Letters From a Familiar Unknown

I looked out into the bleak, moonlit sky while stirring my coffee that had already gone lukewarm, a routine that I found myself falling into the past few days. Ever since I was separated from my biological family and my foster parents died, I resorted to tasks that diverted my attention away from those tragedies. I always liked sitting by the window; my mind drifted off into the impossible, the whimsical, the fantasized. It would make me so oblivious to my surroundings that I often forgot who I was, where I hailed from, what I did for a living. I didn’t mind, though. Imagination was my escape from the dull reality of my life. 

This night, in particular, had a strange aura to it. The sight of a dim night was mundane to me, but this night was encompassed by a sort of angelic halo. I saw streaks of white penetrate through the haze in sporadic areas. I thought they would disappear if I blinked, but that wasn’t the case. I blinked again, and I saw a cream colored envelope placed in front of me. I proceeded to think that this was another illusion that my mind created while daydreaming, but I was false yet again. The envelope was tangible, and I could feel the bumps and ridges around it. A distinct smell of sandalwood accompanied it as well. The minutiae that I recognized separated this envelope from an ordinary one; thought and care were given in the creation of this letter. I opened the envelope gingerly. The letter, written on a piece of cardstock, had borders that looked like twisted vines interlaced with one another. The amount of detail that was put into something so insignificant shocked me. I didn’t have the patience or meticulousness to make such intricate borders, and I didn’t know why the writer of the letter would make such intricate borders for me. I traced my fingers along the black strokes of cursive writing, reading the words as my fingers made various loops and swirls and curves.

I’ve noticed how lonely you’ve been feeling lately. Is everything alright? 

Just know that you can talk to me about whatever you’d like.

-K

I pushed the letter aside, offended that K would deem my introverted lifestyle as “lonely”. For the majority of my life, I had learned to be independent and self-sufficient. Because of this, I didn’t feel it was necessary to be with a companion. I went back to dawdling by the window, sipping the cup of coffee that was already far from palatable.

I woke up the next morning, groggy and lethargic. I slumped on the couch for a good minute before I got up to walk to the fridge. I took out the ezekiel bread and toasted it to a T, then heated up a pan for the eggs. All of the sounds associated with breakfast were pleasing to my ears: the cracking and sizzling of the eggs, the crunching of the bread, the growling of the coffee maker. I set my platter on the table, but before I could eat, I heard a slight thump by the door. Startled, I waited by the door until I was sure there was nothing but silence. I opened the door and stared at the brown box. Could this be…?

I know you have a liking for coffee, so I got you this. Hope you’re well.

-K

K? Again? I wanted to feel annoyed but the strangeness of the situation made me fascinated instead. How could someone possibly know that? I’ve never explicitly told anyone about my relationship with coffee, but K figured it out with ease. I felt skeptical about the coffee jelly that K sent, but I couldn’t help but feel appreciative. Another person in the world knew who I was, and although I had already said that I was content by myself, it still felt fulfilling. I dug my spoon into the jelly and pressed my lips onto it. Silky, rich, and creamy. Impressive, K. Quite impressive.

In the afternoon, I saw another cream envelope land on the surface of the table. I no longer felt annoyed about it, as it distracted me from sitting idly on the couch.

Let’s meet up. We both know that we’ve been dying to see each other.

-K

Attached was a set of precise directions. Curious about K, I decided to actually leave my house for the first time in a while. I walked out into the open field with a strange sensation running through my veins. I hadn’t been outside for as long as I could remember, and I could feel the unwelcoming stings of the sun’s rays. I walked straight for 50 steps, just like how K wrote in the letter. Once I approached a rocky road, I turned right and walked 10 steps until I saw the maple tree with a lily beside it. I turned left at the tree at a 45 degree angle and kept walking in that direction until I saw a yellow fence. I didn’t mind making this journey. I really wanted to see K, because I could sense that K wasn’t just some random stranger. I could feel that K’s intentions were pure. I came upon the fence and looked out in the distance. It was a graveyard. I wondered why K wanted to meet here, but then I realized that the letter mentioned “dying to see each other”. I couldn’t tell if that was the true reason or if K was actually associated with the dead. I walked along the path of rose petals until I stumbled upon a grave situated far from the others. Ken Sato. The engraved name… It resounded in my ears with an awakening tingle. Ken. Ken. Ken! How could I forget? A montage of my older brother’s face flashed in my mind. I saw the shaggy black hair, the circular glasses, the faint rose in his cheeks whenever he smiled, the subtle scent of sandalwood… Of course! He had been writing the letters! I’ve been separated from him for so long that he passed before we even had a chance to reconnect. He slipped away from my memory, just like every moment of the past. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and Ken’s soul had helped me re-ground myself. 

I brushed my fingers against the cool stone of the grave. It felt calming, as if his spirit had just caressed my hand. I laid down on the dewy grass and looked up at the sky. It was a deeper shade of blue than it had ever been. I looked at the puffy marshmallow clouds, trying to guess what shapes they made. This was something Ken and I used to do before. I vaguely remember it, but in reliving the process, I knew it felt right. A cool breeze blew the rose petals on the ground, and to me it looked like the start of an alluring ritual.

 “I’m sorry I forgot about you,” I muttered, but the petals swirled around me gracefully, as if to reassure me that I need not worry, as if to reassure me that everything was alright. I closed my eyes and delighted in the petal dance. When I opened my eyes, I saw a man standing in front of me with an ethereal glow.

“It’s nice to see you again.” I said. He smiled.

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