Lisa's letter

Lisa's letter

A Poem by Andrew Hawkins

It seems winter has come early.

November is barely here and already it's snowed. 

The once warm summer breeze that rolled in with the tide, has been replaced. Replaced by a frigid wind that just hits you and keeps on going. Blowing right through you as if you were no more than the leaves that it was here to strip away. 

The Autumn leaves. 

Natures finest hour. 

Clear blue skies and green grass have their place and their appeal, but when the leaves turn red and gold and yellow in no particular order, the world is truly beautiful. 

Its peaceful, serene. 

Its a time of change.

Its like the world is getting ready for bed. Its putting on its pajamas and slippers and warming the milk for the hot chocolate to see it through the long nights sleep that is winter, with its white feather pillows and soft blankets.

This year its been different. 

This year summer came late, stayed for coffee and then all of a sudden fall had passed in the blink of an eye, as if to get things back on track so that winter wouldn't have to wait til next year to show up. What a row that would cause.

But as I sit here above the rocks and look out at the cape, at the setting sun and the dark green sea. Watching the white horses gallop up the beach before disappearing into the sand, I feel that so much more is changing than just the seasons.

I guess nothing stays the same anymore, anymore than anything lasts forever.

At home a letter awaits me that I dare not read. As if not doing so will somehow change its contents.

It sits there above the fireplace, waiting.

Taunting me.

I caught myself the other day walking down the hallway rather than going through the lounge because I couldn't bear to see it.

Its the handwriting that scares me.

Its the same handwriting that used to be on letters that could lift my soul from the deepest abyss and raise it aloft to soar above the highest mountains. The same handwriting that has now become the bearer of all news that is bad.

I know its from you.

And I know what it says.

It says that you do still love me and that you probably always will, but that its not enough. It says that there's no way you can see this working with me here and you there and it says that you're sorry. It says that you wish sometimes we had never met because before we did you didn't know that this existed. You didn't know how much it would hurt to be without it, and now you do....

But whats missing are the questions.

The "can we make this work with me here and you there?", the "if we can't would you consider moving?", the "how do we get to keep something we both want so god damned much?" questions.

I know they're missing because I have the answers. I have all the answers, but nobody is asking the questions. 

And because you write, and not call, I don't even get to ask them rhetorically just so that I can get the answers out in the open where you can see them and hear them and know that we can do this, and that we should do this.

But thats not in the letter.

The letter can't see that I'm in purgatory.

It can't feel like I do. It can't feel that that bit of me that all my ribs connect to in the middle of my chest, that bit feels like its been ripped clean out. Now all thats there is this big empty space. A space full of nothing but longing... regret... unshed tears and sleepless nights.

Why didn't you call? 

Even if you'd called to tell me all the things that are bound to be in the letter, all the things I didn't want to hear, then at least I would have gotten to hear you... to hear your voice. 

It used to be like a switch. It triggered some Pavlovian response deep inside me, just the whisper of it would make me smile, just the rumor of its presence was enough to make my pulse race a little quicker, make me breathe deeply, savouring the imminence of it all.

Maybe I should have told you all this before it was too late. Before the letter. Before the conversation that pre-empted the letter. 

I should have told you this every day. 

I thought you knew. 

Maybe you did? Maybe its only in books and movies and fairy tales that it works that if you love someone then they have to love you back. Maybe its only in make believe that any of this really matters.

I wish I'd said no.

When you gave your speech about time and distance and s**t getting in the way I should have said "NO!" I should have said "So what!? Yes you're right, its driving us both crazy but lets fix all that. Lets decide what WE want and take that instead?" Thats what I should have said.

But I didn't

I don't know why.

I loved you then like I do now.

Nothings changed.

You can use that one to start the list. The list of things in my life that I regret. Number 1, top of the page, the only thing to make it to the list my whole life. "Not saying no to you when I should have"

Why do I always have to be so f*****g agreeable all the time, where does that come from?

I think I was shocked. Stunned into total inaction, like a deer that freezes in the headlights of certain death. That was me. 

I remember feeling like something was draining away from me, the way maple syrup does from the bottle that gets knocked over just after you've told your kids for the umpteenth time to put the lid back on it when they've finished. There it was, slowly pouring out, leaving a mess behind. 

Only the mess was me, is me. The syrups gone and the bottles empty but the mess is still here.

And the only thing I can do is sit here and conjure up this story of a letter that never got read, that never got written, in the hope that one day you'll read this letter and then you'll know. 

You'll know all the things I never got chance to say, because the questions never did get asked. But the answers are real. Just ask me.

© 2013 Andrew Hawkins

My Review

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Excellent writing in every way. Your physical descriptions are great, and I especially liked the syrup/bottle/mess analogy. Very imaginative and well crafted.

Posted 6 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on February 12, 2013
Last Updated on February 12, 2013


Andrew Hawkins
Andrew Hawkins

Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada

While the jury is still out about life beginning at 40 it seems, for me at least, poetry began at 40. Other than the enforced scribblings of a young child I haven't written poetry for thirtysomethi.. more..