A Letter From Your Secret Admirer

This is the 2nd story in my book “Or Something Like That”
 also available on Kindle

The story was previously published in The Bicycle Review: Issue 16

I’m fond of this story for it’s absurdity and for the fact that it is about unrequited love. Also love to write “fictional letters” Thanks for reading.

 

Dear ______________,

I was very taken away when I first saw you. It’ll be a strange comparison, but you reminded me of my first car. A 1967 sky blue Ford Fairlane. Something about the ocean, the sound inside of  a seashell between the both of you, though there was no sound of a seashell at all, in either of you. That car shook violently when I drove it, you, I haven’t even heard your voice.

Just a vague feeling. A comfort. The stretched out blue ocean dissolving on the curve of the earth…you both remind me of the stupid Ocean.

You wouldn’t understand. I know that about you now. You are the type of person who doesn’t have feelings that are scattershot like that. You are a person grounded in the ordinary world. I envy that about you. I am a person so full of wild ideas and misunderstood love that I often feel like a balloon instead of a human.

Just floating across rivers illuminated with pure radiating fire.

Well maybe not fire, that would pop a balloon.

Your reaction to my “good deed” the other night was very disheartening. Serves me right for trying to be kind. I figured, we’re both single, attractive…in the market, why not try to be kind. As I have already said, I tend to do things differently, the average guy would have sauntered up to you in the bar and he would have made some clever little comment and then cleverly have attempted to buy you a drink and then cleverly…a lot of cleverness, all of it. I don’t operate that way.I think there is room in this world for soft beautiful light, people are just often too afraid of embarrassing themselves. Closed tight like flowers that bloom momentarily in certain moonlight.

I could see how you would have been a little uneasy, thinking about how someone had been in your apartment while you were sleeping. That would creep anybody out. I am however, completely puzzled as to why you felt the need to involve the police. Obviously my intentions are good. If they weren’t you would have known all about it, much earlier. I wish I could have been listening when the officer took the report, “What? Someone broke into your apartment while you were there and did what?” “The dishes.” “The intruder did the dishes?” “Yes.” “The intruder did the dishes?” A second time, skeptically, “And left a sweet note.” You would clarify.

Later, I could just imagine them, standing in a circle in the station, their cop moustaches bouncing up and down, swaying back and forth, as they laughed about your strange incident.

Sure, it was odd for me to come in like that. Don’t be mad at your Superintendant, it’s not his fault. I could steal just about anybodies keys. If you are going to be mad at anybody, be mad at yourself. You are not all you are cracked up to be. Your exterior might be a marvelous thing, your inner light is not all that pleasant. Plus, you snore. You drool. You really need to water that plant in the kitchen a little less. Wouldn’t the living room be a much better place for it? The sunlight, is all.

The truth is, I have been coming into your apartment periodically, though we are complete strangers, or truthfully, one sided strangers. I know a lot about you. Though we haven’t talked, or even exchanged glances, I am drawn to you. Last Tuesday I organized your CDs alphabetically. A couple nights later I did your taxes. For real. Check your file cabinet. Done. I found your grocery shopping list and figured that I would be romantic and go shopping for you, have the brown paper bags waiting on the counter when you walked in after your yoga class. I was worried that you would come home with your own groceries and then there would be just far too many groceries. It would go to waste. I was concerned that the Butter Pecan ice cream would melt.

The Silly things that keep people confined to their own small lives, apart from one another. In a better world, our desires would be necessary things that kept us alive for each other. Our desires would not be just hobbies.

So, there, our love affair is over. It saddens me, and perhaps, it will bring you relief.

I thought that I would write to you and point out something good that came out of this for me. Once I realized that it wasn’t going to work out between us, I turned my attention to the thing that was really making me unhappy.

My sky blue 1967 Ford Fairlane.

