• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 10

The Thank You

The envelope has coasted from the mail slot a little way across the floor, and when Sam picks it up the paper is cool. Alana said she mailed it on Thursday, but today is Wednesday, and Sam can’t think why it would take so long, given the distance between them. She grimaces at the absurd little pang of suspicion, tries to ignore the faint ringing in her ears.

On Monday, Alana asked if it was there yet, and Sam stopped on the pavement to reply, halfway over a bridge. She wanted to throw her phone over, or her whole backpack. Maybe she would leap right in, it was only the canal, and she had jumped from higher. Sam remembered pushing off of wooden slats as a child, into a river ambling through a copse of firs somewhere east of the city. All the parents watched from a distance, talked about carpools, money, everything Sam didn’t understand, as she bellowed, plunging into the water. Was Alana there that day, or with some other, older friends?

Alana is razor sharp and lime green, her surfaces electric, neon. When Sam looks around her sitting room, everything she sees is there because of Alana, either moulded to something she once said, or placed there in spite of her, for Sam to show herself that she is different.

Disembowelling the envelope too fiercely, Sam glances at the floral image on the front of the card before opening it. The Alana she finds in the words, in black ballpoint pen, is all blue, midnight with lavender around the margins. Where is the green of her, the daylight?


The Thank You

In the curves of the letters, Sam searches for tall grass in summer, nettles catching their ankles, buying raspberries from a roadside stand and eating them three, four at a time in the car, guilty because they didn’t wash them first, wiping crimson smears on their thighs, summer carnage. But there is none of this in the bubbled script.

Sam sits on the couch, lays the card down on the side table, picks it up again, reads the words so slowly they don’t make sense, and sees only rushed lunches and long silences and a little hesitation. The more colourful memories ache worse than these insipid ones.

Sam stands, puts the card on the windowsill. When she turns around, the ripped up envelope on the table catches her eye. For a moment she sees a glimmer of emerald in the paper. Dusky, startling. Unmistakeable.