The 15th of September 1983 – Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

(found on the wrapped around a can of Heinz baked beans)

Dear Tracy,

It was so nice to hear from you again. Man, I can’t believe how long it’s been. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t seen you since we met at that coffee shop and, well, you know what happened. You broke up with me.

Getting married though, man, that’s exciting! I can’t believe how long it’s been, and you already have a fiancé. That’s great, man! That’s real great. Just great.

I hope you’re happy. Man, I really hope you’re happy.

Things are going well for me, thanks for asking. I got a new job down at O’Flannagan’s. I’m bartending, but I do well enough. The owner says I’m doing great. I might qualify for a promotion soon, or at least get a bigger share of the tip jar at the end of the night.

But still, things are going great. I’m writing again. No more poetry though, just a lot of short stories. Everybody keeps dying in them. Man, that really bothers me, but I’m not sure how that happens.

I spend most of my afternoons before my shift in the park. Man, it’s a great place to just clear my head and meet some new people, make some new friends.

You should see the kids though. Man, every day the kids come to the park after school and they dance around and scream and play. There’s always this young girl with long, blond hair who comes to the park with her mother. Her mother reminds me of you, short, brown hair and green eyes. This little girl always seems so happy. Man, she’s always filled with energy. She hops and skips everywhere, and when she’s not hopping and skipping, she’s walking on the curb of the sidewalk like it’s a balance beam. Sometimes she jumps and every time she clicks her heels in mid-air.

Man, and her mother just sneers at her. Sometimes her mother just tells her to calm down and behave herself. Man, you should see how this woman tugs at the kid’s arm and tells her to keep up, like wherever they’re going is the most important place to be.

Man, I hope I die before I get that old. I hope I die before I start to sneer at the young kids playing in the park. You know? That’s pretty ridiculous. I just can’t understand how some people can’t put aside their own problems and just enjoy when other people are happy.

To answer your question, man, I’m really sorry, but I don’t think I’ll be able to make the wedding. Thanks for the invite, though. I hope it’s a good wedding.

Carl

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