The Envelope Is Going Exactly Where It’s Supposed to Go, But I Am Irrevocably Lost by Sarah Wernher

September 12, 2018
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Imagine me in another life, in which I am not small and on the moon and you are not cruel and on the earth. Imagine us old and happy. This is what we would say:

You: “What would you like to do today?”

Me: “I think I’d like to do what we always do, and always have done, except backwards, from the end to the beginning.”

You: “Why?”

Me: “Because I want to be able to come to the end (which is the beginning) and find that everything is new.”

And so on, and so on.

Once in a time far too long ago there was tiny girl who fit in a tiny brown envelope. The girl was in love with a boy, but she loved him far too much, so much that he started to hate her. So he dug into his pockets and cobbled together ten pennies, which he used to buy the tiny brown envelope. Then he put her in it and sealed it with his spit and put a miniscule stamp on it and mailed it all the way up into the sky and past the stars to a single mailbox on the moon.

And while she was curled up in the envelope she thought about all the small things that make up all the big things in the swirling turmoil of the lonely world she was leaving behind, like all the tears that the ocean weeps into catastrophic waves, all the coffee beans that shower down through funnels and blades to be ground into fuel for the solitary runners of the world’s daily races, all the scores of pennies that made up the dime that bought the envelope that allowed the boy to send her out of his life forever and ever.


And now, while my words can catch the radio waves from the satellite that are passing the moon at this very moment, here is a memory:

It’s long before my love for you has diminished me enough to enable you to fold me into the envelope and send me away for good. I’m sitting at the empty train station just outside the city, waiting for you to meet me.


The trains go by, roaring like emptiness. One, then two, then three, then e-t-c., and each time I ask myself, “Is he on that one?”

The clack of the tracks echoes me: “Is he on that one? Is he on that one?”

When the fourth train comes, someone gets off who looks like you from afar (he’s wearing the same coat). With my eyes fixed on the back of his head, I chase after him, calling your name. I grab his shoulder, and he whips around to face me. Where I thought his face would be is just more of the back of his head. I apologize and walk back to my seat.

When the sixth train comes, I stop waiting and leave.

Turn your car radio on and tell me what you have to say about that.



Before you mailed me out of your life, I screamed and ripped my heart out and threw it at you. It was a struggle to successfully part my skin and open my ribcage, the same way that it is difficult to pull apart a roast chicken; all the gristle and tough ligaments and stabbing bones get in the way. But when I finally did my ribs opened like stage curtains to reveal the cavernous darkness and the somber pumping of the aching organ within. A throbbing prima donna, my heart was singing the quaintest little rhyme:

It’s raining

It’s pouring

The tiny girl

Is snoring

She bumped her head

And went to bed

And everyone knows

She’s already dead,

like the final tragic aria of an opera in which everyone and everything good and lovely is killed, brutally. At the end, my heart began to scream. I ripped it out and it hurt, and the pain was crying tears of blood that squirted all over the walls and soaked into the carpet, the bedding, your clothes. I ripped it out and I threw it at you like a curse to follow you into the dark hereafter.

The other ways I could have said goodbye seemed insincere.



When it rains on the moon, it rains hundreds of thousands of pennies. Every time it does, I climb out of the mailbox and dance in them. In this way, I still see you once in a while.