If I ever write this letter
The pages I could write
But I don’t know where to send it
You have vanished
Heaven knows where you live – Natalie Merchant, The Letter
Today, a man asked me if I had ever thought about becoming an American citizen.
“It’s a long story,” I said back to him
And a sad one was what I didn’t say. And just like that, I remember you. I’ll be honest, at times I don’t. You come to me in the fog, in the twilight, at dawn. Before my alarm goes off, set to The Highwayman by Johnny Cash. I still have all the letters you wrote to me by hand. I keep them in a Yorkshire Tea tin. I only wish I knew what I had written to you.
Do you remember on the last day you didn’t come to see me? You said it was too far to come from Falls Church. The last thing you told me was that your dog would wake up in the middle of the night, that it knew something that people did not. I had my passport in hand. I wanted to show it to you as you’d never seen one before. That was the day the lights went out in my life.
I met you at the airport in Heathrow and took you on the world’s oldest underground train system. For the next ten days, the city was ours even though I thought I would be the one to show it to you. I’d only just arrived a few months ago myself, 19 years of age. We had not seen one another in 7 years. It was your first time out of The United States.
Your hand that once held mine still burns in our alternate pasts.
These are some letters that I just couldn’t send you.