Unexpected College Beginning
“Don’ t jerk me around. Look I am tired from a six-hour flight and I want answers!”, I raged cradling my pulsating temples.
“Our sincerest apologies, but your dorm room is still being fumigated. Rest assure, this University will take care of your lodging until your dorm room is ready”, Lonnie, the Admissions Assistant soothed.
“They better!”, I grumbled grouchy.
Frantically, Lonnie dialed several upscale hotels, but all were booked due to an annual surfing competition. She was forced to scrape from the bottom of the barrel.
“No kidding… you have a vacancy”, Lonnie cringed.
“So, we have a winner?”, I asked
“More like an honorable mention…Splendor Cove. It’s not exactly five stars, but it will have to do”, Lonnie sighed with a crooked smile.
The speedy taxi dumped me off at the desolate gumdrop pink building know as Splendor Cove Inn. I wanted to rename it as Splendor Choke because it was literally “breathtaking”. Who wouldn’t be smitten with a matchstick motel harboring a cracked criminal swimming pool filled with sewage; sunburn peeled paint; neglected landscaping that sabotaged any ocean view. I started to fantasize what crashing on a park bench would feel like.
I staggered inside where a selective deaf local was reading a newspaper and didn’t even flinch when I dinged the corroded service bell. In her own snail time, she checked me in, tossed a tacky palm tree key and hibernated into her humid cubby, refreshed only by a dying box fan.
“Where can I find a bite around here?”, I asked slightly leaning over the counter.
“Hula Hula Mart sells the best pickled pigs’ feet in town”, the lady snickered with a smoker’s cough.
“Anywhere else?”, I bravely asked.
“Lucky Coconut Pizza delivers, the menu is somewhere in your rat hole”, she huffed while shooing me away.
“Well happy day, at least your good for something”, I sassed.
After rummaging, I spotted a flimsy, torn paper menu held hostage between the broken compact coffee maker and a poor excuse for an ice bucket in the form of a beach pail.
I attempted to order a pepperoni pizza, but they only had ham and pineapple. The “pizza chef” proudly said “we thaw the food just for you”.
“Yummy, I should have taken my chances with the Hula Hula”, I thought.
After realizing my pizza was still trapped in an ice age and wouldn’t be ready in a while, I started to unpack my things from the vintage luggage my grandfather gave me.
While unpacking, I stumbled upon a lavender envelope pinned beneath my shower gel.
“Not another heart wrenching goodbye card, mom needs to cut the cord”, I gushed.
Upon closer observation, I realized the envelope was for someone else…
Seventeen Palm Acres
“What the…?”, I gasped, clueless how it ended up there.
Against logical nature, I opened the unsealed envelope, unleashing a dangerously flirty tonic of jasmine, vetiver, sandalwood and vanilla soaked amber. Attentively, I unravel the crisp, ivory stationary revealing a letter lovely printed in midnight black.
Time: 6:15 pm August 5th, 1962
My dearest Edgar,
Your last letter devastated me. Through the years, I’ve cried myself to sleep longing to fall sweet slumber in your arms and bask in the warmth of your smile. I have been such a blind fool, rejecting the pure love you offered me. Well darling, I will not allow Hollywood to hold my heart captive any longer! Days of being their promiscuous puppet are over. I’m bidding farewell to fame to call home with you. Humbly, I crawl on my knees, begging for your forgiveness as you are everything that grounds my soul. My love try to imagine the sweet life we can still have. Harvesting pineapples, sipping cool coconut water as it drizzles down our necks, making love under wild moonlit waterfalls and God willing, raising a family. Can you please spare your heart for this lost empty shell when I wash ashore? Sleep soundly, fore in a wink, I’ll be seeing you.
I manipulated the letter back inside the envelope. My fumbling hands released it into the trash, and I didn’t feel the urge to salvage it.
Suddenly, I heard a fate desperate woman echo “Come find me, come find me now”.
Just as a recognized the eerie occurrence, the pizza arrived.
“Aloha, pizza time!”, the delivery teen dressed in the tattered cargo shorts chirped.
“Thanks, keep the change”, I smiled.
“Right on bro, first tip tonight”, he excited.
I don’t understand what compelled me, but I had to ask about Edgar.
“This may sound strange, but by any chance do you know of an Edgar that lives off of Palm Acres?”.
