It was Sunday and there shouldn’t have been a letter in the mailbox, but there was. I had gone out for some fresh air along the shore to clear my mind. It’s been a struggle lately with so many losses – including my parents’ divorce, losing my job, and more importantly, losing my best friend in a freak accident on a train two months ago. They said nothing was found in the debris. Thus, I’d taken up walking. It helped most days.
I hurried back because the clouds were coming in, the sky darkening – the impending storm had arrived.
As I put my key into the lock, I noticed that my mailbox was ajar. My friends thought I was on the obsessive compulsive side because every day, twice a day, I had a routine of opening and closing my mailbox: first thing in the morning as I took my walk and again, at sunset. By then all the mail carriers were done with their routes. Just as I was about to close my mailbox, I noticed a blue envelope. Did I not pick up all my mail yesterday? Perhaps someone swung by when I was out. I reached for the letter and noticed that my name and address were in purple marker but there was no return address. Suddenly, I felt the world around me was spinning. I dropped to the ground on my porch, pulled my legs in tight, and rocked for a good ten minutes.
The only person who would use purple marker was my best friend. I recognized her handwriting immediately. Ever since we were young, we would write letters to each other. But that was years ago. It’s been two months since she’s passed. How could this be? Where did this come from?
When I caught my breath and pulled myself together, I realized that whatever it was and whomever it was from, there had to be a reason why it was dropped off today – Sunday – and it couldn’t wait until tomorrow.
I walked into my apartment and hung up my keys. To calm my nerves, I put the kettle on and changed into comfortable clothes. After pouring myself a cup of green tea, I gingerly opened the letter, which was resealed, to my surprise. Who would open my mail?
The lights flickered. I heard a loud warning alarm sound from my cell phone. The storm was here.
I put the letter aside, and decided it was better to prepare and have the candles, flashlights, and batteries nearby.
After flipping on the TV to hear the latest update about the storm, my thoughts wandered back to that letter. I took a sip of tea and tried to relax. The lights abruptly went dim. Good thing I was prepared. I grabbed my flashlight and began to read.
Ghandi once said, “If patience is worth anything it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.”
Your faith has never shaken even in the darkest of moments of your life. You blamed yourself for your parents’ divorce. It was NOT your fault. I know you’ve been looking for work since you lost your job in May. You needed a fresh start anyway. You may feel you are amidst the biggest storm right now, but you have amazing strength and will endure.
I wanted you to know that I am proud of you. You taught me much more than you know. And guess what? I’ve been reading the Qur’an. It really is peaceful. I recently heard this lecture and the instructor said, after a storm passes, a calming breeze arrives. I believe that time is now.
You see, I never thought I’d ever take the plunge. But through your actions, kindness, and unwavering friendship, I have become a Muslim, albeit privately. I’ve watched how it’s given you the tranquility you’ve been yearning for. You deserve it. I can’t wait to see your expression as you read this. Aren’t I a great friend, Cake? Hugs. ~Pie
How was this possible? I was told nothing remained at the crash site.
Then, through my window, came a ray of sunshine. The storm had passed. As I refolded the letter about to place it back into the envelope, I noticed in small print:
Surely we belong to Allah, and to Him is our return. If I don’t make it, please deliver on a Sunday to my best friend and sister in Islam. ❧
Melody K is a counselor at a public school in NJ. After graduating from Rutgers with a BA in Psychology and Statistics, she earned her MA at The College of New Jersey. Melody is a NY sports fan and she’ll be smiling whenever you see her (Masha Allah!).