The Letter That Left a Thousand Words by Emily Previt and Mauli Chopra
This story is one of the July Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.
It was a Monday afternoon when I came back home from my cafe. I stopped by my mailbox to retrieve the weekly mail I forgot to pick up from last Friday. As I was sorting through the pile, only one envelope stood out. “To Goldilocks,” the envelope read. I instantly opened it. I haven’t been called that in 15 years. I first pulled out a letter.
These past 24 hours went by faster than the bake sales you used to do. I am writing down everything my mouth can’t spill out to you. I remember the car ride to the party that we both left just a couple hours ago. The colors outside turned into a stickier mess than our fight. I don’t even remember what we said tonight, but I remember how I felt as you walked away. You often ask me why I always preferred to hide behind my camera instead of being in front of it. The truth is I rather capture art than be it. They say a picture says a 1,000 words, but I have been taking pictures of you for a long time, and they have never spoken to you before, because you never responded back. I never understood why people would spend so much time making art in different shapes and forms until tonight. I am intoxicated by the thought of us. The miraculous idea of us being wrapped in scattered sunlight as we hopelessly fall for each other with open arms. Inside I have included a picture I took of you today. This one stood out to me above all the rest. You look so radiant and seem to be lost in a pure bliss of happiness. It’s like you knew that you can appreciate art and be it at the same time. I’m sorry for everything. I remember the day we met, it was like a piece of the sun walked into my life and blinded me with bittersweet emotions. I remember the first day you gave me my nickname. You told me I was a Princess that was waiting around in a tower thinking my life was to be spent hidden away. I remember when you would pose for hours in front of my camera and photo bomb every time I was focusing on something else. I remember you, I remember us. All these past memories are rushing to me right now because I don’t want to lose the chance to make more, but I’m afraid I have. I know we are so young but I know that in every lifetime, I would always want you in it. I hope tomorrow when we wake up under the same sun, you still remain in my life and I remain in yours. I don’t want to lose the art that I only ever captured through my camera, I want to capture you in my arms and never let you go. Hopefully, I’ll see you in the morning.
This was meant to be delivered 15 years ago. My handwriting has changed, but my feelings have not. I never saw you in the morning, but I miss you Goldilocks, and I wish upon floating pollen and my old broken birthday candles that we can be something together.
I then reached into the envelope to pull out a picture of me. I remember the moment he took this. We were on our way to a graduation party, which didn’t go so well. I remember how that was the last day we saw each other. How he had broken off a piece of me and took it with him. The picture seemed to finally return me back to whole.
I decided to look him up online as soon as I got inside. I found out that he has his own photography company called ‘Cohen’s Cameras.’ Right under the company name I saw the same photo of me that he took; it was the main masterpiece for a gallery opening. The gallery show was called “Remembering Us.” I skimmed through and found an office number. I immediately decided to call. It might have seemed stalkerish, but I wasn’t the one who was obsessed with cameras.
As the phone rang, I was unsure of what to say.
“Hello, you’re speaking to Megan from Cohen’s Cameras, how may I help you?” I heard from the other end.
“Yes, hello, can I talk to the C.E.O.?”
She hesitated for a moment, not knowing what to say. “Let me see if that’s possible.”
I was on hold for about 30 minutes before someone picked up the phone.
“Hello, my name is Lucas Cohen, C.E.O. of Cohen’s Cameras, what can I do for you today?”
“Princess, you finally left your tower.”
“Hannah?. . .”