black box

The old black box tells a million tales.

Ticket stubs, from concerts long ago forgotten. Yellowed photos of a young girl in a long dress. A diamante crown leftover from some unknown celebration. Pennies flattened by trains. Dried corsages, old but firm, bedecked with pink satin ribbons.

And letters. Everywhere. There are letters.

Ruled white paper, torn from a notebook and filled with blue ink. I don’t have to read the letters to know what they say. I pick one up, and like a flash! I remember. That big old car. Windshield wipers swishing in the rain, a farmer’s rain, a real soft soaker. We left the windows open and the car was turned off but for some reason, the windshield wipers were still on. You forgot about them, or maybe you just liked the rhythmic, thwap-thwap sound they made. The stereo softly playing some song I thought I’d never forget, but after a while I couldn’t hear it, couldn’t hear anything but that thwap-thwapping sound.

And I remember smelling that heady scent, that wicked-rhododendron sweet smell, and laughing softly at the flowers you put on the mirrors, the dashboard, on the floor of the car and in my hair. Our Secret Garden.

Sometimes I still read your old letters. Are you somewhere reading mine?


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