Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Collapse CXIX: Statiera


Dear Mr L.,

It’s funny, writing a letter to a person name Mr. L. I would have written out your full name, but...Young Xerxes (that is a funny name as well) insisted that as that is what he called you, it would be okay if I did it to.

My name is funny as well – Statiera? It’s fancy and all but hardly the sort of thing that rolls off the tongue at all. Mr. S. from what Xerxes has told me, likes to use these names instead of our real ones to protect our privacy or something – as if now we worried about it.

It has been five days since Xerxes, Mr. S, and everyone else left. We haven’t heard a thing. I kept bothering Mom about it to the point that she suggested I write to you – probably to keep me from bothering her about it. It is keeping my mind off everything else for the moment.

Proper introductions. That is something Mr. S. always says, proper introductions. He can be so weird about some things. Again, not something I think we should be worried about, but he seems worried about a great many things that don’t seem like they matter anymore.

You know (I guess) that I am Pompeia Paulina’s daughter (another one of those funny names. He is a character) and that we have lived here know, it is hard for me to remember quite how long we have been here now. Probably shorter than I think, because it feels like we have been here for a large portion of my life.

When we moved here originally, I had no idea what we it would be like. My Mom talked it up – It would be great, she said, lots of Nature and different weather, even snow, so different from Arizona where I had grown up.

I think – looking back – that it was a lot tougher on her that she ever let on. She has never told me why she decided to move, even though I have asked and even pestered her. She maintains it was just for a change of scenery. I don’t believe it. She had a successful business, friends, a life – that was completely upended and abandoned to come to what seems like the middle of nowhere.

I met Young Xerxes maybe three years ago? I had picked up a Summer job in the larger town at a store – if you do not have a ranch here or are not employed by the government, you work in the tourist towns. It was a coffee shop; he walked it all puffed up and self assured and asked for two things: coffee and a date.

The coffee he got. The date took longer.

He grew on me – mostly because of his attitude. People that live here fall into four categories, those that have lived here all their lives and won’t move, those who have lived here all their lives and are looking to get out as quickly as they can, those who moved here from somewhere else and are looking to move away, and a very few who moved here and make a life of it. Xerxes is one of the fourth kind.

He said at some time he had written you a letter too (I would look in this journal, but I have been strictly told to read no pages but my own), so you probably know his story. He did not really strike me as dating material the first time we went out, or the second or even the third. It was only as we started to do things outside of “dating” – fishing, hiking, just driving the roads here – that I began to actually appreciate him and fall in love.

I have come to love it here. Yes, the weather can be cold and there are not a lot of people around, but that is okay with me – I like the silences and the wide open spaces that are easy to get to and the skyline that has nothing on it but mountains and clouds. And Mom and I have learned to do all kinds of wonderful and silly things here, gardening and learning to fish (and how to clean them) and canning and preserving food and the sorts of things we never would have done if we still lived in Arizona.

And now, he’s gone and there’s no word.

I see my Mom every day – either she comes over here or I go over there (it’s weird that she lives somewhere that is not here now). She tries to cheer me up, but I can see that she is sad inside as well and putting up a brave face. She has always been passionate about everything – her work, her relationship with me, and her dating relationships to the extent she had them, although they never seemed to last too long.

I think she misses Mr. S more than I miss Xerxes.

I really hope that someday we get to meet you. Mr. S has made you out to be quite a character; if you are half the character he is I can only imagine the two of you together.

Your Friend, Statiera


  1. This post doesn't fill me with joy.....

    1. It does not fill me with joy either Michael - although as an author I suppose I should be happy, as it is not meant to be joyful. So maybe there is that.

  2. Anonymous5:33 AM

    But as life is. When one has friends. Woody

    1. Indeed, Woody. Life is not getting dealt a winning hand, but rather playing the hand we get dealt played well.

  3. Anonymous11:28 AM

    Daughter and mother, both recent brides, husbands off in pursuit of an armed enemy engagement; there is foreboding of a tragedy in the plot-line here.


    1. FnB, it is actually surprising to me how this story is working itself out.

  4. I read all your chapters, but it appears I'm behind in my comments. The new plot twists definitely make it interesting. Nothing like a little tension to keep your readers' interest!

    1. That is very kind of you, Leigh. I am not always good at building tension, so nice to know there is some perceived.

  5. I don't know how I mi missed this. Good story telling.


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