My Writing

Day 14: Return to Sender

Elvis still gets 100 Valentines each year. Tell about one of the people who sent one

This was the year. She knew it. This was the year that he would reveal himself. She could feel it as she wrote the letter. Her heartfelt words filled the page in front of her. She knew he would feel compelled to write back to her, to contact her. How could he not? She was pouring her heart out, her entire being was spilling out through the ink of the pen for him.

She though of her earliest memory of his voice. She was five years old and was helping her mother cook in the kitchen. Her mother always played his songs when her daddy wasn’t home. She was dancing around the kitchen, singing into the wooden spoon. Don’t step on my blue suede shoes. She laughed and danced with her mother while the pots boiled over. It was always their little secret, ever since she was a kid. She was the only one who knew about the box buried in the back of her mother’s wardrobe. Pictures and records. She even had a signed photo of the man himself that she had sent away for without daddy finding out. Their little secret. She used her first paycheck to buy her mother’s birthday present, an Elvis mug. Her mother was ecstatic and added it to her collection, drinking her midday cup of coffee from it every day. The two of them added to the box again and again, sometimes worried that it wouldn’t fit in the wardrobe anymore. They didn’t want daddy to find out, he made his opinions clear on the matter.

‘It’s disgusting and depraved, the way he acts. I won’t have it in my house.’

He found the mug one evening. Mother hadn’t put it away before he came home. He was furious.

‘What have I said about this ridiculous rock and roll music in my house?’ he bellowed. He smashed the mug on the ceramic floor in the kitchen. She cleaned it up while her mother sat at the kitchen table in silence.

She remembered seeing the news telling them that he had died. Her and her mother were sitting on the couch together when his picture popped up on the television. Breaking News. Her mother was distraught. She cried for longer than her daughter had ever seen her cry before. She didn’t cry so much a year before when we buried daddy. They spent that evening going through the box of memorabilia, crying and laughing.

Twenty years later and she sits in her room writing the letter to the musician that she knows is still out there. She turns to the box on the floor beside her. It is overflowing with more items than her mother would have ever thought possible. She would be happy if she was still here. She would be glad that her daughter was keeping her faith alive. Her mother knew that the sightings in Kalamazoo were real. He was still out there and he would come back. All he needed was the knowledge that he was wanted back. That he was loved and adored by his fans still. So she wrote another letter, just like she did every February. Her emotions cascaded onto the paper. She knew her mother was looking down on her, proud.

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