All original work © 2009 - 2018 Alexey Provolotsky

20 May 2011

It wasn't my wife

Well, the stamps were blurry and indecipherable, and there were no indications of whether this was from my home town or maybe from another world. But really – the first thing about the envelope was that it didn’t have a return address. Which would have been okay if I knew the handwriting – but the problem was that I didn’t. My address was written in green ink and in bold, almost slovenly hand. As for the envelope itself, it certainly had that unreasonably depressing, wooden, dusty smell of a post office. Obviously I had no desire to open the letter right away. I had to give it some time, consider the possibilities.

It could be poison. Well, there were rumours. One man from my department said he had received a similar suspicious-looking envelope with some sort of powder inside. He said he threw it away without opening. Also, there were dozens of cases described on TV as well as in our local newspapers… I picked up the rather stocky yellow envelope and shook it up very close to my left ear. Nothing – this was like shaking your own finger. I raised the envelope and X-rayed it through my desk lamp: still nothing.

Good. Could be my chubby, ginger cousins writing from America. Inquiring about my life, inviting me to come over. I was not so sure about my intentions to come over, though, life being what it was. But there still was a chance of me considering their proposal. Shame I'd never had a chance to know them better. The only living memory was the two of them smoking incessantly in our garden, which used to make my uncle very angry, very annoyed.

Or it could be any of my school friends, really – even Simon. I mean, why not. It’s not that we used to be particularly close friends, but with so many years behind – could it be that he wanted to make amends, finally? Actually, I always admired him for what he was, even though he did behave like a heartless bastard that one time. Could be his letter then, though I struggled to remember his handwriting.

And Jane, of course. It could be Jane. I still remembered Jane’s smile. And the day she arrived in that red velvet dress, me meeting her at the station and taking her slim rucksack filled with lipstick and nail varnish. She looked worn out, slightly draggy, visibly sagged by the long journey, but she still was all smiles. Yeah, I could definitely see her using green ink. And being such an ingenious flirt, she could well write in this sloppy, slapdash way. With her hand squeezed into a shiny tunnel of bracelets. Were was she now, nine years past?

I slowly, reluctantly lowered my eyes back onto the envelope. Fingered its tight, plain textures. Or really – it could be poison. How could you tell. How could you tell who wrote it.

What I knew for certain was that it wasn’t my wife. My wife was in the kitchen, and she was calling my name in what sounded to me like an unnecessarily panicky voice. I thought it best to leave the envelope unopened for a little longer. 

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