Do you remember, my love, you wrote me a letter asking for my hand in marriage? You paid someone to write it because you didn’t like your handwriting. I still have it. What would you say if you wrote me a letter today? Address unknown, for I have been feeling a little lost lately.
You keep telling me that we can’t go back. I went to where it all began; 35 Fitzgerald Street, South Yarra. It looks the same. I walked down the driveway and took some photos. I felt like an intruder; I didn’t look like one. I wanted to walk up the stairs, open the door, and enter.
The Year is 1993
The apartment is ordinary—a one-bedroom box with a bed, bookcase, table and two chairs. No TV, as we have no money. It has a bath and a little basin attached to the wall. We pay $110 per week in rent.
I’m wearing navy, and my hair is up; it is always up. It’s the end of the day. I place my keys on the bookcase shelf; I won’t leave until morning. You are home; you are always home. I work, and you study. I take off my coat and head into the kitchen. You are there, right behind me. You want to know what’s for dinner. I think as I lean back into you. Your hand is on my shoulder, four fingers resting over my collarbone and a thumb sliding down my spine. How was your day gorgeous, you say. Sometimes we eat; sometimes, our hunger is satisfied in each other’s arms.
The bed dominates spatially and emotionally; we spend days there, leaving to get food or go to work. We fall asleep every night, touching one another. I like that we still do that. And when we wake up, remnants of the previous day rest on top of the bed, like we barely moved in the night, so the sound was our slumber. There are novels and notes, and textbooks scattered about. Do you remember we would read to one another? Something I have continued to do for others but not for you, my love. Perhaps I should bring that back.
The kitchen drawer, with an unvarnished wooden base and a grained pattern. We place the spare coins in there, and every few weeks, we count them to see if there is enough for a pizza and a bottle of red wine. This flat has many windows, but I can’t tell you what they look upon. My whole world exists within this little box, and I do not need to leave, not even for a glance.
And so, as my mind roves the landscape of our lives, it chases the good times, the serendipity that sustains me. If I were to write you a love letter today, I would say I still feel young and hungry. Lately, we have been talking about our future life together. And I keep wanting to go back because I want to live in a room without windows, and then I will never be lost. I keep trying to find this place, but it has eluded me so far. Let’s be time travellers together.
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