by Belle Sarussi-Barys
The wind was blowing, making all the leaves on the city sidewalk fly around Ivy as she walked. She stuck her hands in the pockets of her faded denim overalls, trying to keep herself warm. The cool air constantly blowing was making everyone shiver, but it was too early in the fall for it to be cold. Suddenly, a heavy bundle of letters and postcards hit the ground, right in front of Ivy.
“Just leave it, it’s trash! Sorry!” Ivy looked up to see a woman leaning off of her balcony, about two floors up.
“Okay, no worries!” Ivy called back to the woman crawl through the window into her apartment. Making sure the woman was gone, she knelt to look at the bundle that had dropped. The letter at the top said,
If you thought that you would have the satisfaction of sending all of my letters back to me, then you were wrong. Goodbye.
“Woah.” Ivy flipped through a few more of the pieces of paper, and felt like she must keep reading. But not here, she needed to go somewhere comfortable and warm.
Home, duh. She thought, and looked up at the woman’s balcony one more time to make sure she was gone. Then, she picked up the bundle, held it like a football, and briskly walked towards her apartment.
Unlocking the door to her third floor apartment, Ivy hung her keys on the hook, changed into her most comfortable pajamas and made a cup of tea. She settled on her couch, the first letter in hand.
I cannot believe that my job moved me to England. I’m 3,400 miles from you. I miss you already. The apartment is a bit small, and not nearly as homey as ours was. As ours is. Is. I love you, you know? I love the way your eyes light up when you see a dog, the way you twirl your hair around your finger when you get nervous, the way you drink coffee in the morning- no cream, some sugar. I miss you so much, I feel as though the pain may consume me. I feel as though I am not living, because you are not here, and I cannot hear your heartbeat alongside my own. It seems as though we are one now, intertwined. I love you.
Ivy took a deep breath. She could feel how much “Thomas” loved his girlfriend, even though they were apart. There were little hearts doodled in the margins of the paper, along with little messages saying, “you are beautiful!’, “I can’t wait to see you!”, and “stay safe, love you!”. Ivy picked up the second letter, and began to read.
How are you? How is England? Is it beautiful? If it’s not, quit your job and come back to New York! Only the best for my boy!
Reading your letter, I realized that you are the romantic one, and you always make me feel something, even if they were just words on paper. I miss you so, so, so, so, so, so, much. I wish you could be next to me, laying in our bed, listening to the nightly news. Speaking of news, guess what! Newsies opened on Broadway! Rachel is gonna get us tickets, do you think you’ll be able to fly in to see it? It would be amazing if you could.
It’s hard not having you here, but having to send everything through airmail is harder because I have to wait for your response.
It’s late, and I have to go to bed because I have work in the morning. Don’t forget about me! Love you! Miss you!
As Ivy read on, she saw that the date between letters went from two days, to four, to seven. Finally, it took Julie ten days to reply to Thomas. Ten days!
“How cruel!” Ivy said out loud, and then felt a bit guilty for reading the love letters and drama of two people she had never met. But, her curiosity took over her guilt, and Ivy continued to the next.
I tried to call you at our apartment multiple times over the past few days, but you never seem to be home. I’m not saying I want you to stay home waiting at the phone for my call, but sometimes I wish that you’d be there to answer and talk to me. I feel like we haven’t been able to talk much in the past few weeks. It’s made me miss you even more. I love you, that’s not going to change, but it hurts me not to be able to speak to you. Maybe the next time I call, you’ll be there to pick up.
“Jeez, Julie, why did you have to be out all the time, not home to talk to him?” Ivy shook her head, she could see this was leading to why the letters had been dropped from the balcony.
You’ve called? I’m sorry I wasn’t here. I’ve been working late, and then Cynthia from work invited me to parties all week! I just couldn’t say no. I’m sorry, I should’ve been home to talk to you. I’ll try to be here the next time you call.
How are you? I hope that you’re doing well. I love you.
The next piece was a postcard from Thomas. It said, “Bonjour! I finally went to Paris! How are those parties with Cynthia? Xoxo, Thomas.” The next piece was Julie’s response to the postcard from Paris.
You went to Paris? Without telling me? Don’t you know how I’ve wanted to go there since I was a kid? I thought we were better than this. This almost feels like betrayal.
You were angry with me for not being there to answer your calls, and I guess you being in Paris explains why you didn’t answer mine.
Ivy took a sharp intake of breath, she could tell this story was coming to an end. The way they wrote, you could just feel how hostile they were towards each other. But, they continued to send letters and say “love” when they signed their names.
Well, it was nice to finally speak to you on the phone, but I will admit that I am still angry that you went to parties every night and never answered my calls. However, I still love you, no matter what happens to us. We can always get through it.
I hope you’re doing alright. How’s your job? How are our friends? Say hi to Rachel for me, tell her I miss being able to talk about Broadway all the time with her.
I must go now, love you.
I told Rachel what you said, and she said that the next time you come out to New York, you guys will get coffee and watch the Les Miserables movie to see if it does the musical justice.
My job is okay, same old, same old. Everyone is okay. Oh! Susan is pregnant! It’s been awhile since we last saw her and Michael at the theater group, but I got invited to the baby shower. Isn’t that exciting? I can’t wait!
I love and miss you.
The letters went on like this for a while, meaningless small talk through the mail. Still, even though the talk was idle, they always said that they loved each other.
“Do they though?” Ivy wondered aloud, and then thought back to the woman on the edge of her balcony, dropping the bundle onto the sidewalk.
Ivy picked up the next letter, taking a sip of her tea. The pile only had three letters left.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I love you, babe, I truly do. You’re probably going to be the only person I ever love. Please remember that.
This hurts me, but I think it would be best if we went our separate ways. Long distance isn’t working for us. We do things to spite each other, and we have no trust. Trust is one of the building blocks of a relationship, and if we don’t have that, what do we have? Loyalty? But how can we be sure of that, without trust? I would hope we have love, but that’s only one part of the whole pyramid. I just want you to know that this isn’t what I want, but it’s what I need. It’s what we need.
I love you, Julie. I always will.
How could you do this? Why are you getting rid of everything we had? We could have tried to work this out, but you didn’t even give us the chance to try. I’m sending back all the letters you sent me, I don’t want them anymore.
I just want you to know that when I opened my mailbox, and saw an envelope marked “AIRMAIL”, I would get so excited, because I knew you were the only person that it could be from. I truly, truly loved you.
Slowly, Ivy stood, grabbed a box, put the letters in it, and wrote “AIRMAIL” on the top. She walked back to the where she had picked up the bundle, and returned the memories to the sidewalk outside the apartment.
Belle is a middle school student who loves to play the clarinet and run cross country. She lives with her mother and father, along with her two cats, Hank and Chloe. This is her first story for Write Like Crazy.
Belle's story was awarded 2nd place in the July '17 #writerjam contest. The format of using letters back and forth was surprising and unique. And the story-within-a-story was well written. Great job, Belle!
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