You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #58 of R.B. Wood’s THE WORD COUNT PODCAST.
The prompt asked that we use the phrase:
“I was enjoying the summer holiday when…”
I was in NYC when I wrote the majority of this story, sitting in Bryant Park with the sun in my face. I love the city, and no matter how long I stay, it’s not long enough.
The story is somewhat of a lament for how quickly time passes, especially in the city that never sleeps.
* * * *
I was enjoying the summer holiday when he showed up.
Well, he showed up would not be totally accurate.
He may have been a she, and neither really showed up in the traditional sense. I never saw a face or heard a voice. Like I said—it wasn’t a traditional relationship, and I knew that from the start. That was the allure, I suppose, but now that it’s over, the hard work begins.
I’m rambling, and I’m sorry if this comes off nonsensical. Some days, I feel like what happened was all in my imagination. Maybe I created the whole thing. It’s hard to know anymore. I only know I’m left wanting, though richer for the experience.
Let me take a step back to the beginning of summer when this all started. It was the oddest of meetings, and my heart was open, as it normally is. I’ve always considered that to be a strength, not a weakness. Despite growing more cautious over the years, I was never one to shy away from a mystery.
I’m a sucker for words. That’s why I chose to become a writer. My life is an open book in many ways, but I was stuck. Call it writer’s block or lack of inspiration. Call it a muse on vacation. Whatever it was, I was haunted that I might never write again.
I use words to expose who I am and to entice potential readers to connect to me. Though I’m aware I make myself a target for some odd people, I’ve never had any problems. With the amount of time I spend online, it’s inevitable to run into my share of … shall we say … eccentric people. The thing is, they don’t scare me. I’m good at weaning out the cons from the authentic.
And yet, I didn’t see this one coming.
I received the first poem on June 20th. I remember it well because it was a balmy evening—the beginning of summer. I was sitting at an outdoor café when a young boy approached me.
“Are you Julia?” he said.
I did not know him, thought it was too late for a boy of his age to be out on his own. “Yes, I am, and who are you?” I looked into his bright, blue eyes and immediately felt an odd familiarity. Was he the son of a friend?
“I have a something for you,” he said, handing me an envelope before he turned to walk away.
I searched for an adult near him and saw none. “Wait!” I said, staring at the non-descript paper in my hand. “Who is this from? Who are you?”
He weaved his small body between tables of the crowded café and disappeared into the night. I got up to look for him, astonished that I lost sight of him so quickly. I asked patrons nearby at the edge of the restaurant where he went, but no one could give me a definitive answer.
That first poem read:
Summer is officially begun
So this will be my number one
I spread love and hope and grace
No matter the time or place
Do not seek to find the answers
In life we are but mere dancers
We jump, we twirl, we bow
The time to live is now
And so it began …
Poems showed up mysteriously for me daily after that. The language was never aggressive. The writer wasn’t the best poet but he wasn’t the worst. I say he, but it could’ve been a she. I just don’t know. At times, the poems rhymed, but most of them did not. Many of them were just a few lines. The only thing they had in common was each one was numbered.
Strangers delivered many of the envelopes, and none of these so-called couriers ever disclosed information about the sender. I found some poems left for me at my place of work. Only one was found at my house. It scared me, even though I suspect this person had been tracking my whereabouts from the start.
When I found the letter in my home mailbox, my mind immediately conjured up the negative, but I rationalized if he or she wanted to harm me, they would have done so by now.
The next day, as I sat in the park desperately trying to kick start my manuscript, a stranger delivered an envelope to me. I had grown accustomed to this crazy, strange occurrence. I simply accepted the envelope and said, “Thank you.”
It was a peaceful afternoon, and aside from a few kids running in the distance, the park was quiet. A cool breeze replaced the humidity in the air. I tore open the envelope to read poem number ninety-five.
As a new season begins
An old one must end
From Solstice to Equinox
Summer is closing
And so must I
May my last words
Be the start of your next ones
A slow smile of realization crossed my face. I picked up my pen and stared at the blank lines on my notepad, determined to break through.
Thank you for reading. ♥
Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.