postcard story

today i received a postcard from a friend. in the mail. you know. the mail.

i don’t know how long it took to reach me. i wondered about that question for a moment, as i held the card in my hands, and it took me longer than i like to admit to remember that little old the thing, the postmark, that gets stamped on things that go through the mail, recording what day it was picked up by the post office from the mailbox (which may not be the same day it was put there, by the sender, particularly if it’s mailed from a rural location), and roughly where that mailbox was. or where the nearest post office to that mailbox was, or is, anyway.

so i ceased my bemused admiration of the picture of long grasses, a lake, and a sunset, and turned the postcard over. the postmark was no more than a smudge on the k.d. lang commemorative stamp. a big enough smudge to spoil the picture, but smudgy enough to be completely illegible. you wouldn’t actually know that something was supposed to be written there.

the post office appears to be determined to hang on to what little remains of its power over human communication, through the tool of mystification. i am barred from discovering, via crown corporation authority, the mailing date of this card.

but just so you know, my friend has been home from her holiday for more than a week.

so the postcard’s journey was…long.

this differs remarkably from the length of time it takes an email to reach me.

i’m just sayin’.

the message my dear friend chose to send me by this (what might appear to some to be grotesquely slow) method is this:

i wish you didn’t live so far away…”

this message, when i read it, made me laugh so loud that the dog woke from her nap and slunk out of the room with a most reproachful look on her face. at the same time, tears that were not laughter came into my eyes.

so close and yet so far away. the funny thing is, my friend lives very close to me; i could, if i wished, drive to her house right this minute and (assuming she is there) see her in less than 5 minutes. or maybe exactly 5 minutes. certainly a very few minutes. but at the time that she wrote the message on the postcard she was far away, in rural ontario. i was still where i always am, 5 minutes (or so) away from her house.

i wish you didn’t live so far away…”

…she writes, and i think, “i wish i didn’t, too.” and i don’t really know what i mean by that or what she meant by that, but it makes me feel sad.