Love in Isolation, Day Four, Ellis

Day Four
Ellis

Dear Bronte,
I love typing your name. Someday, hopefully, I’ll be able to sign it to you. This quarantine will end eventually and I’ll take you to dinner somewhere nice and teach you how to sign your name. The most beautiful name for a beautiful woman.

I laughed so hard at your description of your mother. Your trips to the weed store are absolutely hilarious. Although, I can see how embarrassing it would be for a person like us, shy and introverted. I’ve never partaken myself but many of the guys I work with do so on a regular basis. Like you, I’m a bit on the conservative side when it comes to such things. I figure I have enough trouble getting around completely sober. But don’t worry about whether I’d judge your mother. I think she sounds like a free spirit and lovely. We all have to find our own ways, don’t we? As long as we’re true to ourselves, then life lines up as it should. I like that you’ve followed your own instincts. Isn’t it interesting how we can be so different from our parents?

My mother was patient and gentle. She had these small, white hands that could soothe any injury, inside or out, with just a soft brush of her fingers on my forehead. When she discovered I was deaf, she changed her entire life for me. She was the type who threw herself into whatever came her way and never complained or asked ‘why me?’. She and my father learned sign language. They sent me to fine schools where I could learn with children like me but also encouraged me to participate in the hearing world. I can read lips quite well because of their insistence that I try. Our family mantra was, “We do our best always”.

Dad was funny and charming. The life of the party, my mother always said. He worked as a sales manager in the medical device business and was very successful. A suit and tie kind of man you rarely see in business these days. Some of his fastidiousness rubbed off on me. The guys I work with tease me for how I dress. They’re usually in baggy shorts and ratty sweatshirts. I think they’d probably fit right in with your friends at the weed shop.

I miss Mom and Dad every day. They were forty when they had me and died within a year of each other when I was in my mid-thirties. I’m comforted thinking they’re together in heaven. What a love story they had! They met during vacations to Paris, both recovering from broken hearts. Dad said he saw her sitting on the patio of a cafe and forgot all about the woman who had dumped him. He went over to her and introduced himself. By the end of the night and a bottle of French Chablis, he knew for certain he would marry her. She said she didn’t know that night but after two weeks together in Paris, they flew back to Seattle and got married the next day. They were both twenty-five and for years and years it was just them. The doctors had said she couldn’t have children so I was quite the surprise when she became pregnant at thirty-nine.

Every autumn, I go to Paris and spend time in the places where they fell in love. I stay in an inn around the corner from the cafe where my parents met that first night. Can you believe the cafe is still there? It’s not like here where they tear everything down to build new only to do it again.

The first night, I always eat at my parents’ cafe. For hours, I sip wine and watch the people pass by. If you’ve never been to Paris, it’s hard to describe what it’s like, how magical. People stay up late and sleep late. Even children can be seen at midnight walking around with their parents. I’m an early riser and walk the streets as the city wakes up, taking in the scents of fresh baked bread and croissants. There’s never a time when I feel more alive than those mornings.

If we’re still in quarantine by autumn, I’ll not be able to go this year. I’ve seen photos of Paris on the news. The streets are empty. All the shops are closed. I’m praying for their recovery. And for ours, of course.

I loved hearing about why you chose to be a teacher. Have you heard from any of your students?

Tell me. What’s your favorite color? Meal? Where have you travelled to? Where do you want to go? What are your dreams?

I’ll tell you one of mine. I yearn for a love story like my parents’. I hope for a family someday.

My dreams are simple, like me. Yet, there is beauty in the simplistic, don’t you think? What more is there to life than love?

Must go for now. Duty calls, so to speak. Write soon.

Ellis


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