Love, Jack

Posted on: Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Posted at: 11:45 PM

Tonight, I am missing my father.

It’s not that I rarely miss him; it is rare, however, that my emotions overwhelm me so…

I spent the earlier part of this evening in the attic going through boxes; organizing things, deciding what would go for donation tomorrow.

Boxes, upon boxes. Boxes full of old clothes. Boxes full of old toys. Boxes full of knick knacks. So many boxes…

I sat quietly, diligently parting with clothes and toys that were mine and my brother’s once upon a time.

Clothes that we have outgrown, toys that we never play with anymore. Knick knacks my mother has accumulated over the last 50+ years; separating the keepsakes, from the crap—which while on the subject of knick knacks, is a fine line.

Then, I happened upon a box. A box not quite like the other boxes—a very pretty box, indeed. A box set up high and behind others, as if not wanting to be found.

As I reached for the box, so many of the others came tumbling down around me—but I grabbed the box!

I held the box in my hands. With one quick sweep, I brushed away the time. I opened the box slowly to find… folded pieces of paper.


I instantly knew these folded pieces of paper were letters.

They were tied together with a pretty yellow satin ribbon.

I arched an eyebrow.

I removed them from the box and set them on my lap.

I examined them.

The paper was dried and faded—with that yellow tinge. I suspect the pretty yellow ribbon may have once been white.

Then, the air had begun to fill with that smell. You know the one—that ‘I’m a piece of paper and I’ve been stuck in a box for who knows how long’ smell? Yes, that smell.

I pulled the slip of ribbon until the letters were all loose. I picked the first letter up in my hands, unfolded it, and began to read…

My heart skipped a beat. A hand went to my mouth.

I stopped reading, looked up… then looked around… looked down at the box… looked at the stack again.

These were letters—letters from my father to my mother, letters from my mother to my father. Letters before they married. Letters during their marriage. Letters… and cards and notes. An entire life shared… marked by letters… in a box.

I felt entitled.

I reminded myself that these were private, personal moments shared between two people—of how I would feel.

And so…

I began to read…

And then, I stopped.

I folded the letter up quickly, and I placed it atop of the stack.

I placed the stack of letters back in the box, and covered the box with its lid.

For some time, I sat there, staring at the box.

It became enough for me, though, to know that such letters exist—that someday, maybe my mother will show them to me.

And if not… I will remember that these letters are here.

And then, I will read them all.

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2003-04-30  »  scc