Friday, February 9, 2018

Why didn’t you write to me?

I figured I had to soften the tension between us. I had to speak out, and do it fast, in my smartest, most eloquent manner, and come up with something, anything that would make her want me backbut somehow I could not find the words. 
My heart started hammering. Standing across from her I found myself, somehow, more isolated than ever. I was beset by anxiety, by rage that had been wrought by waiting, desperately waiting on the other side of the ocean months on end for a letter, a word from her.
All I could do was burst out with, “Why didn’t you write to me?”
In turn she blurted out, “Why didn’t you?”
Which set me back on my heels. I gasped, realizing that I should try to start this conversation over, this time in a gentler manner, without pointing blame. But it seemed to be too late. Not only silence stood between us now but also words.
“All these long months dragging by,” said Natasha, “and not a word, not a sign of life from you! My God, I thought you were dead!”
“What? I wrote to you every week,” I countered. “Sometimes a few times a week.”
To which she cried, “No, that can’t be! I never got a single letter.”
“How can that be?”
“Are you doubting me, Lenny?”
“No, but—”
But what, exactly?” she asked, flustered by the way I persisted with my resistance to her. “Every morning I asked Mama, as she went out shopping, to go to the post office, bring my fan mail and stuff, and send my letters to you. And then, when she came back, I would ask her, each and every time, if there was anything from you. Invariably, the answer would be the same.”
“Let me guess! It was this: No.”
She shook her head angrily, which brought a bit of color back to her cheeks. For a moment she was unable to utter a word.
“Natasha,” I said, “anyone could have told you the answer even before the question was asked. Your Ma, she hates me
“Doesn’t!”
“Does, too!”
“So?
“So I bet it was her! She discarded my letters, or else she has them stashed somewhere, deep down in some dark corner, out of sight.”
“No,” said Natasha, shaking her head. “She’s protective of me, but still. Ma would never do anything like that. I mean, I trust her. I rely on her, totally.”
And a minute later she whispered, mostly to herself, “Would she?”

Excerpt from The Music of Us by Uvi Poznansky
Included in A Touch of Passion


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