Today’s prompt on The Daily Post –
Brevity Pulls – “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” — Blaise Pascal
Where do you fall on the brevity/verbosity spectrum?
(Do I really have to tell anyone that I fall on the extremely verbose end of the spectrum? Nah, didn’t think so. Instead I’m writing something which came to mind when I saw the Pascal quote.)
Debbie heard the rattle of the letterbox and smiled. Aunt Jenna was probably the only person alive who still communicated solely via snail mail. Still, there was something rather nice about hearing that rattle, seeing the same rose-tinged envelope on the mat every 1st of the month. The feel of quality stationery under her fingertips was cosy, almost reassuring; there was still a part of the world which hadn’t fallen under the insidious allure of gadgetry. She retrieved the envelope, ran a finger over the slightly incised and wildly loopy writing, in Jenna’s signature purple ink, and headed into the kitchen.
Sitting over a plate of muffins and a mug of hot cocoa, Debbie carefully peeled open the triangle flap to release the letter. It seemed somehow indelicate to rip those dainty envelopes open with a knife, or to jam a finger under the flap and tear out the contents. Sipping at her drink, she slowly unraveled Aunt Jenna’s exquisite, but hard to decipher, copperplate:
“My dearest Deborah,
I trust this letter finds you well. How is that delicious husband of yours? Still enmeshed in finance and pretty as Adonis I am sure. No patter of tiny feet to tell of? I know an excellent man who deals with infertility. He’s a little unorthodox, but you were ever the adventurous one, my sweet. Just say the word.
I understand your mother is now on husband number four. She may be my sister, but Agatha was always fast. She might just as well install a revolving door. I wonder if anyone will finally get to meet the husband this time. Let’s face it, none of the others lasted long enough to make the trip.
Talking of trips, I have some very big news. Before I get to that I need to warn you to be ready. Several deliveries will be coming your way in the next month. I hope you understand sweetheart. You have always been my favourite. I’m too old to care about making nice. Your sister is as much of a tramp as your mother, and your brother is an idiot, not worthy of my blessings. No, my world is only safe in your hands.
Don’t worry about storage. I have signed over the family home. It is yours now, and there will be ample room for all my antique furniture, my art collection and my beloved books. I know we do not completely agree in tastes, Deborah, but I know you will do right by my legacy. I have no problem with you selling pieces you do not like, so feel free, but I trust you will keep the Louis XIV furniture, the Faberge eggs and the first editions as nest eggs for those future miniature Deborah and Stevens. At the end of the month I will also transfer all remaining funds in my accounts to yours.
Ah, I fear you will be on the point of panic as I have led you too far without explanation. Have no fear, dearest. I am not planning to shuffle off this mortal coil, under my own steam or that of disease. I am, however, bored of this existence; of endless teas and social engagements and do-goodery with the others of my set. I need a change, fresh pastures, and I have found my final adventure, Deborah.
I am off to Mars. Can you believe it? I passed all their mental and physical tests and I begin final training at the end of the month. You’ve probably read about it – I know how you keep up with space news – and I know how much you long to go to the stars, but I beat you to it, just this once. Be pleased for me? This is what I want; to go out with a bang not a whimper. I will travel through the stars that make up all of us, sweetheart, me, you and this whole new world. You know there is no coming back; at least not yet. By the time there is… well let’s just say I will have served my time and headed on to the next adventure.
In closing, forgive me if my next letter takes a while to reach you. Believe it or not, your old dinosaur aunt has finally learned to use a computer and I will email you regularly, but this monthly letter has always been special to us. I will continue to write them, but you may not get them until they can make that return journey. Or, just maybe, you will get the chance to come out and get them. I hope for the latter, and before too long.
With all my love and hopes, always
Your aunt, Jenna.
(I looked it up. Emailing Mars is a thing!)