I found this word document on my laptop. It is perhaps a year or two old.
The tragedy of letters unsent, or the less romantic tragedy of emails unsent. True, I had no one to send the letters to and that was the real tragedy. But the journey of the romantic hero unaware is easier than the journey of which he or she is aware. Where was my terminus? It would be a point—not a physical point but a point in time—when I found a woman to send these letters to. That seemed clear enough. Or, more likely, when she fell into my lap, as they say. Because it’s been my experience that life’s little Grails are found when you stop looking. (Has this point been expressed so much that I need not say it?)
The death of a Massachusetts Senator wouldn’t strike anyone as a particularly romantic sentiment and so that is where my story begins. Though at the time I was not aware that news as confounding as assassination might turn into opportunity (not that I believe the Senator, may he rest in peace, died on my behalf, or that the assassin acted as my personal Cupid). It happens from time to time that the American media and, via a trickling effect, the culture becomes starved for tragedy. Much the same way a pubescent American teenager becomes starved for pornography when he does not have an Internet connection. (The media can work the Tragedy Effect in reverse too: the nation can become saturated with bad news. (Though the same can’t really be said for the pubescent and his Internet smut.))
A romantic hero who can’t fall into love, a dead senator? It would be dishonest to call this story anything but tragedy. On the bright side, who doesn’t enjoy a good tragedy? Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear. That must make me your fallen hero, your Oedipus Rex, both your Romeo and your Juliet.
The assassination occurred on Independence Day. The mountains to the West trembled free from the Earth, the swamps to the South basked in the sulfuric gases of liberty, and I was in the Yankee North. Being the British fop I was, I concerned myself with American cloths of celebration. I wore an ostentatious American flag t-shirt, made complete by a display of the “bombs bursting in air” on the back—those original bombs, of course, bursting forth from my great ancestors. Boston was hot, miserably hot and celebration started early to palliate the conditions. The huddled masses were rowdier than usual for two reasons: Independence Day fell on a Saturday this year and the Red Sox were on TV. I sat at the bar by myself, interested in the game when I had to be, but for the most part detached. The pretty young bartender donned a Sox hat and sports socks that were high but left plenty of beautiful tan leg for the boys to ponder. I called to her in my British-est accent: “Beefeaters!”, hoping she would take note of the cultural stereotype…
…Will our hero find a lover to whom to send his unsent letters?
…Will love fall into his lap?
…Will the pretty young bartender enjoy the hero’s stereotype?
…Will the Red Sox lose on Independence Day, thus inciting a full-scale riot in the streets of Boston?
…Where does the dead Senator fit into this mystery?
–It’s a Beautiful Day; Choose Your Adventure!