Some years ago, I was forced to sell the car. It was in bad need of repair and I am just not the kind of person that can make heads or tails out of how to repair it. That old song, you know the words, I needed the money. At the time, selling it was just something that I did without all that much thought, later it became something that I regretted. The years peeled away from me and then, the first hot day, to my horror, suddenly here was the car. Cruising around, restored. It had always been in my mind and now, here it was resurrected from my dreams into the daylight, the windows down, the radio on, an arm sticking out, getting the best trucker tan he could after a long brutal winter.

That’s right. The man who bought it from me, was something of a force of nature. He took my decaying vehicle and transformed it. I would have to watch my old car, drifting by on the roads of my small town and try not to let it completely break my heart. It was under so many layers of wax that even the sun had to turn away from the glare. The chrome was something that only your dreams could polish that bright. The glug glug glug, purr of that exhaust was like a small orchestra to me as it coasted through the traffic light. The worst part of all of this was that I was on foot! Yeah, I didn’t even have a car.

So, thanks to you, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need you, that you were just a stand in for something that I really had to take care of.

I went to the man’s house while he was at work and I did all of his laundry. I used fabric softener. I used spot remover on a shirt stained with wine. I cleaned out the dryer lint trap after every load. I neatly folded everything. Then, I fed his cat and cleaned his bathroom. Scrubbed the hell out of the toilet. Got all of the soap scum off of the sliding glass shower door.Emptied all of the trash cans. Changed the sheets on his bed. Sent his mom a birthday card.

Then, satisfied, I went out into the garage and took my car back.

It really drives like a dream. I’ll tell you this and you probably won’t believe it, but it is impossible for this car to get stuck at a light. Every light it hits is green. Everyone would fall in love with me if they were in this car, on my bench seat, just try not to smile.

The weather has been hot, there is no better time to be cruising down the coast line with the windows down. The wind whirring in your ears so loudly that you couldn’t’ ever hope to hear the radio, but that is the point. The wind in your ears like that, it is like if you listen very closely, you are getting direct orders from the same beautiful noise stuck inside a sea shell.

Soon, I will be at the ocean.
The sun on me, and the car. As it belongs. As I lay on the hood. My hands behind my head. My feet splayed out. The stretched out blue ocean dissolving on the curve of the earth.

Best,
Your Secret Admirer.

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Careful Not to Disturb The Nesting Hawks

Dear Molly,

There’s one thing about me that you should know, I can fly. Not very fast, and not very high. But I fly.

 

I’ve been able to do it ever since I was 11 years old. I thought it was dangerous to let anyone around me know. I correctly understood, even then, that I would be regarded as a freak, maybe put in a cage. An actual man-sized bird cage. Many nightmares have I had about that. Swinging on a perch, chirping. Newspaper laid out below me.

In Highschool, I was petrified that the football team would smash me into a bloody slop. Those things happen. There are people, for reasons unknown to them, that find an incredible magnetic draw towards destroying what is unique and what is beautiful in the world.

I will tell you, to be suspended over the surface of the earth, up in the atmosphere- by the power of your own body, gravity stripped away like a  pair of impossibly heavy boots kicked off. That is the most beautiful thing that I can ever think of. It saddens me, that you will not fully understand this feeling. And that I can’t begin to explain it with weak metaphors.


I didn’t get to fly very often. When I did, it had to be in a secluded area, nearly 40 miles from where we lived. The mountains, where the pine trees scraped at the bottom of clouds looming overhead like blimps en masse at the Superbowl. I’d casually glide around from tree top to tree top, touching the tip of each with my fingertips and making a wish, on each- careful not to startle any hawks. In fear that they would go right for my eyes. And that I’d never make it home to you, blind like that.

I had to wait til night, of course. Always, timing my flight with a dark moon. I would never think to try that kind of thing under a full moon- or sometimes if I could feel myself anxious and in need of a flight, I’d chance it under the sliver of a crescent moon.

I’m a private person and it suits me to keep this fact hidden from people. It hurt me to have to hide it from my own wife and kids.

