I am Always Leaving

By Maya Lionne

When Dinah asked Lucy to write something for Tanya’s birthday gift, Lucy went to work immediately, not with actual writing, but with searching the stacks of correspondence in her room for a particular set of letters from several years earlier. After hours of sifting through piles of letters, envelopes, and envelopes without letters, Lucy found what she was looking for: a stack of letters, bound with burgundy ribbon, envelopes yellowed with age and prolonged exposure to sunlight on a windowsill in her old apartment in New York, where she developed the habit of leaving letters until the piles grew too large and threatened to block out the light. She sat down, removing them from their envelopes, the paper still faintly smelling of an odd-but-reassuring combination of her mother’s perfume and her father’s hands, which were perpetually crusted with wood glue and soldering flux, and a few other scents that brought back memories long filed away.

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