I’m suffering from insomnia again. I lay awake all night focusing on obscure shapes in the dark and listening to the wind. Finally at 4.23am I surrendered and dragged myself naked into the kitchen. I sat crossed legged on the floor with a glass of milk and a straw. “So this is what the mentally ill do!” I thought... then I decided on an early morning sight test.

From my store box marked 'D.I.Y Health Checks' I dug out my old Snellen Eye Chart and Blu-Tac’d it to the living room door. Standing at the end of the hallway, covering an eye, I began shouting out the letters. “E! T! P! O! E!...” By the sixth line things were getting a little blurred and by the seventh it resembled dyslexic Greek. I think that means I have deteriorated another notch; that I need glasses.  John had glasses. John looked just like Elvis Costello.

*      *      *

“There he is!” I said, my right eye tight against the spy glass. The postman had just come into view and was gradually making his way down the odd side of the street. When he disappeared from sight I counted to 66 then waited for him to stroll by. But not this time. He stopped right outside, took a letter from a separate pile, looked from letter to door... letter to door, and then turned into the yard. I watched his face deform as he got real close. “BRRrrrrrrrIINNNNGGG”. Shit! I felt like I'd been caught; that if I opened the door now he’d realize  I’d been obsessively watching him for these past months. So I kinda crouched down below the letter box and remained there like that holding my breath and praying he’d go away. “BRRRRRINNNNNNG!!!!” “BRRRRRINNNG!!!!” This guy was a professional. On all fours, I ever so quietly reversed, and with my hand over my mouth I shouted “Coming!”

Standing outside in a pair of tight shorts and a smile that was a little too happy for the day, the Postman gave me a small pink letter. Next he handed over a machine which looked like something used to print losing lottery tickets. For a moment I thought that was also for me. But no, apparently I was obliged to sign its little oblong touchscreen. I did, though very badly, as since opening the door my damaged eyes somehow, and independently of my brain, kept finding their way to the Postman’s crotch. All of a sudden I had perfect 20/20 vision.

A losing lottery ticket? Possibly. It was a letter from John. I laid it down unopened on the coffee table and just sat staring at it. Maybe, just maybe, he was coming home.


  1. This reads like watching torture.
    It's so well written and structured, it left me in your room looking at the pink envelop on the coffee table.
    Sorry I took a glass of milk from your fridge and then left as you slept btw.

  2. Beautifully paced and structured, chinese water torture in written form. It's amazing how complete emptiness is filled with minute detail, I guess that's what outer space is like.

    I'm almost going frantic here, I need to open the pink envelope so much!

    This is painful, please don't stop!


  3. You should open the envelope, because.... I'm terribly curious.

  4. How lucky I was to have found you wallowing in grief and torment. Its like slowing down while driving, and craning your neck to see the bloody dead bodies at a car wreck.

    More, please sir.

  5. @ Nick: Thanx for taking the milk it was 17 days old. Hope we see you again! WFJ X

    @ Old Midhurstian: By the time you read this you should know what was in the letter. Chinese water torture? It'll get worse than that. WFJ. X

    @ Chicken: I opened it just for you. God I wish I never. I could blame you now, but I won't as it's all my own fault. WFJ. X

    @ The Gaudy Gardener: Then how lucky I was to be wallowing in grief. Maybe I should do it mor often ;) WFJ. X


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