prompt “Why are you sending me a postcard?”
“Because I can.”
It was my last moments in London.
That morning, my last morning in London, we’d fucked like it was the last time for a long time, because we both knew it would be the last time for a long time.
But now, a few hours later, we sat at a tall table by the bar in The Hung, Drawn, and Quartered. He called our venturing to the restaurant his “giving his respects to his relative”. Apparently a distant relation had been executed here, back when it wasn’t serving butternut squash risotto or duck, cranberry, and port pie.
We each sipped on our drinks and lounged. My legs dangled from the tall chair in a way reminiscent of my youth, though I was not as happy sitting in the restaurant as I had been when I was young. It was almost time to say goodbye.
About ten minutes earlier we passed by a small shop that sold postcards. Near the beginning of my London adventure, I’d purchased postage for five cards, thinking I would send them off to family and friends. As my time progressed in London, the thought rarely came back up. Until then, during my last hours, when we walked by the small shop.
He needed to go to an ATM, so I waited, sampling their small selection.
Who would I send a card to? Who did I want to send a card to?
I chose three: one for a parent, one for myself, and one for him. I paid the small fee and waited outside the shop for him to return.
With a little time on my hands, I thought about what I wanted to write. Something fun came to mind for my parent. Thoughtful intents emerged for his card as well as mine.
When he returned, we walked the short distance to the restaurant. After a few commemorative photos outside, notably his starfish under the sign, we walked in, found a cozy spot in a corner of the bar, and sat.
As I sipped my cider, I pulled out my cards and started writing. My parent’s was easy and short.
For my card, I thought about my trip, and the many amazing moments I’d had. I made a list, bullet points to jog my memory of my fun times in London.
When it came to his card, I wanted to give him the same gift.
“What’s your address again?”
“Why are you sending me a postcard?”
“Because I can.”
I thought about the moments we’d had and the times I’d seen him enjoying his latest trip to London. Again I made a list, hoping it would spark his memories of his adventure and possibly, maybe, get him to smile.
After we’d ordered our food, our friends arrived. They joined us, snuggling into our cozy corner.
When I finished all my postcards, I realized a slight flaw in my plan. There was no time for me to go to a post office before I had to head to the airport. Gray offered to do it, but I didn’t want him to peek at his card, spoiling the surprise. Instead one of our friends offered to send them off for me.
And then Gray promptly asked our friend to read it. He and his partner leaned over perusing what I’d written. They then, thankfully, advised him to wait.
“See, I’m thoughtful and shit.”
Soon after, it was time for me to go.
Gray walked me to the station, about a few blocks away from the restaurant. We switched Oyster cards (mine had unlimited bus and Zone 1-3; his was empty). He filled my card with enough money to get me to the airport.
We hugged just beyond the entrance turnstiles, standing there for a moment saying a silent goodbye.
“Please try to stay safe and sane.”
“Thank you for helping me with that while you were here.”
We kissed one last time.
Then I turned, swiped my card, and stepped through. He handed me one of my bags over the barricade and I was off. I didn’t dare turn back. I didn’t want to cry and I had a long journey to traverse before I’d be home.
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