A Letter to Mikiko
There’s a hint of anticipation in the air when a cold breeze cuts through the dry leaves and faded pink petals of the Bougainvillea, paving the way for first light to chomp its way through, like fire-breathing caterpillars, of what’s left of the gnarled branches.
Unusual weather for this time of year, I’m sure you’ll agree.
I guess the remote control’s battery’s flat. I pressed the button when I started writing this letter and the garage door’s only creaking open behind me now, a big old wooden veil revealing the faces of my wife and children I drank away. I’m not sure if they’re smiling or if they pity me because I can’t remember their faces. I only see their mouths and it’s like I’m wasted again, like in the old days, I’m examining the corners of their mouths through a magnifying glass as if studying Mona Lisa’s smile from different angles in order to determine if it’s scornful or sensual.
The car’s gone, too. The oil stain’s still there, though. I’ve tried everything, bleach, acid, you-name-it.
A stain’s a stain’s a stain.
I still get sick when I think about booze, Mikiko. The doctor’s advised me to start eating pitless prunes. It helps for the nausea, he said. He was right. He didn’t mention that it also ‘helps’ the digestive system. The only problem’s that they’re imported and I can’t afford them anymore. I mentioned this to the friendly cashier at the Seven-Eleven around the corner where I used to buy my vodka. She said I should try dried Japanese plums. I don’t know what they’re laced with, some sherbety powder that tastes like lime. Tell you what, once you get used to them, they’re addictive. They’re much cheaper, too, and a pack almost lasts me three weeks.
See, that’s where I got your name, Mikiko. Your address is written on the wrappers (why they wrap the plums, I don’t know—they come in a sealed plastic bag, anyway. Rats, perhaps? Rats and ants get in everywhere. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this, by the way).
These words may be hard to read, not because there’s some hidden message or anything (I’m a straight-to-the-point kind of person, and I hope you can respect that), but because I’ve crumpled this letter into a little ball and taped seven plastic Mikiko Pitless Plums wrappers around it and thrown it into the middle of the road.
What with the wind this time of year and all, I’m sure it’ll reach you. Do you promise to write as soon it does?
I’d better get inside, Mikiko. The breeze has really picked up now and the Bougainvillea looks like an out-of-place reclining Buddha resting on its side with only a broken elbow as support, neither breathing nor giving thought to such trivial matters as eternal love.
art by Craig Hopson
words by Ramon Ramirez