Red Letter/Dead Letter

Her book collection had gotten a bit out of control. It started easily enough, a book here and there at the library book sale, a garage sale, the thrift store. Somehow though she’d amassed a collection that filled three book cases and required her stack books on end tables. It was chaotic. It was also very fulfilling, very soothing. Still and all it was simply too many books, and she decided to organize them, to start reading them, to give away the ones that weren’t favorites.

She decided to tackle the smallest book case first, pulling all the books out, looking at each book and trying to decide if it was something she’d already read or not. If so, and she was going to re-read and/or reference it again, it went on the bottom shelf. If not, and she was actually going to read it, it went on the top shelf, and otherwise it went in a bag to give to the thrift store. She continued through the first bookcase until all the books had been reorganized and found she had zero books to give away, not surprising, and only a couple books on the lower shelf.

“No time like the present,” she murmured, grabbing a book she hadn’t read yet, a lovely leather bound piece, and went to the couch. She opened it and rifled past the mishmash in the beginning to get to chapter one. She had just started reading when she decided a bit of tea was in order. Searching for a bookmark nearby and finding none, she went to splay the book on the couch arm when a piece of paper fell out.

“The universe is always listening,” she said with a smile, grabbing the paper and shoving it in her place in the book and wandering off for her tea.

She returned to the couch with her mug and some cheese and crackers, picked the book up again and took a glance at the paper she’d used as a bookmark. Opening it she found it wasn’t just a piece of paper but a hand written letter. There was no date and the dedication and sign off used pet names. She’d never be able to return it to it’s rightful owner and that made her sad, for the letter was truly beautiful, a love letter that was fairly simple and yet perfectly conveyed the depth of emotion behind every sentence, every promise.

She wondered if she’d ever receive such a letter. If she’d ever write one. She wondered if the book it was in, the one she hadn’t quite started yet, was intentional or simply what was at hand the last time the letter was read. Did the writer of the letter ever send it? Did the recipient ever read it. It was impossible to tell these things as the paper itself had been so perfectly preserved inside the book. There were no smudges or stains from tears, no rips or tears, it had never been crumpled or abused in any way. She had to believe, for herself, that the letter had been loved as much as the writer of it.

This #writethirtyminutes session was prompted very loosely from “A Year of Writing Prompts” by Writer’s Digest, available here

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