Monday, December 15, 2008

Letters (Part Three)



(Letters is my series exploring a war-time relationship
across the miles. Here are Parts One and Two. )


Dearest Patrick,

I feel unworthy of Christmas this year.

Mother put up the decorations (including that hideous Santa with the crossed eyes), while I drowned myself in self-pity and eggnog. The sprig of mistletoe was the last straw. I ran crying from the room. Of course, Mother thought I was insane. And maybe I am. Or maybe it was just the liquor. I can’t tell anymore. Days are like dreams…I drift through them. Hoping to meet you somewhere in the haze.

Oh, darling, if missing you were a disease, I’d be dead by now. I’ve never known how to be halfway. It’s always all or nothing.

But you deserve more than soggy fantasies drained from uncertain rivers. Your letter brought that (and you) home. And so I will shed this dissatisfied skin, and try harder.

Yes, I finished that scarf for your mother. It was rose, like the wine we drank on our first date. Do you remember that? How clumsy I was, how much I spilled down that silk blouse. You laughed (I wanted to kill you)…until I laughed, too. I was already drunk on your eyes, which never left mine. How quickly we traveled from high laughter into that valley of knowing. Time a mountain so easy to slide down. Not even breathing.

You asked about our tree. I still take walks down there, although its naked limbs make me shiver in the noon sun. It is beautiful, though. Even without you. It seems to hold up the very sky. And that’s something to feel supported by. So thank you for making me mindful of its presence. That’s my real Christmas tree. No ornaments needed to mar its native beauty.

My bath? I’d like to say you made me blush, but you already know how shameless I am. I think it’s enough to acknowledge that the thoughts and feelings that soap my heart are always rather…dirty. But I better stop there. I can see your ears redden from here, my love. Which makes me laugh for real.

I’m not sure if I’ve given you what you wanted, Patrick. I have a hard time focusing on these small features of daily living. So let me end with that most perfect of details. A kiss on this page.

I’m standing under the mistletoe.


Love,

Elise


---

(Photo of mistletoe
courtesy of Hilton Pond)

Part Four is here

12 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

It's amazing how much character comes through in this way.

Lina Safi ("suave pureza" en árabe) said...

wow, what a beautiful blog. You write really good. Nice to read you.

jason evans said...

The push and pull between each of these lovers and the distance is heartwrenching. So much to try to soothe with only words. But you're right, words do have strength. Sometimes nearly impossible strength.

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, I think the medium does lend itself to a heightened compression. The characters choose what's important to relay, and we learn more from their choices.

Lina, thanks so much for stopping by! And for the kind words. :) I enjoyed looking at your profile. We share many of the same tastes.

Jason, thank you. :) I do think those words are the bridge between dreams and reality for these two. Maybe those two worlds are not as separate and distinct as she once thought.

David Cranmer said...

You have me with this story! "I finished that scarf for your mother. It was rose, like the wine we drank on our first date" stood out for me... Outstanding.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

"Hoping to meet you somewhere in the haze." This line is truly affecting. You have written such a touching series, Sarah.

When I got to the last line - I let out a big sigh. So very tender.

Sarah Hina said...

David, I'm so pleased the characters have sucked you in! And thanks for drawing my attention to your favorite lines. :) I always appreciate hearing which parts click for people.

K, the lines you pluck out from my work are usually my favorites, too. :) Thank you, my friend.

That said, I had some doubts about this letter. I think it's a very pure, unashamedly romantic form of expression that I'm exploring. And yet, I struggle with the extreme intimacy of it, too. If that makes any sense. ;)

I'm glad I made you sigh, K! Mission accomplished. :)

Aine said...

Interestingly (even to me!) I'm starting to relate more to Patrick. Though the romance and idealism is lovely, I'm hungry for real-life detail and truth. I guess pretty packages have lost their appeal to me. :(

Reading this installment (which I'm loving, btw) is making me scared for her. Her attempts to focus on details for him is good, but feels uncomfortable for her. I hope that once they are together, living life day to day, that they aren't disappointed in the necessary diminishing of romance. And that "they" live up to her expectations. (God, I'm starting to sound old and jaded, aren't I?)

Nice writing!

Sarah Hina said...

Aine, I'm not sure I see this as a pretty package, per se. Because that makes it sound rather empty, or illusory.

Certainly, Elise has difficulty gluing herself to reality, but the emotions run deep, and are authentic. I don't think she's forgotten their harder times in the past, but I do believe it's natural to focus on the passion and longing when separated, and under a dark cloud like war. I think she's trying to make a shift for him, even with these baby steps. ;)

That said, it is an interesting path to explore whether her expectations might be unreasonable as time wears on, and when they do reunite. That is very likely true. And I've definitely thought of that, as I plunge deeper into their relationship!

Thank you for your observations and feedback. :)

Vesper said...

I see her struggle in here, trying to give him the realism he hungers for and lapsing back to her innate idealism.
So beautifully written, Sarah... exquisite...
xoxoxo

Sarah Hina said...

Vesper, you're right. She's kind of navigating through uncharted waters. Struggling for a balance, if that's even achievable. But she will try.

Thank you so much for the lovely words, my dear friend. :)

Aniket Thakkar said...

I know that you have already continued the series quite a long way... But still don't you dare give it a sad ending! My heart goes out to Elise... To look at the things that remind of him must make her feel close to him and yet force her to acknowledge his absence over and over again! I can only imagine how tough it is on her!