Dear Mark

The paper smelled like the desert. Grains of sand fell out of the envelope when I took the letter out. Mark probably was on duty and that was his only time to write, I assumed.

I immediately noticed some of the words are illegible, smeared from getting wet. Was it raining? It began with “Dear Emily.” I pictured him saying my name out loud, pronouncing it as EH-MA-LEE, leaving him with a smile. He spelled Afghanistan without the “h.” He rambled about his bunk mate, Diaz, and how he was going home to meet his baby girl. I grinned at how Mark inserted the word “baby” using a caret between “his” and “girl.” It’s just like him to not want to leave a single detail in his stories, I thought.

He wasn’t sure when he’ll get to come back home. Tears ran down my face and I get confused with the new smears and the old smears. He wrote “I love you” at the end. I could tell he really meant it because the black ink was bold like he pressed on the ballpoint so hard, that it leaked through the paper.

I wondered whether to Skype him or email him. But I knew that the sooner I contact him, the sooner the sadness comes to both of us.

I took out my pen and paper, instead, wrote “Dear Mark,” and showed him how much I miss him.

Posted in Short Stories
2 comments on “Dear Mark
  1. Eveleen Smit says:

    Okay, you know me – I like you and your writing. ^^ But what exactly smells like the desert? I want to be given a line like: ‘The paper smelled like it early morning when the sun rises and deadly desert animals scurry into their burrows and wait with patience for the evening to bring relief.’ What else can the desert smell like? I’m wanting a concrete simile (am I choosing the right word here?) ~ in any case, smash a bit of imagery here.

    The next paragraph – it does not often rain in the desert – and I know you know that – maybe make it more obvious Mark is crying? Men cry. And people need to see it. Okay – feel free to give me shit for being too frank. I may have gone too deep into this to be objective.

    I truly loved the bit about Mark scratching deep into the paper as he wrote ‘I love you’ and that resonated for the reader as true.

    All in all a sweet fic – I enjoyed but also wanted a few more gut-wrenching personal details to make me cry like a bitch. Sorry, not sorry.

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