Friday, November 1, 2013

The Mystery Letter

When my husband and I moved to our current place, everything was brand-new: the community, the house, the furniture, and the appliances. After all, it was a new life. During the walking through, we noticed the empty spaces reserved for the big appliances. There was no washer or dryer - not even a dishwasher. We hadn’t noticed anything strange until the day the fridge was delivered. Then, something quite mysterious came into my view.

The house we moved in belongs to a new community called Mission Gardens. The community has a big courtyard where the children like to run, a beautiful blue swimming pool where ladies like to sunbathe, and a tennis court where old couples like to play. The house itself is not unique or special. It has 3 bedrooms, one used as our office; it has two bathrooms with bathtubs (we couldn’t care less for the bathtubs), and a spacious living room. It’s not unique, but it’s quite comfortable. The office has a calming view to the gardens, which helps to get the work done. Sometimes, I even see mother duck walking with her babies.

On the day we did the walking through, the only things I noticed were the strong smell of wood from the cabinets and the sharp smell of the new carpet. There was nothing else there, besides the chandelier that my husband kept bumping his head on it.

Then we moved in. We hired two strong guys to move the heavy furniture and had the help of some friends carrying the many boxes of books, kitchen utensils and clothes. It was not much, but it was enough for two.

Two days later, I had to stay home to wait for the fridge delivery. Before its arrival, I double checked the empty space and cleaned the floor. Then, I went back to our office to get some work done. I lost track of the time until I heard the doorbell. The fridge had arrived. I opened the door to a humongous smiling boy. His body was of a giant, but his face was of a timid boy; even his voice was quiet. He carried that double fridge by himself. The other guy was just giving instructions on how not to hit the walls. I decided to go back to the office. I didn’t want to be just a nuisance in the middle of the kitchen, but before I left something got my attention. I saw an envelope on the floor where the fridge was supposed to go. Without thinking twice, I got the envelope and went to the office.

A letter? Was that really a letter? The envelope was sealed. How did this letter end up on my kitchen floor? No return address. What is this letter doing here? The postmark was from twenty years ago! Twenty years ago I was 15 years old, living in Sao Paulo and having no idea what I was going to be when I grew up. And now I had a sealed letter from twenty years ago on my hands. I was going to open that letter. I was going to do it as soon as the guys left.

Then, the boy called me. “Madam. I’m afraid there is a problem.” When I got in the kitchen, water was rushing from behind the fridge. A broken pipe. “Let’s shut off the water fast,” I said. There was water everywhere: under the dishwasher, inside the cabinets, in the living room. Oh, my brand new carpet. To tell the truth, after having to clean up everything in the kitchen, I forgot about the letter.

But it was there, on the office table, still sealed. I closed the door and the curtains, turned my phone off, and prepared myself to open that letter. The envelope was yellowish, the stamp was one of “Alice Paul”, and it was bulky. The letter was addressed to Virginia Mcky, 54 Ranch Drive, Santa Clara, CA. There was no return address, not even a sender. My hands were shaking as I was afraid to destroy the letter trying to open it. I had to quickly grab a kitchen knife and then, carefully, cut the envelope.

What I saw blew me away. It was a package of wildlife pictures of birds: a crane, a toucan, an eagle, a kiwi, a flamingo, an owl, a woodpecker, and many others. It reminded me of a kind of international and modern version of “The Birds of America” book. And the letter said:

“Dear Virginia,
I hope this letter finds you well. You can tell I’m writing from Australia right now. The weather here is fine, the people are friendly, and the food is ok. I’m enjoying my work. Australia has such an incredible variety of animals that makes my work seem like a pastime.
I’m sorry for not being direct with you. The truth is that I miss you very much and I wish you had chosen to come with me. Now, we are not just miles apart but it also takes months to hear from you. I’m not even sure if you are getting my letters or if you just don’t want to reply to them.
I understand your brother is mad at me, but I couldn’t help falling in love with you. Please, tell him I still consider him my best friend. I was going to tell him about us before the party, but you were so beautiful I just had to kiss you. It broke my heart that he had to find out about us that way.
Would you reconsider my proposal? What can I do so we can be together? I’m leaving for Japan next week. Below is my new address, so you can write to me there. I will always write to you.
Address in Japan:
23-2-5 Yoyogi. Shinjuku, Tokyo. 100-8994”

Who sent that letter along with those pictures is still a mystery to me. I wish I could have found Virginia Mcky just by googling her. I can’t hire a private detective just to deliver a lost letter (and to amuse my curiosity). If you ever hear about her, please let me know. I still have her letter with me.

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