Hate leaves ugly scars, love leaves beautiful ones.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966
Madeline knew one day the words would stop. That Ian would move on. That she would too. Today she decided it was time. Time to put away the love notes and drink a bottle of sweet wine. The autumn air is crisp and it’s close to sundown. She grabs the wine from the fridge, uncorks it and walks out to the end of the dock. She looks at Ian’s words one last time. Then starts folding the pieces of paper into little boats.
She asks herself, “where the hell did I learn to do this, and how come I still remember the process?”
She slugs the wine right out of the bottle. Figures, what the hell, there’s no one here to see her do it. To tell her no. Of course not many men have been brave enough to say that to her. She knows she can be kind of a bitch. Why does that thought bring a smile to her face? After the boats are made, Madeline rolls over and lays on her stomach. Then places the little boats in the water. The setting sun is the color of butterscotch and it makes her pale skin glow. Her fingers become chilled by the lake water, but she keeps them in it all the same.
Once the letters have all set sail, Madeline sits back up. She takes her shoes off and dangles her painted toes in the water. Her foot touches on one of the boats and pushes it further away from her. She thinks of Ian, and all of his great words. All of the sweet, sexy, dirty and sometimes hurtful things he said. Some of the words are hers too. She tries not to think about him. What he meant to her. All the wonderful things they said they would do. Really, it was her that said what they would do. He just went along with her plans.
He’s where he’s meant to be and she’s sitting on a dock, swilling wine from the bottle and throwing away their love letters.
She says out loud to no one, “this night sure does suck!”
With the wine gone and the letters sailing away, she wishes for him one last time. Whispers to the night air that she loves him still, gets up from her spot on the dock and heads back into the house. She grabs another bottle of wine, uncorks it, and then sits at the kitchen table. She looks at her hands and then the tears begin to spill from her eyes.