“Sure, that’s Eggy, but he doesn’t live there anymore. He used to work at Lava Organics which is off this road going north a few miles, if you ask the owner, they may know his whereabouts”, the kid smiled.
After he left and I turned to go back into the room, the letter was no longer trashed. It appeared pristine, floating over sheets at the edge of the lumpy bed.
“I think I better find Edgar”, I thought.
Weeks later, on a free weekend, I decided to search for him.
Lava Organics gave me the last known address only after I pleaded how important it was. They warned me it was in the middle of nowhere and I had to climb a steep raw nature trail to get to his property.
I scaled the steep hill until I saw the no trespassing sign, I knew it was close. Then a few yards later I saw a clearing with a rustic abode adjacent to a dormant volcano. My fatigued legs tempted a ridiculously rickety porch only to be greeted by a naked old timer sucking on a cigar and shoving a gun against my sweaty chest.
“What’s your business here boy?”, the twitchy fellow bellowed.
“Are you Edgar that used to live at seventeen Palm Acres?”, I asked.
“Yeah”, Edgar grunted.
“I have something that may belong to you”, I vaguely answered.
The geezer waved me inside.
“I don’t get much company around these parts, I’ll get decent, so you don’t have a panic attack”, Edgar groaned while still pointing the gun in my direction.
“Can you please put down that thing”, I asked
“Gee whiz kid, its just a BB gun, but it scares the hair off of trouble, look what it did to you”, Edgar spoke while slipping on a light robe.
Edgar and I chatted for a minute while he cracked open a cold beer then I thought it would be the perfect time to surrender the letter.
“That’s impossible! I burned all of her letters a lifetime ago”, Edgar dismissed.
Silently I sat, while he collected his thick smudgy glasses and stuck them solid against his pruned face. His droopy, mud pie eyes flooded with tears as he slumped on a wicker chair. He flipped the letter to find her wedding vows written just for him, confirmation of accepting a proposal.
“Where did you get this?”, Edgar whimpered.
“I found it in my luggage”, I shrugged.
“There’s no post mark, why wasn’t this mailed?’, Edgar sobbed.
“I don’t know”, I answered helplessly.
“I guess I should feel eternally grateful because in some small way you brought her back to me”, Edgar sniffled.
“Who was she?”, I asked cautiously.
“The love of my life. We met at Splendor Cove in late September of 1947 while she was modeling. She blushed while saying “You struck me like a lightning bolt on a sunny day”. In other words, she was not expecting to find love while following her career dreams. Gosh, I wanted to marry her, but I could not compete with Mister Hollywood. She promised we would be together someday, so we exchanged love letters for years. When I saw my first silver hair, I realized I could never have her, so I ended it and moved on”, Edgar explained.
I led myself out, the letter was finally home.
“So, gramps, how did the brain transplant go”, I teased.
“I came out smarter than you”, he fired back.
He marveled about his knee replacement and dabbled in his repertoire of colorful stories. Usually he had tales on the repeat cycle, so I gracefully ignored them, except for this story that intrigued me.
“My hot shot friend scored us charity ball tickets at an exclusive country club. As a lucky dog, I won a raffle to dance with an up and coming starlet. She was bashful, dancing gloom into her step with loneliness polluting her sparkling eyes. I conjured up enough courage to ask her out on a date, while flattered, she opted that I dance with a charming young lady sitting by herself at the corner table. That young lady became your grandmother. A year later I invited the “matchmaker” to the wedding, but she had to decline due to filming a movie, however she sent a wedding gift of china which we still use today at holiday gatherings. Anyhow, years later I was chosen to assist in the investigation of her death. While snapping photographs, a letter appeared out of thin air on her nightstand. Just as I approached, it was snatched away as evidence. After her case was closed, I attempted to retrieve the letter, but it was confiscated by unknown government officials. Then one day the letter turned up in my locked car on the passenger seat. The letter haunted me until I tried to find the recipient of the letter. With no last name, city, state or country I encountered countless dead ends and decided to end the search. The letter was never found again”, he finally summed up.
“I have a feeling the letter ended up where it belonged”, I remarked.
“I hope so”, he muffled.
“Why didn’t she mail the letter?”, I asked just as Edgar asked before me.
“She died that same night when she wrote the letter”, he summed up.
“Who was she?”, I asked once more, wanting to know her identity.
“Edgar knew her as N.J, but the world mourned her as Marilyn Monroe”.
© 2020 Carrie Lee Night