Tag: The Letter Chronicles

Black Clouds – A Letter to a Stranger

I don’t have much to say this saturday.

I am train sitting. The train is rumbling beneath me. I am sitting in the seat where I was put two hours ago. I have seen people come and go, busy thinking about their destinations. Earlier I saw a young man who appeared to be trying to forget where he was coming from, knocking back Bulmers on the 7:53am train to Picadilly. Sitting hunched with his feet on the seat and his mind chained to his heavy heart. I’ve heard about children, dogs, cats and guinea pigs. Oh and a good restaurant in Stockport. I’ve heard how Martin married too early and how the kids will never accept her as their real mother and how little Charlie is mixed up enough already. How black clouds are looming and the rain will be coming soon. And it seems to me like we are all mixed up in our own ways.

So on my return journey I leave a note on the seat:

Dear Stranger,

I wrote this letter instead of doing my homework. I hope you have had a lovely day and that you have reason to smile. It’s raining at the moment and everyone on the train is declaring “we needed this” and “oooh isn’t it bleak?!”. The black clouds are rolling in and everyone seems to have things going on in their lives which they would rather weren’t going on. I have had an accurate description of the weather for the last 20 minutes. I’ve also gathered a rough blueprint of the people around me’s lives. There are lots of unhappy people in the world. So if there is someone on the train near you give them a smile… go on… because they might be looking at clouds. 

Love and Light,

A stranger. 

The letter left folded on a seat, it says read me.

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.” – Groucho Marx

 

A Note-Dropper’s Confessional

*Stands up*

My name is… and I am… a note dropper.

I know, it’s shocking, but for three years I have been dropping notes wherever I get the opportunity. It has become somewhat of an addiction.

My first note was placed after a particularly bad day at school. I had spent the day as I often did; not having half the resources the rest of the class did with the same exams approaching. My Mum would pick me up in the car park of a small supermarket across the road from the school after an hour or so of doing homework in the library at the end of the day. By this time however I had quite often had enough of school so would walk around the supermarket instead.

I would weave in and out of the aisles playing games. Counting chocolate bars, seeing which books had the fewest copies left, working out the price of items in the ‘20% off’ bucket. It all sounds very dull, but I was quite happy and sometimes I still resort to such tactics to let my mind drift away. However then I reached the magazine aisle. I looked at all the copies of the magazines and began to count. I was halfway through a rack when I reached into my bag and pulled out my orange school-issued rough book.

‘I hope you are having a good day and that you enjoy this magazine. Love. X’ It was something along these lines that I scribbled, I remember it well. Thoughts flashed through my mind: ‘is it illegal to leave notes to strangers?’, ‘will the shop security get me?’, ‘is there even a name for the opposite of shop lifting?’. So I took a deep breath and put the note into one of the magazines, half way up the spine and half way through because it was here that I hoped it would stick. Then I shuffled out of the shop and didn’t look back.

I felt better. I had, hopefully, given someone something to smile about. This is when my addiction truly began. I would leave notes anywhere in public; With left over coffee cups in cafés, on train seats just as I stood to leave the carriage, in library books and on park benches. I got progressively more daring from my first tentative slip of paper and developed multiple pen names and pseudonyms. Sometimes I would write quotes from songs, other notes included my own words of hope to the stranger and on particularly bad days I would just pour my heart out onto the page.

The length of the notes would vary, from one line to a double sided page. Roughly a year on from my first note I saw somebody posting about one of the letters I had written on social media, saying it had made their day. So my addiction grew and my note-writing confidence peaked. Then I went to a college for blind people. This caused infinite problems. There were no lockers I could slip well wishes into and there were infinite needs for making written material legible within the student body. But I tried.

My first note at college had me terrified. I left it on the reception desk in the learning centre, which is often maned by students. It was in a decorated envelope and included the full note in large print and in braille. It had taken me ages. I dropped the note and then ran up the stairs to my lectures. It took several goes. I kept finding the letter unopened but moved. I repositioned it several times until it was finally opened. For the first time in my note writing history (and by complete coincidence) I witnessed one of my letters being read. The student read it silently on one of the brightly coloured chairs around the desk, he then paused and smiled for a moment before returning it to the envelope and placing it back on the desk. I noticed the letter was still there when I passed several days later but then it seemingly disappeared during the holidays.

I’ve gone on to do similar things at college. Post-it notes under mirrors reassuring people they look lovely etc. But this is me coming out of the shadows. My name is… and I am a note writer. I try to do good, one note at a time. And this is one big note to you, have a lovely day.

pink post it nots under a mirror which read 'you look lovely' with braille underneath the written words

 

An envelope which reads 'dear you' in both print and braille with a butterfly drawn on.