Objects In The Distance Appear Blue
Annie used to write love letters. She’d sit – in a café, in a park, a bus stop, a wine bar – look around for some stranger close by, and write them a love letter, in the same way an artist might do a sketch.
She kept them, filed away in a document box, like the ones the police on TV shows use to keep case files in. You could pick any letter from the collection, read it to her, and she’d be able to describe the person for whom she’d written it down to the last detail. She’d tell you where she was, what they were wearing that day, and how the weather had been. She’d tell you the story of how they’d met, the meals they shared, and what he was like as a lover. She’d tell you, almost with a tear in her eye, how he’d broken her heart, or cheated on her, or left one day and never returned. She’d tell you all these stories and you’d think they might be true.
Many months after first meeting her, I wondered if she’d written me a letter once. I’d seen her in the café many times before we spoke. I thought perhaps that she’d written her feelings for me then, seeing me across the way; that she’d given me a name and a history, and then written down in words what was in her heart. I wondered how close to mine the life Annie created for me had been. What name she had given me, if I had hurt her as I left, or if she had left me. I yearned to know who she thought I was before we met.
Many dozens – hundreds – of these letters she had written to men she never knew; another thing she’d left behind. Pieces of her heart, given away freely, for only a moment, and kept in a box, in a cupboard, in a house, that even now sometimes gave me moments of her scent.
And on the front of the box, in thick black marker that had faded near to grey, she’d written Stone Faces, but she never told me why.