Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: Please Mr. Postman
By Marilee Alvey
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When I married my husband, Steve, in 1971, I was a Beatles fan. Like the precursor of Team Edward and Team Jacob, we fans had our favorites. I would have to admit that I was decidedly Team Paul. In fact, I put Paul on my “exemption list.” I told Steve before we were married that, if Paul came for me, I’d be leaving with him. Steve accepted that good naturedly, it being so highly unlikely that I would ever even see Paul.
Then, one day, the sweet, innocent era of “us” came to a screeching halt. That deceptively bright summer day cancer sought to claim my soulmate, but Jesus did, instead. He was still just as gone from me.
One day, probably three months after Steve’s death, I sat, trying to make sense out of it all, when I suddenly felt the urge to do what has always come so naturally to me: I would write. I had the strange notion that I wanted to somehow release my ‘exemption,’ and made the decision to share my journey with Paul McCartney. As I typed, I shared everything, including the part about him being an exemption listed in my marriage. I felt that he’d understand my grief, for he’d lost his wife of many years to cancer. I went on to say how, when I was a young fan, I knew I had no chance because I was just fourteen and he was a man of twenty-one, but that, in recent years, I realized the irony that, now, I was too old for him, since high profile men usually went with much younger women as they aged. I was truthful. I was raw. I told poignant truths that came easily as I shared my heart with a total stranger who’d been such an important part of my young life. I explained how bizarre it felt to feel like someone was such a part of my life, yet know that my name was that of a total stranger to him. I told him that I wanted to free myself of that childish pledge that I’d made, unbeknownst to him, so many years ago. If Steve had to go, it was only fair that my link with his “competition” must also end.
I researched and found a place where I figured it had about a snowball’s chance of getting to him. I then stamped and mailed it, as carelessly as someone would if they were casting a message in a bottle out to sea. I’d already gotten all I needed from the letter. Closure.
I didn’t check the mailbox for my landlocked message to yield results. I was nothing to Paul McCartney and didn’t expect to be. I shared what I wanted to. That was enough.
That was before that Tuesday. I went to the mailbox and found a letter with a return address I didn’t recognize. It seemed to be from some company. Probably another bill. When I opened the letter I was stunned. Inside that letter was a response from Paul:
“Dear Old Friend that I Never Knew,
Anna, first off, I want to thank you for being a fan for many years. As I read your account, it brought back so many memories for me. I laughed…and I cried. Strangely, as I read, I felt like I’ve known you for all my life. Would the universe explode if our orbits crossed for a day? I have an upcoming tour date in Chicago. I’d like very much if you could be my guest for the performance. In fact, if you can come, I’d like to invite you to have dinner with me, then be my special guest in the front row that evening. I would enjoy visiting with you. I am including these tickets in the off chance that you will have the date free. Here’s my private number. Please call and let me know if you can make it.
I have no idea where this is going, but then again, I’ve never known where anything was going. I don’t even have control over my next breath, but I have learned that there is joy in the journey. I said yes to Paul…and to life.
Author's Note: Although some aspects of this story are based on my life, the letter and reply are a work of fiction.
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