(Original Publication Date, 12 November 1990)
My master plan had failed. I had to go back to school, but it was useless. All I could think about was how little I knew about the Canada Post and how long it took them to deliver letters to people who lived in the same town.
I thought, “How many days? How many days ‘til Martha gets that letter?” I leaned my ear against my locker to see if could hear the letter coming through the vibration in the locker walls. I tried not to attract the attention of the silhouette kids moving through the halls.
I leaned my back against the wall and tried to look pregnant, thinking my faux maternal instincts might send you a message about my letter. I thought my thoughts with my biggest think. “I hope she keeps it confidential. I hope she tears it up. – I’ll tell her to tear it up. I’ll ask for it back, an’ then I’ll tear it up!!!” All those thoughts were running through my head and everything depended on whether you had gotten my love letter to you.
Then I saw you in the hall. You were carrying your usual sheaf of paper but you had actual books in your hands. I was impressed that you seemed to be doing school when you were in school; but it did not distract me from the important question I needed to ask. I said, “Uh, Marty…You didn’t happen to get a letter from me, did you?” You looked so excited that I was actually talking to you in school instead of calling you on the phone or waiting until our date every night. Plus, I called you, “Marty,” instead of “Mart,” the nickname you said you hated because you were not a store.
You said, “Not yet!” Then you turned and walked away from me mid-sentence, talking to me over your shoulder and said, “But don’t worry, my mom will tell me…She usually reads the mail first.” Walking away from me mid-sentence and talking to me over her shoulder is something my mother always does and I was shocked.
Shocked that you reminded me of my mother and I found it…um…exciting. Shocked that your mother might read my love letter to you, but I was also shocked that your mother read your mail. What about privacy? What is it about your life where your mother would need to read your mail? What kind of secrets have you been keeping from me? Why weren’t interested even a little bit in why I would write you a letter or what was in my letter? After all, it’s not like I have written love letters to you before. Well, I wrote love notes to you before, but this is a real letter with a stamp on it going in the mail. That’s a big deal.
What if the worst thing happened and your mother misread the letter and thought I was in love with her and not you? I am not in love with your mother. She’s old. She’s married. She doesn’t remind of my mother like you do. I don’t think I could handle two girlfriends unless…is your mother a good cook? Forget I wrote that. Concentrate on the love letter you are about to get and when you get it, tear it up so that there is no proof I am in love with either you or your mother.
Thanks for reading,