Though, I know, you suspected that I had a mistress and that was what all of those late night vanishing acts of mine were all about. I wasn’t cheating on you. I was floating over jagged peaks of flathead sandstone and granite and looking down at the stars reflecting in the lakes and rivers below me, spelling out secret messages for the hawks to read from above, and enjoyably, me too.

Sometimes though, at the kitchen table, I did ache to tell all of you. I’d open my mouth and the words almost come out, but then I’d think better.

“What is it, babe?”

“Nothing, honey,  pass the chicken Lo Mein, please.”

Forever, it would have gone on, just like that. But when you went away to see your sister, I got an invitation to go see, Walter, a friend of mine who had a ranch just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I put my things into the Oldsmobile and headed away from our city. Soon the landscape was hot and flat and barren. That’s what happens when you go to the desert.

It wasn’t too much of a surprise to me when the station wagon blew a gasket. Smoke and steam and horrible noise. Like someone puncturing the lung of a minotaur. I was stranded on the side of a dusty road, with no one ever gonna come by. Just a bunch of sickly cactus. Helpless.

I always knew that Vista Cruiser would be the end of me.

The morning progressed. I cursed my bad luck. Not a single car came down the road. It was my own fault for choosing the back roads instead of the interstate, I still testify to this day, that it’s the only way to see any of this country. I was out of water. I could feel my guts really cooking in my body. I closed my eyes. My mouth like paste. My kidneys- little Cornish game hens roasting in a horrid clay pot.

Still, I didn’t fly. I sat by the car and I waited beside the road. I was hopeful. Vigilant. Patient. I watched the mesa that the road cut across. Those sick undulating waves of heat flickering and the sweat stinging my eyes.

A few hours later, I was out of hope. I figured my best chance was to head in a straight line to the south. The road was too meandering and I hadn’t seen another vehicle all day. I started to walk.

It wasn’t long, clumsy me, I fell down in the soft sand and smashed my knee on a hunk of Rhyolite. Volcanic magma hardened and left there not to just look pretty, but specifically to destroy me. My knee cap jumped out of it’s socket. I collapsed, crippled, dehydrated, nearly hallucinating. The world on fire at the edges burning inwards towards me.

I forced myself to sit up and then… I began to hover over the desert floor.

Then, unable to hold back, I started to glide low and quick over the sand and over the cactus, I flew as quick as I could towards civilization.

Ten minutes in the air, covering a great distance. I came closer to my friend’s ranch. To my surprise, my utter disgust and my lifelong fear, I saw a man standing on his front porch, watching me approach in the sky. He got a good look at me. I could see his wide eyes. Before I could land, he took out his cell phone and snapped a picture.

It was too late. People talk. You can do anything in this life, but you can never stop people from talking.

When I came back to our empty house, you and the kids were still with your sister. I had a day to myself. I’d seen a doctor in Albuquerque. My knee was healing, but I was told that I’d have to wear a brace for a month. I was moving around with the help of a crutch. Our house was quiet without you or the kids, the noise of Noah’s videogames and Kim’s guitar playing. I regretted that I hadn’t gone to join you all at the Lake House.

The men in the suits came to the front door, that night. They said they needed to speak to me about something. I let them in, there was no fighting it.

I knew exactly what their visit was all about. They knew the truth about me.

I am writing this letter to you because I love you so very much and I love our children so very much. They are letting me send you this correspondence, because they are not evil people. They are treating me well here, but I can never come back to you or the children.

I didn’t make this choice, I didn’t abandon you. I’ve been taken here and I will never be able to leave. Take solace in the thought, that I am not living in a man sized cage lined with newspaper, as I had feared and that I am not being cut apart by cruel heartless people- reduced into a leaking whimpering goo.

It is too dangerous, they say, for people like me, to be free in the world. Not only for what I could potentially do to the world, but would do to me.

Please, forgive me. And please, tell the children, if they can fly, not to.

                                                                             Love 
                                                                                     Roy