pale blue letter
She has this old love letter in a book. The line with 'you are beautiful'. When she is down, mostly blue evenings composed of sour-milk melancholy, she'll go to the shelf and just touch the book enclosing the treasured letter - Hemingway's To Have and Have Not, and her gloom dissipates. It was her husband's favorite book, and it seemed to her the perfect resting place, about mid-way, page 112. He would re-tell the story of not having the illusive penny for postage. The stain of his sweaty palm marks the back, you can see, from when he paced back and forth in front of the postal station kindly asking outraged passerby for a coin to affix a stamp. He was most certainly broke that morning, he'd recount when conversation at holiday get-togethers would lag, anxious to inform his wife he'd secured a printing job, to pack her cardboard suitcase, the future is ours, darling. And she'd squeeze his arm, snug around her as he told the story, laughing through her nose at first, ultimately wiping tears away with her palms. Now he is dead. As many times as the letter has been read, by friends and acquaintances too, she's directed the reader to those three words. They flow easily like the rest, no darker or careful stroke, nor underline. A statement of fact, not necessarily a momentary compliment, written hurriedly with a rapid heart: 'you are beautiful', when she knew she was plain. Knock loudly; give her time to throw the deadbolt. The inviting reach towards the tucked pale-blue brittle paper, a sharp breath, there! - protruding out the top slightly, quick as innocent sunrise, even in winter. I'll let her know you're coming. It'll do you wonders because you've been looking a little pale. Kindly ask her to read it to you in her soft cello tone, free of egotism, passage that gives hope to the hopeless. Be sure to drop a penny in an old pimento glass jar nearby with a slot in the screw top lid.