71: Widtsoe In Situ

***

The post office is clean, with the metronomes ticking.

She leaves the spare skeleton key under the front steps and thinks, every time she does this, that she should hide it better, bury it a little deeper. Though she never does. It’s thrilling to her, more than she’s truly admitted, to think someone might find it and enter after she’s walked the dirt mile home.

He would finger the letters her hands have already sorted.

He would smell the dampness drying in her ink bottle.

He would sit down in her straightback chair, still warm from her own bottom, and write her a note.

“My dear postmistress,

keeper of sentiments not yet seen or heard,

what do you say we set this place aflame?

You’ll hop on my horse and we’ll ride to the border.

We’ll make a log cabin in the woods.

You’ll make peach cobbler.

I will build fences.

And no one will ever find us.

Not even the postmistress.”

Then he would seal the envelope shut, tuck the key back under the steps that she would scale the next dewy morning

and leave

and wait

and wait

and never know

she already left without him, leaving nothing but dead paper behind.

***

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