In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”
She was too special to text, to email, to send a selfie.
This had to be from the heart, and would likely be a ‘novel’ experience; he chuckled to himself, being a writer…
There were people about, but he was able to focus.
He even bought a special fancy pen and stationery at the bookstore, just for the occasion; the ink was distinctive, seductively dark, he thought; the yellowed ivory look of the paper gave it just the right look of antiquity, and she would immediately, upon seeing it was his writing, be duly impressed.
The coffee shop, however, was full of college students, much like he’d been not very long ago; loud, boisterous, sure of themselves and their world-changing ideas.
How his world had shrunk, so suddenly, so magically, down to two, and if he had his way, down to one: to her.
This letter, to her. His heart, to her. All that he would be, to her.
He left the coffee shop behind, its murmured ‘walla’ of earnest conversations became meaningless, like the prayers of rabble in the church courtyard to the consecrated priests within.
Somehow, he found a quiet spot, on a hill where few joggers and dog walkers, parents, and couples out for a romantic walk bothered to venture.
It wasn’t complete solace, but it was the best he would do, and while he burned with the passionate prose he’d composed in his mind, the day was fleeting; soon the night would come, and she’d be home, the element of his elegant surprise lost.
He filled the paper by the light of the westering sun, laboring, reading, reading again, a small mound of pricey parchment in a pyramid of circles on his left, the envelope waiting patiently, resting on blades of grass on his right.
There. It was done. Well and truly done. If he were a girl, (pardon, a woman) who received such a letter, he would surely swoon. Cyrano at his best was a hack compared to this.
Romantically cryptic, he did not write his full name, just his initials, on the envelope, and he placed it with trembling hand in the mailbox, as if in offering to a god smiling benevolently, condescendingly, upon such a meager, but heartfelt offering.
He left in a high state of anticipatory bliss.
His phone rang at eleven that night.
He’d been pacing, waiting, slowly going out of his mind, but he let it ring four times before he answered it, lest she think him desperate.
“Hello.” His voice came out steadier than he’d hoped for; that was good.
“Is this some kind of joke?” she said.
“Joke? You think I’m joking? You read everything I feel about you, and you think I’m joking? What’s wrong with you?”
Taken aback, her tone softened. “How you feel about me…? But …there’s nothing on this paper.”
“How could that be?”
“I don’t know, but it’s blank; there was a blank envelope too, but I figured with all that, it was probably you, playing a prank on me.”
He rifled through his desk, found the pen, hastily scratched the word ‘pen’ on a sticky note, and told her,
“There’s nothing wrong with the pen I had, nothing wrong with the paper.”
They proceeded to talk about what could have happened, and as they talked, he walked through the house, but when he returned to his desk, the word ‘pen’ was gone from the sticky note.
“I’ll call you back…” he said, and hung up.
He took the cartridge out, but there was ink.
He shook the box, and a booklet fell out, splattering on the desk like an blot:
‘Jim’s Novelty Shop: fancy pen with disappearing ink.
Fool your friends…’