A journal of narrative writing.
Traver K Sutton Will Write Letters To His Wife

1. They say I ought to begin with writing. They say there are shifts, the slip of tectonic plates, and if I can exercise the grey matter, they say, those doctors, with that sly look, a wink, as if I am supposed to understand, perhaps it will slow, the rumble will dull, and the scale of my life will settle. 2. Today: burning brush in the oil drum across the street. There was a flare, and I jumped back, I cannot say when the fire spread, or how my neighbor's orchard was swallowed, I can only say my fingers were fat fish, flopping against the phone, I couldn't find a way to tell you: the world was engulfed and I had started it all. 3. I am wearing a suit for what will be the last time, though I cannot know that now. I've lost my license. You, hands like bird's feet, will clasp the steering wheel, and I will walk in circles. This morning, I told you I would fetch the mail. And I stood. You asked what I was doing, and I confessed: I cannot remember where they have put the door. 4. I think, maybe this is how I will always live. I cannot stand being strapped inside myself, the way I cannot recall which direction is left, where the boundaries have become. If I take a walk, I might get lost, worry you. I have walked these roads for three decades, and now— it is all unfamiliar territory. 5. I think I embarrass you sometimes, the way my voice carries out in church, when I tell them to speak up, when I have forgotten my hearing aid, or turned it off, when I tell you I must go to the bathroom and stand up, right then, I cannot help it. I wait for you in the basement, nice ladies offering me a cookie, and I will be quiet, I will not shame you any longer. 6. I woke this morning and found you were gone, instead, in your place, a red haired woman who had killed my mother, taken my money. You were gone—where were you when I needed you most? You said you would protect me always, and instead, this woman offered me tea or cocoa and I bellowed for her to get out, get out! She stood in your garden, pulling at your vegetables, and though it took some time, some figuring out, I called the police, told them what had happened. Oh, where were you? Now, I write to you from these blank walls, I wonder what became of you, my wife, did you rid yourself of that stranger in the garden? 7. This is how I try to be helpful, for I don't know how they pay my way at this place: I clear away the plates, though I do see the women in blue following, the way the plates are returned, perhaps refilled. I push the ladies in the wheelchairs back to their rooms, though I am often bruised with their newspapers, the soft thwap of rolled up paper against my arm, the plaintive sounds of, Help, help sometimes sound like girlish laughter. I thought I was helping. I know you will come again, and I wait in the hallway, my suitcase packed. I can be patient, you see. But sometimes they return me to my room, pushing layers of clothes on me, telling me not to sneak out the window again. 8. Thanksgiving now, and new walls, new blue uniforms, and I keep wondering how this will all end. I'm not sure it's you when you come sometimes, but I do kiss your hand, I do rub the lines that have formed there, I do hold it tight. You seem happy with this, though I know it hurts you to see me this way. They had us riding horses today, and I told you this, so happy, and how we earned money piling wood, but you didn't seem quite as happy, my earning my keep. 9. Milk today. Straws are strange, like snakes, and I cannot swallow. I know my son is in college now, but I cannot remember his name. He is in a good year, and he should finish, good for him. I have many thoughts and they say to write them down, but my hand feels like they put metal in it. I'll keep one eye open tonight, and I'll tell you what happens. 10. Here is my mind, I could pull it out like taffy, I want to say to you, help me help me, but I cannot form the words. My lips have become slippery and my tongue flops around, useless. I am useless. Help me. Help me.