Flash Fiction: Snail Mail Valentine

In honor of my favorite holiday and beacause it’s my birthday–a romantic story about a love letter…

Paige clicked off the TV just as the late-night host closed out his show. She stood, stretched, and couldn’t hold back a jaw-cracking yawn. Her bunny slippers scuffed along the tile floor of her apartment as she padded into the dark kitchen. She rinsed the dregs of white chocolate mocha from her mug, staring at the green clock numbers on the microwave. Okay, now it was 12:02. On Valentine’s Day weekend. And she was home alone, waiting for Isaiah Jones to pick up and dial.

Wubby, her fluffy Persian cat, jumped up on the counter and “mrowed” an inquiry.

“Not to worry, Wubby. He’ll call.” Paige smoothed a hand over the Wubster’s soft grey fur. “He said he would in his last letter.”

She carried Wubby back into the living room, glaring at her cell phone. She’d already scrolled through the calls oh, about a million times, just in case some mystery of tiny little electronics had turned her phone off without her knowing. She rolled her eyes.

Isaiah’s letters drew her gaze, and she sprawled on the couch next to them. The bold, dark slash of the t’s in his handwriting reminded her of his bold, dark eyes. The loopy g’s she associated with his easy grin. And his words made her hot. She fanned her cheeks, grinning.

She’d been exchanging snail mail with Isaiah, a Navy man on deployment, for the past six months. She wrinkled her nose. The idea was too 1940s, too fraught with frustration for her. But brief emails hadn’t been right. Too public and too impersonal. And what he’d had to say in his letters had not been old-fashioned at all.

She traced a finger over his signature on one of the pages. She’d memorized every letter he’d written—every word—even though she’d had trouble with words as long as she could remember. But for Isaiah she’d made a real effort. His first letter had been friendly. The second one interesting and funny. The third one, though…  She took a little breath. The third one knocked her socks off. She’d only wanted more and more, no matter how long it took her to absorb every nuance and turn of phrase.

She’d carefully typed out an email to him after reading that third letter: “Got your last letter. Send more. Now.”

Dear Paige,

I love how your dancing has made you firm. You step out of the car, and I see the cut of muscle in your calf. You arch toward me, and I see the sleek shape of your abs. All those hours of practice, the dedication it took to hone your body so you could move it like you do. But at the same time your skin is soft. It feels like, well, like the hood of my car after I’ve waxed it. And I can imagine the power underneath…

He’d started the fantasy about his car and asked her to finish it in a letter to him, but she’d procrastinated. Time had gone by, she hadn’t written the letter, and Isaiah hadn’t called. And now she was terrified that her dyslexia had cost her—again.

***

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Paige.” Isaiah’s deep, raspy voice threaded through her dream. “Paige. Wake up, sleepy girl.”

She blinked her eyes open, not quite believing—“Isaiah. What are you doing here?” She sat up, heart pounding.

He smiled—a slash of white in his tanned face—and reached out to pet Wubby, who was curled against Paige’s knee, purring. “I’m here to spend Valentine’s Day with my best girl.”

Paige pushed her hair back. “Your best girl?”

He looked up at her, serious now. “My only girl. Paige, I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve missed you so much. Why didn’t you write back?”

Tears welled in her eyes. “I’m sorry. I wanted to, but…well…I try, but the words tend to slip off the page and land in a puddle.”

“A puddle?”

She nodded, still not meeting his eyes. “That’s the way I’ve always thought about my dyslexia.” She picked at a loose thread on the front of her robe. “I’m not trying to make excuses. I just…I couldn’t say what I wanted to, it wouldn’t come out right. And your letters were so perfect I—”

His warm fingers nudged her chin up, and her eyes met his. “Why didn’t you just tell me?”

She shrugged, unable to speak. His warm thumb wiped across her cheek. Then he hauled her into his arms, onto his lap. She resisted the urge to bury her face in his chest and howl. He was here; she didn’t have any reason to cry now.

She wrapped her arms around Isaiah’s strong neck and declared Valentine’s Day her new favorite holiday.

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6 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Snail Mail Valentine

  1. Lovely–and worth the wait. Thanks for extending the holiday.

  2. You’re giving us gifts on YOUR birthday?? Thanks so much, Kecia. Enjoyed it. 🙂

  3. Love the story, Kecia. Love flash fiction, too. And happy birthday!

  4. Kecia Adams says:

    🙂 Thanks for reading, you guys! Yes, St. Valentine set aside a day for everyone to celebrate my birthday. Isn’t that great? 😉

  5. Emma says:

    Really enjoyed this story. It’s so well written and I think I’m in love with Wubby 🙂

  6. Kecia Adams says:

    Awww…Thanks, Emma! If I wasn’t allergic I’d probably have at least 2 cats. I find them so intriguing. 🙂

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