She lived there over 40 years. So much had happened here over the years. There was a family raised here. That family hasn't been back in close to twenty years. It was sad really, wandering through this woman's life. A woman i hardly knew. A woman i would probably never know beyond the trinkets and cloth left behind from her seamstress days. The old photos and portraits on the walls and covering her dressing table. The antique furniture and costume jewelry.
I was in the bedroom. Not the one she spent the past few years in, but the spare room. It had years before become a catch all room. Old antiques and trunks full of scraps of old lace and deteriorating cloth. dusty old trinkets from far away places. Little ivory buddhas from her years over seas with her husband,who passed away many years ago.
She was alone in this apartment. Just her and her memories. I opened a beautiful old antique armoir in the spare room. I was hesitant to start opening things, too many scary movies i've seen over the years i suppose. But, as the door creaked slowly open, i saw a row of beautiful old fur coats and Chanel suits. This was a classy woman. I noticed some old books, long out of print, on the top shelf, covered in dust. The hat box caught my eye. Saks Fifth Avenue. I pulled it carefully down and eased off the lid. my eyes lit up at what i found.
Wrapped in nearly dissolved tissue paper were perfectly preserved letters. i would say there were more than sixty or so in the box. Wrapped in the tissue and a heavily faded ribbon. It may have been pink ages ago. I gingerly slid the top letter out of the ribbon.
"My Darling Kathrine" it began. I skimmed it as the words were fading and hard to read. But i pieced it together as best as i could. It was from the thirties. Kathrine was very much in love with this young soldier and he was very much in love with her. His words moved me to tears. As i sat on the floor, reading letters from a man that died before i was born, written to a woman i barely knew, i cried. The paper was so fragile. I could feel it crinkling under my touch.
Afraid i would ruin something, i dried my tears on my sleeve and slipped the letter back into it's protection from the outside world. It was as if i had stepped into a movie. People never find things like that in real life. But i had. I am so blessed, to be touched by someone, so deeply, by words alone.