Wait For Me

It had been years, but there was no mistaking your handwriting on the postcard. “Come meet me.” That’s all. Just three words scribbled out in black ballpoint, but that was all I needed to know it was you. 

The card itself was nondescript, one of those scenic “wish you were here!” expressions, infinitely variable versions available in every truckstop and roadside diner acros the country. I knew it was yours. You so loved collecting those things, your tiny fragments of Americana. Each one a shard of a mirror, you said, offering up a slightly different reflection. 

The card had had a rough journey to me, stained, ragged, water-damaged, the postmark rendered nearly unreadable. I prepped solvents of dye, lemon juice, and soap shavings to resurrect it, deployed ultraviolet lights and a magnifying glass to decipher it. You might have laughed to see me in my kitchen-bound sleauthing. The answer should have been obvious of course, once that persnickety stamp revealed itself: our city, where we’d once made our home and claimed as our own. Where I had last seen you, all those years ago. 

Accepting your invitation, I came as I had once left, carried in a thundering train rolling across the prairie and through the wooded mountains. With each glimpse out the window I thought of you. Each spotted moment of the countryside one of your tiny fragments, a singular unique slice of place and time, never to be seen again. 

The city was not as I remembered it. Urbanization, gentrification, the warp and weft of economic and social activity had woven a new pattern since I’d been gone. When I finally found it, the building where we’d made our home was but a ruin of its previous self, gutted by fire and abandoned to the elements and vandals. A wreck upon cursory examination, though further exploration revealed the foundation and several walls to still be strong.

There in the old apartment, amongst the detritus and graffiti, I spotted three words. “Wait for me.” Same handwriting as the postcard, a swash of bright blue spray paint standing out amid a rainbow of profanity. 

And I am. Every day I come and wait in this spot, warming myself with a thermos of coffee and a sandwhich from the old deli up the street. You summond me, and I came. Here I will wait for you, for as long as it takes you to find me again.

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