Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Edge of Seriousness: The Letter, Revealed

Below is the text of the letter that accompanies the show, in its entirety, followed by legends to accompany the color-line diagrams:

Dearest L,

I really enjoyed your last letter, and the cute hat you sent with it. When work is getting too stressful, I take a break and put it on, and talk with a fake accent that, to me, goes with the hat. It's been great. About the okra story: yes, it was my sister who ate it, she was too embarrassed to say anything afterward.

I miss you intensely, and love you dearly, and can't wait until you return. There's a new bookstore down the street that I'm sure you'd love, and all sorts of new adventures to go on, and even our old routines seem like they'll be new again, when you're back. As it is, I still make too much coffee every morning, I always end up with one extra cup. I sleep diagonally in the bed now, so it feels less empty.

I also started eating your favorite, olives stuffed with anchovies! I still don't like them at all, but maybe I'll develop a taste for them eventually. For now, having them makes it feel like you're here with me, and sometimes I imagine that you're enjoying one too, over there. I still remember the first time you brought them home, you were drenched from the rain and the power was out at the apartment -- I was sitting on the couch in the living room and wishing that I was able to see the way your wet hair clung to your face. You asked me to light candles, because the olives were too good to be enjoyed under the light of a cell phone. I didn't know then how vivid that memory would become. Think of me when you eat your next olive, will you please?

Rocko has missed you too. He mopes around the house in the afternoons, unmoved by the squirrels that still dart across the branches outside the window. We've been going on walks, though, and playing at frisbee in the park. He's even learning how to stand on his hind legs! We'll have him doing backflips in no time. I was at the park this weekend, writing a poem about scrim and that thick feeling I get on sunny days that don't feel sunny (which is what kind of day it was), waiting for Rocko to poop, when a woman walked by to pet Rocko and tell me how cute she thinks he is. We got to talking, and it turns out that she used to work with Kay at the salon! So we ended up grabbing dinner at that Chinese place your coworkers like so much. The food was just OK, but it was nice to make a new friend. Hopefully we'll all hang out when you're back.

Speaking of hanging out, I had an idea for your welcome back party. I was thinking recently about that night a few years ago, when we'd only been dating for a few weeks, and we met up at that bar on 41st (the one that used to be a dive called the Alley but now serves oysters or whatever) for Julia's going away party. Neither of us had eaten, but somehow we convinced each other to pool our cash, including cab money, and spend all of it (what little there was) on well whiskey, and then neither of us had any way to get home. Even though I clumsily offered to walk you home, you knew that both of us were too drunk to get anywhere without getting lost, and we ended up going to the park on 38th and fell asleep on those metal picnic tables. We haven't been back there since that night, but I still smile to myself when I ride past on my bicycle. Despite the hangover, and smelling like cigarettes, that sunny morning on top of the picnic tables where you knew the names of everything (I can't remember most of them: seaside daisy, buttercup, poppy . . .) was the first time I realized that I was falling in love. What would you think about going back there for an afternoon, with barbecue and soccer and wildflowers everywhere? I'll start inviting folks.

Anyways, I look forward to your next letter, and to your eventual return. I'm including below a passage from my latest story that I thought you would enjoy.

. . . what happens to a chopstick that loses its partner? does it get lonely? sad? does it have trouble sleeping alone in the bed that it once shared? would it call and hang up as soon as it reached its ex's voicemail? i often find myself imagining the relationships of everyday objects in this way. does a cardigan mourn its lost button? does it depend on whose cardigan it is? some people are bound to own melancholy cardigans that have trouble letting go . . .

Your buttonless cardigan,


Legend for "Timeline"

Blue: Sentence about "I" or "Me"
Orange: Sentence about "You"
Green: Sentence about "We" or "Us"
1 cm = 10% of a sentence

Brown: Past
Green: Present
Blue: Future
1 cm = 5 words
90-degree angle: New sentence, same paragraph
45-degree angle: New paragraph

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