I am reading the most exquisite book, The Little Paris Bookshop. It is about a man who has been missing the woman he loves but who left him twenty-one years before. Finally, he finds a letter that she sent shortly after her departure but which he has never brought himself to read in all the intervening years. It is a book about the many textures of grief and loss, about the way the senses miss the loved one, and still interact and yearn and argue and litigate even when there’s no one there for it anymore.
The lost lover is a mystery, of course, opaque, without her version of events. Except then the author intersperses old letters from her, and we get to glimpse into why she did what she did, and it’s not at all why we thought.
As I read her letters, I thought… imagine how wonderful it would be, if we could unravel someone by letter? If they’d send us a clue, a dark secret, a soul’s confession, one little letter a day, and we could save them all in a box until one day we felt we knew that person? Until we had a collection of all their myriad thoughts and true feelings and things they hide, and we knew the soul of the one we yearn to know.