Adoration and Other Rude Words

19 Nov

Ramona was restless.

It was 8:30 pm already and there was nothing for her at the door. Not a package, not a card, just a few leaves that would occasionally land on her doormat or, caught by the wind, would ever so slightly hit her front door. But this girl..  she never missed a beat, even something as subtle as the ruffle of wayward yellowed leaves made her tremble with excitement: perhaps it was what she’d been waiting for.  She’d perk up her ears and rush to the door in her fluffy house shoes, flipping over magazines and pencils and whatever else silent entertainment material she had been using in the meantime to calm her nerves.  With a mist of pillow fluff and tossed little paper clips tracing her path behind her, Ramona would hop to the door with the enthusiasm of a little kid on Christmas morning.

First came the nervous looking through the looking hole, then the swift cracking of the door, just to make sure.

Nope. Nothing, just like the last time. Damn deceiving dead leaves.

The process repeated itself manifold and anyone looking at her from the outside would say that she was either awaiting some important package or she was a little wonky by nature, obsessive compulsive, no less.

But no, none of those things. Although the first isn’t entirely false. For Ramona this waiting game had become her routine, her breakfast lunch and dinner, her favourite summer pastime.

Her shakes and quivers all began with that first piece of paper, in June. With chores and medial tasks on her mind, she heard a knock at the door. Lazily she went to see what the commotion was all about and wondered why they hadn’t used the doorbell like your every day 21st century solicitor. Upon opening the door, she’d seen that there was no one in sight, just the smell of a strange, intoxicating perfume. On the patio at her feet she noticed an envelope with ‘Poison Pen Letter’ sprawled all over it in bold writing. She hurriedly picked it up, looked to both sides to see if the culprit was still watching and as she got it closer to her face, the smell became incredibly powerful. It was the envelope. It wasn’t a bad small, not in the least, it smelled woody and humid in a way, like a forest.

‘A poison pen letter’, Ramona thought to herself. ‘Huh’. She was intrigued, but hadn’t yet excluded the possibility of it containing anthrax or other neighbourly substances. Hours later she was in the house, still examining the hate letter she had received. After a little google searching she’d discovered poison pen letters were common back in the day, but had died out what with the growing popularity of digital media. Old day cursive equivalent of modern day hate mail. The letter was of course anonymous and full of specific hatred, little burns about the way she looked, the way she walked, the way she thought, all directed towards and especially manufactured for the eyes of Ramona. After the initial gut ranching reaction of dismay and anger, she began to get more and more into the universe of this little parcel.

It wasn’t just hateful, malicious taunting, it was as if someone had sent her a love letter. If one were to replace all the instances in which the word ‘hate’ was used with ‘love’, it was a regular declaration of passion.  ‘I hate the way you think you’re always right, I loathe your over the knee stockings. I absolutely despise your demeanor, your laugh, your front door and your bathroom singing.’

It puzzled her greatly.

For the next three months one would come every Sunday, along with a knock at the door. Minus the days she’d stalked the patio in hopes of seeing her devious anti-fan, because in those days it did not come, the rest were as sure as the sky.

Ramona had begun to await them with glee. Partly because it was such an old fashioned fascinating idea, partly because it was the most intimate relationship in her life, oddly enough.  She’d also begun to suspect herself of masochism.

But this Sunday was almost over and the poison pen letter was no where in sight. There she was: reclining on the door, sitting on the carpet, arms wrapped around her knees, pondering. As she felt herself fall asleep, there was a shuffle behind the door. She instantly lit up. The knock at the door was as brief and as gentle as the leaves usually were, this time around. She scrambled to her feet and regained her posture then opened the gate to her weekly fix. Except this time there was no pen no poison and no letter. Just a girl, staring back at her, holding some twigs and leaves in her hands, which she was slowly pulling apart, like a bored child tearing the petals off a flower. This girl was slightly shorter than Ramona, but about the same age. She wore jeans and her hair was in a ponytail. She didn’t care that Ramona had opened the door so much. Her eyes were bored. Ramona however was startled by the apparition,  couldn’t even come up with a simple greeting. Where was her envelope? This wasn’t fair.

The girl with the twigs in her hand looked away suddenly. Like she’d forgotten to turn off the light in the kitchen at home perhaps. Her mind was a million miles away. But then she spoke, her eyes still focusing on the horizon:

‘You began liking them.’

Then a brief silence, some more wind, some dogs barking in a close by neighbourhood. Fall was settling in nicely.

‘What’s wrong with you?’ she said, bringing her eyes back on Ramona, pinning her down with this uninterested stare.

Ramona was frowning, not wanting to believe this was gonna be it, the end of her relationship with her letters. The sentiment of loss was battling with the ever growing bewilderment caused by this short girl who knew everything about her affair. And couldn’t care less, except that she did care enough to ask why she was so masochistic.

‘I don’t know.’ She answered dryly, to the point where her mouth literally felt dry and full of sand.

Another moment of nothingness but thick silence occupying the space between them.

The Ramona, as if she had woken up from a deep trace slurred out: ‘Are they still gonna come? The letters, my letters.

Is it all over?’’

The girl, almost done with her seemingly satisfying abuse of the twigs she was holding, looking away again replied that ‘No’, it was not yet over. After which she walked away in slow leisurely steps, without so much as granting her another look.

Ramona closed the door, got herself a glass of water and sat down at her kitchen table. What had just happened? She didn’t have time to finish her inner dialogue before a loud, almost furious pounding at her door could be heard. It shook Ramona to the core. Water spilling everywhere on the kitchen counter, she rushed to the door once more and opened it. On the patio sat proudly a brand new envelope, like every week, like every time. She could barely hold in her excitement and tore it open.

But what was inside contained no insults, no burns, not even so much as a rude remark about what she was wearing that day. Just a few  carelessly scribbled words that wrote: ‘I adore you’.

Ramona ripped it to shreds and threw it one by one across her lawn, until there was nothing left. She then slammed her front door shut for any and all solicitors with such rude messages to send.

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