by Kelli Collins
An open letter of longing…
Hello, lover. It’s been a long time. It’s me…Dictionary. I know we haven’t seen each other in a while. Well, you haven’t seen me, anyway. But I’ve been watching you from afar. Sitting atop that shelf above your computer where you left me all those years ago, flanked by a Chia pet and a coffee cup full of chewed pencils. (The latter say “hello”; they haven’t felt your touch in a while either.) I occasionally converse with Thesaurus. But, as his body now lies beneath your heavy monitor, his voice is muffled, hushed, stifled.
I saw Spellcheck’s post.
Ha! Spellcheck! That pretty-boy application with his expansive database and flashy underlining. I know his sophisticated skills are too hard to resist. Why suffer my limited capabilities, my shortcomings, when his never-ending memory swells at your whim? Though, if I may be so bold, it saddens me that you would succumb to the lure of such a pseudointellectual—n., one exhibiting intellectual pretensions that have no basis in sound scholarship; adj., of, pertaining to, or characterized by fraudulent intellectuality; unscholarly. (Can Spellcheck offer that clarification? No! He has no concept of meanings, roots, pronunciations. He can spell love…but only I can define it.)
Still, I have only myself to blame for my loneliness, I realize. I’ve let myself go—my jacket threadbare and battered, my once-stiff spine cracked and busting a stitch or two (the humidity causes the bloating, I swear!). My pages, once crisp as new linen, can no longer be skimmed swiftly, soft and wrinkled and dog-eared as they are. Ahh! The exquisite pleasure/pain of use!
I remember happier days, my covers lovingly cupped between your soft hands as you gazed upon me with inquisitive intelligence. The silky feel of your fingers tickling as they ran lightly down my columns. Such sweet shivers! Sigh…
Word has reached me of my comrades’ struggles—their fight to remain relevant in this digital age. Their painful updates, colorful new jackets and expensive reprints come at a high cost, too high for most to bear. They sit, ever-hopeful and eternally heartbroken, as potential mates pass them by. And so, like me, they collect dust, each microscopic particle silently marking the passage of time and the coming of death. (Our smallest brothers suffer most—horrific fates of ripped-off faces and discarded bodies!)
At least I have known the rapturous joy of belonging to another.
I’m not asking for a second chance or reconciliatory gesture. I understand the appeal of a younger model with more stamina, truly. But should you ever find your hands idle…ever wish for the warm, comforting scent of the finest aged paper…I’ll be waiting, friend. Ready and willing to share memories of a simpler time, when deadlines didn’t press so urgently upon you and words were a world of discovery we traveled together.
Until then, I’ll be watching, waiting…and longing. Ever your slave…