Creative Writing · Epistolary Writing · Fiction · Letters

From Max to Alexis – 13 December 2016

Dear Alexis,

I have no excuse for my tardiness in responding to your letter except to say that I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and I find myself feeling the old age more and more these days. I haven’t been able to sleep a wink, I’ll have you know. All the worries are starting to pile up and I daresay you were right about this “death trap” as you like to call my home.

About Juliet I will not waste any more ink after this last sentence: Dearest aunt of mine, I don’t want to hear anything from or about her and I suggest you bury your head in the sand and avoid her as a general topic.

Now, tell me more about Anne Sizemore, was she the kind plump one or the haughty beauty? I do feel sorry for Mrs Marjorie, I’m always sad to see an animal go.

I went for a walk in the woods this afternoon to clear my head and I had the most peculiar encounter with a squirrel. I was walking down a muddy path – it had rained just the night before, the frogs were still squelching about – when a disturbance in the foliage drew my attention away from the path. The movement caught my eye but I was too slow in turning my head so I only saw a grey blur streaking past. As I walked deeper and deeper into the woods, I kept seeing the same jittery movements, catching the occasional shape of a furry tail but nearly putting my neck out in the process.

Eventually I reached a clearing. I sat down on a large rock and poured some coffee from my thermos. (I know what you’re thinking; don’t worry. The coffee was not Irish.) As I inhaled the wondrous fumes of nature and caffeine I realised that I was being watched. I slowly opened my eyes and rolled them in their sockets until they rested on my mysterious companion – a tiny, grey squirrel. It sat there, looking at me, nervously grasping its little paws together. I couldn’t breathe for fear of chasing it away. We sat like that for a long time, Mr Squirrel and I, until my growling stomach won the argument and I reached for my lunch box. I thought for sure he would run away when I moved, but wonders never cease. I suppose he (or she, let’s not make assumptions here) was only after my cucumber sandwiches. I tried to devise a plan for sharing my sandwiches with my new friend. My dilemma was thus: Say I throw bread at the squirrel, it would most certainly run away. If I walk towards it, it might run away too or bite me. I opted for a third approach. I slowly got up and placed half of my sandwich on a smaller rock halfway between me and the squirrel.

I held my breath, which made chewing my half of the sandwich rather challenging.

Squirrel, as I now named him/her, didn’t move, but continued to watch me watch him/her. Too late in the game I tried to be nonchalant, sipping my coffee and pretending to avoid eye contact. Just as I started to pack up my things and go, Squirrel leaped forward, picked up the sandwich with both hands and scurried up a tree where she (I’ve made up my mind now, she’s definitely a woman) commenced nibbling.

Oh Aexis, just to witness animals doing strange things is the most satisfying feeling.

If you see Juliet again, cross the street and look the other way. Of course, I can’t tell you what to do.

Sincerely,

Max

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