Now, whose day could he ruin today? Mrs Smith? She never cleaned up after her dog. Mrs Khan? She gave him a funny look when he walked by. Yes. Jimmy Mackenzie. He’d show him. He opened a new document, clutched his chest. His neighbours peered in through the window.
She screws up the letters he had written her, page by single page. Burning them would still feel too final, the ash too easy to smooth between fingertips. She imagines the powder-grey prints she would leave on the banister.
So crushing the letters is the best course of action. The only way. One by one she drops the pieces of paper and the wind sends them skirling across the winter beach.
She feels bad, of course she does. If the world were normal, she would never drop what in a normal world is litter. But the world is not normal, not now.
One page is caught in the dip before the rocks; others are held in the frothing shallow water. A single tear would be appropriate – the thought surprises her and she almost smiles. Then the smile fades from her eyes and she feels the chill on her neck.
She drops the last page and watches it skitter. The last one. Gone. She turns and walks away, into the wind.
Some years later, she returns with a dog and children. Of course there is no sign of his letters. No sign. Of course.
I touch the letter your lover sent before you left. I can feel the heat, the sparks on my cool fingers. Perhaps, then, you were right. Heat cancels all promises and trust.
The closest I get to saving your love letters in a perfumed box is favouriting your tweets and believing you see me when you write them.
Stu burnt the letters. He should never have kept them, he should never have tied them up and kept them hidden. Nor the letters.