notes slipped into books and pockets as reminders of a shared affection. We called it love once.
What substance remains of these words now? We never promised ‘forever’ and we thought we shared a map of the future, or a dock at the pier. Those things had meaning when we wrote them. Maps are fickle, though, and as we explored the world our maps changed and I grew uncertain. “Wishy washy” she called it. Then she grew overwhelmed with life and I grew cold. She left our pier on her own boat, and I left on my own boat on a different course.
The letters don’t tell that part of the story. They don’t show the separation and goodbyes, or the general coldness that follows doused hearts. It happens when we’re afraid I guess. She was afraid of harm or harming, so was I. They don’t say if she ever came back to the harbor. These life details of letters. The characteristics of her handwriting and the lines of ink spanning page upon page of paper. Who were we back then? Who wrote these things?
Not the one reading now, who shakes his head remembering “I wasn’t thinking about my words.” and yet she said I seemed “matter of fact” when last we met. That’s progress I suppose. I wonder if she wept. Ah, but yes, she did a moment as we parted as she worried she wasn’t being fair. I’d waiting awhile for her as she wondered to and fro about the earth. After all the times shared and memories created the only remains are a handful of old notes gathering dust with other memories.
Alas, Life is not so bold a creature as Death and Death feigns to be a constant. These are like that then, the coming Yule; death of the night and birth of the light, then light passes o’er and night returns in this ever spinning wheel of the year. Old skins are shed for new skins to grow, and those are stronger for that little death.
These letters, then, these old thoughts; whether buried in ashy ruin, or returned to dusty oblivion their fate is yet unclear. I’ll see what else is in these boxes, then.