100 Words, Day 5: Not At All Handled with Care

Somewhere between Bangkok and North Dakota, the letter had seen the harsher side of a postal mail sorter. Jagged tears ripped one side open, and the left edge was well and truly bent, folded, and mutilated. The return address, once inked in precise Spencerian script, had been reduced to a smeared “Mak” and the first few letters of an address Kristen didn’t know. But the postmark was still clear, stamped and dated two months ago. And her address, positioned in the exact center of the envelope, was indisputable.

Only her name was missing.

Kristen didn’t reach for her letter opener. Didn’t slit the edge of the envelope with a thumbnail or pull the pages out through the rips that had, for all practical purposes, already opened the thing for her. She didn’t need to. Through the missing bits of cardstock, Kristen could make out enough of the letter to know it never should have reached her. Enough to wish it hadn’t.

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