The Envelope

Every day, he walks out of work, seeing her face at the pool. Although with each day, the time between the break up moment and then separates at the same leisurely pace; the rawness and grittiness remain asymptotically the same as the break up moment. He walks by her and gives her a friendly smile, some days he even converses with her about moments past and future, but it happens painfully all the same. He enters bearing the same amount of weight as the day before, as her mouth opens he loses that weight until the moment she closes those perfect lips and the weight comes crushing back. The most embarrassing and hardest moments, are the moments he forgets to talk and even listen. It’s during those moments he takes spiritual steps back, and his eyes focus on what he has lost. She speaks from her lungs and past her lips, but what he listens to is her body. Alien as it is now, it was once something he understood well. During her monologues, he listens to her body, and understands that it’s changed. He listens for the differences, the subtle movements that have been invented since the separation. His listens to his own body, as it yearns for a little tenderness and a little touch, specifically from her, and only her. The biggest thing that he understands during this moment, is how much despair the physical body brings to him. Beyond the emotional, intellectual, and metaphysical pain that his body may hold, there’s something about the proximity of her own self that brings him nearly to his knees. As hopeless as it is to continue these actions, he does so in hope that one-day things will be easier; every day, he continues to smile and wave to her, hoping for change that will never come.

After the smile, and the re-brandishing of emotional weight back on, he walks to his car. His car is his place of musical solitude, free from the confines of atmospheric freedom. Seeing his car brings on a mental civil battle that he can’t seem to shake. Despite knowing it will never be there, every day he sees her, he prays and prays that in some romantic fashion, on his car he will find an envelope, in the envelope a document, in the document some words, and within those words he prays to find vulnerability.

Today, the day before, and tomorrow, he will walk to his car and find nothing. Yet, every day, he will, without hesitation, hope to find some kind of message from her. The message could be anything; it is the principle in the simple existence of an envelope, on his car, from her, that drives him to the brink of obsession. To him, the envelope was not a winning ticket back to her heart, nor is it a confession from her of all she had wished she could change. No, it was the principal of vulnerability that he yearned for. The dream he was chasing was that one day he would feel restored for all of his confessions, depressions, and recessions that were confided in her. All he wanted, was that she made herself as vulnerable to him as he did her. She didn’t have to say anything to do that; she didn’t need much, and he didn’t need much for balance. He just needed principle.

Of course, it struck him as odd that this very specific concept would help him heal, despite the fact that this envelope only existed in his mind. The thought of such an envelope potentially never brushed across her cerebral cortex, ergo it never even came to a pen hesitantly rushing to some sort of parchment. He also thought of the power that envelope would have within it, provided the contents was as emotionally charged the same way he was. It had the potential to restore him, but in the opposite way it could destroy him, fuck him up real bad. It was constantly a battle between the dark and the light; does he live in the love and light from the initial conditions of the relationship, or does he cave into the darkness and despair that reside within the last few terminal months of the relationship? Was the choice even his? He constantly struggled with the light/dark dilemma, and the envelope could permanently send him into either side. All of this, call it potential, went through him, through his brain, through his heart, and even his balls. He carried with him a foolish sense of hope and importance into a fictional envelope, how strange it was.

For weeks and weeks, he waited. Polite smiles and many painful conversations later, he found that the absence of any such letter was just another weight to carry on his back. Every day he saw her, even the days he didn’t, he would walk to his car and picture an envelope waiting there, waiting for him, but it never arrived. The anticipation slowly crept into a dark devotion to an imaginary expectation, pushing him into that darker realm of hindsight. “Fuck!” It began to be too much for him, the complete absence of any kind of deeper communication between the two, after such a long and passionate romance; how could either of them refuse to show any longing for something more? He pondered upon it for days, how to get himself out of the miserable cycle of collective expectations. Finally, one late night, he thought of his solution! He would write the letter, and he would place the envelope upon her car!

Frantically, he rushed to the envelope store, conveniently open, and got his envelope. He gathered all his materials and sat down to think of what to say. Thoughts and ideas gathered around him galore, everything from a shallow attempt of reunion to the specific arrangement of the sourest words he could think of. After several hours of speculation, interpretation, and written communication, he finally realized what he wanted it to say. In his best handwriting, he wrote down his thoughts, signed it, sealed it, and put it in his car for further delivery.

* * *

She went to the pool that day, as normal. Full of anticipation for their sporadic conversation. She wondered where today’s conversation would lead, if it would be more nostalgic talks of better times, clarification of the terminal times, or simple small talk. She hoped for a hug at the end of their talk that day. That was another inconsistency with their conversations, but today she really wanted to feel him around her once more, another few brief moments where contact was tolerated and closeness could be enjoyed safely. She tried getting some topics ready pre-emptively, but she figured the flow of the day would bring forth the words they would share.

It was about that time, and she saw him coming out of the building, dressed in his dirty shorts, ironed shirt, and his Christmas gift watch. He came closer to her, with his greasy curly hair, baggy depressed eyes and friendly smile. He looked directly into her eyes, so intensely it flashed her back to the pillow talks at midnight where he looked into her eyes the same way. She wanted to throw herself at him, to jump and hug him with her legs around his waist and arms suffocating his head. Every day she yearned to attack him like she hadn’t seen him in months, like he just gave her the best gift in the world by being with her, but mostly like they were still together. Instead, all she said was, “Hey.”

A few minutes later he was gone, again. He walked to his car the same way he walked out of her life the first time, but now she couldn’t be sad about it anymore. She got her hug, but it wasn’t like the ones before; it was a sympathetic hug, one you give a person who fails a test, or comes to your house for the first time, or one you give your ex-love. She just wanted to feel him, whole, to just have five minutes of private time where she could inspect him, to make sure the “medication” hasn’t ruined him, to feel him and get as close as she could to remember how it used to feel. She never could do that, never without losing control. She thought about it as he walked away; it began to get painful again, so she promptly ended that train of thought.

She walked back to her car, across the parking lot, and under the sun. She was rushing because she had a place to be at a certain time. Unlocking her car from afar, the lights rushed on for a second, that’s pretty much it though. She opened the door, sat in, and even though she was in a hurry, she stopped for a second and let herself feel the sadness for just a moment. When the time to be sad was over, she looked up, and saw a bright white envelope underneath the wiper blade of her car. Confused for a few seconds, she finally realized what she thought it was. She rushed out of the car, unbuckling her seatbelt as quickly as she could. She slammed the door open almost knocking her back as it recoiled; she grabbed the envelope and looked at it. For you. It said. She sat back down in her car, slowly. She opened the envelope, perplexed by the titanic amount of ideas she thought could be in it. It could have been the apology, the regretful letter she’d hoped for for so long. She pulled out the parchment, and was surprised about the amount of white space she saw. The words she did find, confused her, a lot, because all she saw on that piece of paper was…

Are you happy?

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