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December 24, 2023

Seven days of suitors

This Christmas, I want to express my immeasurable gratitude to all my readers. Did you know that you saved me from the muddy waters of boredom, moroseness and black moths bearing bad omens? I swear! You have kept me sane, and I owe you my new career as a notepad scribbler.

The first letter, published on April 1, 2020, was entitled “It’s going to be OK.” A letter promising gentle encouragement or perhaps an April Fools’ prank meant to get a few good laughs? It was neither, of course, and our decision to keep writing to you every Sunday has been gratifying beyond measure.

These letters were supposed to be temporary, but your devotion, dear readers, enticed us to keep at it. From one week to the next, a new letter emerges from my imagination and enters your hearts. You are a welcoming vessel, a miracle. All the heart emojis give my words love, and thousands of delicious comments are proof each week, and I rejoice.

Since the beginning of the Sunday letters, you have given me a new existence, a passion that’s dear to my heart and a most extraordinary way of extending my life. I owe all these blessings to you, my dear readers. I peruse all your comments, one by one. I can’t reply to everyone, but I always enjoy bumping into you while I’m running my errands at Jean Coutu, Costco, Winners, Walmart or Marshalls. I chat and babble as if I were an affectionate pink-breasted cockatoo with pale grey wings.

I’m still single, believe it or not! I haven’t lost anyone, but as the famous poet Alphonse de Lamartine wrote in 1820 in his Méditations poétiques: “I MISS A CERTAIN BEING AND EVERYTHING SEEMS DESERTED.” Will I spend my life waiting for a stranger? I tell myself sometimes that this ghost is my muse, my inspiration, and I spend my days filling up this void in very mischievous ways.

MONDAY appears as Aeolus, the Keeper of the Four Winds. He prefers country living to the city and, and like me, enjoys caressing white birches. We are getting to know each other. Together, we summit Everest. MONDAY takes a moment to ruffle a few clouds and lie down on small shrubs. I whisper a few quatrains in his ear and he falls asleep while my fingers caress his silver chest. I hear him dream. He argues with a brunette and compliments a blonde. MONDAY blows my hair a little too forcefully and my body slumps.

The morning dew is named TUESDAY. Fresh and loud, the man tells me about his nocturnal escapades. Quickly, before the yellow star rises, TUESDAY fills his heart with water droplets. He grabs my hand, he brags, he exaggerates. He’s already afraid of disappearing. His wrinkled, pale green face stares wearily at the earthworms under the bushes. A stallion’s neigh assaults the bees. The clarity of the day keeps my vehemence at bay.

WEDNESDAY is an aging actor who forgets his lines. Handsome like a silver-haired Bradley Cooper, confusion settles in; he starts to lose his bearings. The fellow swallows a few chicken strips for breakfast, fills his stomach with oatmeal around noon and scatters the crumbs of a croissant as he falls asleep. He dreams, he tells me, “of one last cruise.” Alaska stirs up my enthusiasm, with its immaculately white glaciers. WEDNESDAY’s heart, nearly impotent. On the pier, my frozen toes stop me from moving forward.

THURSDAY brings me flowers made of cookie dough: pink, yellow and blue ones, and a few with patterned petals. He baked them himself, he tells me, with Mozart’s requiem playing in the background. A bite of a pink one tastes like a rose. I sink my teeth into a blue one and I can taste his eyes. THURSDAY has the airs of a church musician I’d like to kneel in front of. I touch these hands that know how to shape dough, feed flowers and that might even soften my heart. I dare to hope that he might also care for my soul!

FRIDAY is the fifth passerby of the week. His name in Latin means “day of Venus.” I quickly learn that he believes every woman deserves to be celebrated. Simonetta Vespucci, Mona Lisa, the Venus of Milo with her severed arms and the woman sitting next to me at the coffee shop – he loves them all. I remember a certain night at the theatre. FRIDAY was dressed to the nines and eyeing all the ladies. I was the prettiest one, but his worn eyes couldn’t tell.

A handsome SATURDAY places a poem on my writing table and my heart drops to the bottom of the ocean. I swim and swim, and I’m afraid to face this poet with a beautiful face. When he finally draws near me, I realize his eyes are bright blue like shark scales. This man could dip his fountain pen in the emerald of my eyes. I'd bite into every one of his great lines. My heart beats wildly and I get carried away. The blood simmers in my veins and short-circuits my reason. Sitting at my table, the fancily dressed SATURDAY busies himself slowing down the passage of time. He drinks his latte in small sips. He looks at me and I feel his heart writing new words on my cheeks and forehead and hiding a few short sentences in my neck. Although I’m afraid, I stay my ground. I’m no blank page or shiny slate, but my entire being is still hungry for love. My sentences crack, my verbs creak and my long paragraphs struggle to stay erect. Yet deep inside me, my heart is still only 20.

When the first snow falls, a splendid man walks by my table and smiles. He’s as beautiful as a church. I call him SUNDAY. Time passes and flies by and, one day, SUNDAY stops at my table. He stares at me. Two piercing black eyes, velvety and brilliant, ignite my gaze. I wait for his trembling lips to pronounce a few words and absorb every detail about him. “I used to build houses for a living. I’m retired, I play golf. I find you very attractive and I’m still…married.” I have a million words I want to tell him, but I swallow them all. The whiteness of winter puts ants to sleep, and my heart as well.

I'm wasting away. I implore Chronos, the god of passing time, to send me an eighth day.