I think we should live on Damen Avenue for the rest of our lives. Why? Because Emma Casey lives somewhere around Damen Avenue. Emma Casey. Somewhere South Of Foster and West of Ravenswood. I think. She told me the exact location one time, in passing, casually. Emma Casey. Blunt bangs and really good taste in music. She goes to school in New York, a junior, I think, Sarah Lawrence? 21 years old? She lives in New York, but she grew up right around here, and this is where her home is. And she makes all her own clothes. And we know her because she volunteers at the Neo-Futurarium. And we know her father because her father taught at Cherubs, which is where we met. And fell in love. Emma Casey comes home to Ravenswood every winter, and every spring, this is her home.
I grew up on 10909 S. Longwood Dr, Apt #3, Chicago, IL 60643. You grew up on 10002 Forest Grove Dr., Silver Spring, MD 20902. I sent all your letters to Forest Grove Dr, even when you were away at college. Sturdy people lived in your home, the letters were always saved for you. You always had a home. Every spring, and every winter, piles of paper waiting for you, set aside for you.
My situation, my home, was a little different. Soft, always taking new shape. A different set of numbers in the upper left hand corner. Your letters were gold to me. Kept in a locked drawer ten million leagues below, because I just never knew.
One time I got to the end of a hallway in my Longwood Dr. apartment. And even before the walls opened up into bedroom I knew something was wrong. My older sister was sitting in the rocking chair that framed the yellow lace curtains. She was bleary eyed and reading the holy bible. She looked at me, looked at her, blinked twice, and then asked me if I wanted a moment alone. I didn’t. I got ready for school. There were boxes under that bed. And not one ounce of any shred of any fiber can speak to the whereabouts of those long rectangular boxes. Those black shoes, that set of baby teeth. We didn’t last the summer.
I’m not domestic, I don’t need a pitcher of ice tea baking on my patio. I certainly don’t want a pie cooling on my bay window. But, I would like to be myself and you a set of sturdy people. Sturdy enough to keep things, important things in piles, in clear plastic containers, arranged and ordered for the sake of someone special. Oh, let me just give you their address, that way I’ll definitely get it next time I’m home.
We were together seven years before we were married, and that entire time, whenever I asked you where you kept my letters, you said the same thing, not sure, think they all burned in a fire, most of the stuff in the attic was ruined by either fire, or water damage. I didn’t believe you. Someone had to be keeping them in a locked drawer ten million leagues below. Safe.
And then suddenly, just this past Christmas, our first Christmas as next of kin, there they were, in the mail, all stuffed into one large puffy envelope. Thought you guys would want to have these, love mom. She knew exactly where they were the entire time.
We are two sturdy people stacking the years up, and up. Keeping track, and staying put. So for the rest of her life, whenever she visits home, and decides to bike east to the theatre, or north to that cafe. She can look up at our window, and say, I know them.
Love Always, Your biggest fan, & newly wed, Jessica Anne