Today I have a to do list longer than I am tall. Only two more days until we board that plane, and two days doesn’t seem like enough time for everything I have to wrap up at home (literally and figuratively). I was looking for these photo holder stickers so I could send off a book, and couldn’t find them anywhere. I went down to the basement to see if they ended up in a box in a tub somewhere.
In a tub was a box and in that box was a bunch of letters I’ve saved. Letters from the people I love the most: the people who love me back. There were letters from my sister and my dad, from my college roommate Karen, from my best friend Patrick. There were letters from Stephen before we got married, scribbled on the backs of receipts or on scrap paper from the company we worked at together. I found a letter from my Grandpa dated 1998 which meant so much more to me now that I’ve lived more and can understand what he meant. There were letters from Gracie’s parents and grandparents. Letters thanking me and letters telling me they loved me.
I found myself sitting on the cold concrete floor, tears streaming down my cheeks and snot dripping out my nose. A biography of my life in letters people have written me. Feelings and conversations that I have since forgotten are there in that box, written on bright stationery or dingy receipts. Why is it that the parts of life so easy to forget are the times you felt loved and the times easiest to remember are the times you felt pain? Despite my feelings, I have never been alone. There are people who love me and care for me even though I’m a Superbitch most of the time. And when they can’t say it outloud, or when they can and know that it would mean more to me in writing, they write it down so I can keep it always. It is there in the basement: this burning warmth in the cool dampness.