Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Short Story: "Dear Gentleman, Dear Lady"

My Dear Reader,

I know I've been away for a while, but here I am, with new entries planned. For now, please enjoy this randosity.

"Dear Gentleman, Dear Lady"

By Cecily Jane

Dear Gentleman,

You must understand that there are wolves at my door. I feel that I must be upfront about this at the beginning. I realize that everybody is stalked by a creature of some kind or another, and that the subject thereof is somewhat taboo. I do not mean to boast or complain about the breed or the number of them. I am only trying to inform you, for the benefit of your own safety, that not only are they particularly ferocious, they are so numerous and wild that I am still not sure how many there are. I don't go around counting other people's beasts, but I am of the opinion that this is above average.

I wish I could end it there. In fact, I wish that didn't have to write you this at all, but I know that you must be thoroughly warned. Please forgive me for the intimacy attached to the following:

When I say that they are wild and ferocious, I mean just that. But before you can fully understand the degree of their ferocity, I must tell you that these wolves used to live inside the house. They were very cunning, stealing in silently and tearing my house apart only when they were all the way inside. I am sure that I do not need to describe the destruction that they caused. I will say that it was extensive.

There was a point where it was beyond certain that getting the wolves out would be impossible. This was the general consensus in my entire village. My neighbors were so weary of getting bitten that they had long stopped visiting. I was effectively in quarantine, with the hope that once I was fully devoured, my wolves would no longer be a threat to them.

This, as you can guess, was not how it turned out. It took time, but I was able to drive them out one by one. If you don't believe me, I can easily show you my scars.

Perhaps by now you are thinking that I should have moved. It is obvious enough a solution that I did try it more than once. This seems to solve the problem only temporarily. If I leave as silently and covertly as they once came, I can slip out unnoticed. But they know my scent, and I cannot hide my tracks from them. I am lucky if I have time to put my home in order before I find one stalking along the borders of my property. When one comes, others soon follow.

I do find that moving is helpful, though. It gives me time to devise new defenses and get stronger windows. Most importantly, I find that it is much easier to become part of a new village than to convince an old one that your wolves have been chased away.

So, yes. I have lived in many places. I have slowly been able to replace my damaged furniture stick by stick. I have devised plans and backup plans so the wolves will never be able to cause as much damage again.

Over the course of time, I have learned their habits. I know their moods. Sometimes I can distract them long enough to sneak outside and fix an awning, or paint. It took a full year before I was able to get a fresh coat of paint on the entire outside, but I did it. If you looked at the house, you would see no indication of the pains I took. Most in the village have no idea.

This is another thing: my neighbors don't know my full history, nor do they understand the true nature of my wolves. I have tried to warn them, but it is not often that I can write such a detailed letter as this one. But, of course, my first village taught me that there are circumstances in which it is difficult to determine if this behavior is prudent. Things become taboo for a reason.

Now, I will tell you a secret that I usually keep close. I charge you with it only as a response to the specific requests you have made of me. Please guard it as well as I do.

I will just say it plain: the wolves occasionally get back in the house. It does not happen often, but it happens. I do not believe that it is possible to keep them out indefinitely. Sometimes, if I am careless, they will slip through the crack of an open door. Other times, I will return from the market and find one in my kitchen. I have made discreet inquiries as to possible solutions, but this has lead to little success. I have become practiced at getting them out, but the process is exhausting. The repair work is only slightly easier, if only because the work is spread over a longer period of time.

And now that you know the extent of my situation, you can see why I cannot let you inside. It is hard enough to keep them out when it is only me in this house. You could imagine the trouble if there were more occupants. I would not subject you to that. I could not bear it if you ended up with my scars.

In all reality, it is much more work than you would have expected. These wolves, I know, will never go away. I have a hope that someday they will become tame, but I couldn't ask you to wait for something that may never happen.

This is how things are. This is my fate, and I cannot change it. I dream of ways to get to you, but those dreams will stay unfulfilled. The best way to love you is to let you go.

Please don't share my pain with me. I love you too much to let you near what will tear you apart.

Mournfully,

Lady


Dear Lady,

You underestimate me. You underestimate how much I expect to work. I will tell you: a lot.

There are things that a man learns as he grows out of boyhood. One is that everyone has something. I once met a man whose house was infested with hornets. And if it's not hornets or wolves, it's lice, or rats, or some other kind of creature. There is always something. People with ladybugs and butterflies only exist in fairy tales.

Another thing I know is that when you find a good woman, you work for her. You work hard to get her, and you work hard to keep her. Otherwise, she will only find someone else who is stronger and better looking. Perhaps a boy would be scared by your letter. I am heartened.

I do have my pests, you know. I am not brave enough to write it down, but I have them. You will learn all about them soon enough. When I move into your house, they are sure to follow.

I love your house, you know. I admit, I often come to look at it from a distance. It is quite breathtaking. A man knows that a house like yours can only be kept so well by an extraordinary woman.

I've met your wolves there. I know, I probably shouldn't have come that close, and I apologize. But I saw them. One came up and sniffed my hand. I might have been fooled if it weren't for her wild eyes.

I think you've made a crucial miscalculation. You say that it's harder to fight wolves with two; I would argue the opposite. You have not seen the kinds of doors I can build or the traps I can set. You would be amazed, I think. If I was yours, I would spend my life keeping those wolves at bay. Together, I know we could do it.

Do you think that it's any easier to watch you fight them alone? Let me come and help you. Let me be as near to you as I can be, for as long as I am. We will work wonders together.

I love you too much to be frightened by you, you see. I certainly love you too much to to give up. I will come and gaze at your house and socialize with the wolves if that is all you will give me. But I think that you are smarter than that. I think that you will see that the best way to love me is to let me in.

Yours always,

Gentleman


Regards, best wishes, and metaphors,


-Cecily Jane