The card had been mailed 12 years ago and had I received it then, things would have been so different. I opened it. The paper - air mail paper thin as onion skin - was brown with age and crackled beneath my finger tips.
I got your card yesterday. My darling, I miss you, too. Call the embassy when you get this and we'll work out the distance issue. We can be together always.
All my love,
Tears tracked slowly down my face. I'd written him telling him I loved him--that I couldn't go back to just friends, that I would give up my teaching job if he'd have me in Gambia. But, if that wasn't what he wanted, to let me go - to let me continue my life with out him in peace.
I'd waited a month after I thought he'd have gotten my card. Then another month. I don't remember eating during that time, but I do remember not breathing every time I opened the mail box. Day-after-day. Nothing.
So I'd gone on being single. Being me. Living with mom, taking over the house when she died. Teaching at the elementary school I'd attended as a child. Solitary life. Not a wife.
At 42 I no longer held my breath when I checked the mail. I'd long since stopped expecting a reply - just as I'd long since stopped living - just existing.