Letter to a Texas Lady: After Julio Cortazar

By Mercie Metcalf

Dear Mommy,

How’s the garden? Are you still trying to find a way to kill squirrels with peppers? You’ve always had such an impulsive and ambitious nature. Not much follow-through though. I think at this point it’s more endearing than anything. Anyways, college life continues to trudge along as the world ends. You’d think an impending apocalypse would inspire lighter workloads but there’s more ever. I was just thinking earlier about how untidy it all is. Not that I’m a particularly neat individual. You of all people know of the affection that grew in me for the invading vermin of my childhood room, but that’s neither here nor there. What I mean is that if this impending doom business turns out to be nothing more than a steaming pile of mass hysteria, we’ll all go separately.

By the way, I heard that old woman that managed to get you struck down by a moving vehicle finally made her way out of this world after a little more than a century. I don’t know whether to send condolences or congrats. The few times I saw her she smelled like death and looked like horror but I know that you were content to listen to the moaning as she looked through the window to watch for the reaper’s arrival, so sorry, I suppose. You told me you wanted to write a book about her. It’ll never happen because of the follow-through thing but I thought that was a sweet gesture to contemplate making. I wonder who is going to be responsible for her personal effects. You told me that she didn’t have much in the way of family. Do you think she lost many people before she became one of the lost? One hundred years is a long time so I’d bet quite a huge sum that there were many a memorial for her to attend.

Again, back to how messy that is. You’re there and I’m here and the first one is there but not and the second one is all the way over here. Our little family of four is so isolated now, which is a shame. It seems really unfair for one of us to leave the other three to cleaning up and tidying the loose ends. Even worse would be three of us leaving one of us behind. And what of our things? The first, second, and myself don’t really have a great deal so I suppose it wouldn’t be that much of an imposition, but you, like the old woman, have nearly a century’s worth of odds and ends that fill that fire hazardous shack of yours to the brim. By the way, I should mention that I was watching TV the other night and have concluded that you’re a hoarder so you might want to get that looked at. Anyway, none of us would be capable of keeping even half of what you acquired. Which leads me to the conclusion that we all should just go together. I’d be much more comfortable being unfair to a bunch of strangers.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy living, when not dealing with the hereditary depression (thanks for that), and would avoid any disruption of it for all of us permanently if I could. But of course there’s the world ending and your hypertension and my allergy to nuts and the first one’s future battle with type 2 diabetes and the second one’s determination to drive her husband to murder-suicide. The odds of us going when they go or them going when we go are very slim, really. Still, it would be nice to be united in this, especially since we’ve grown apart. I suppose this letter has gone above and beyond morbid, but I’m not suggesting we dig a mass grave and pass around the same cup of Kool-Aid, or green tea preferably since I’m on a health kick, in order to bond as a family. I guess college life, the end of days, and the new multivitamins I’m taking have me longing for our final hours to be less messy together than our lives have been while we’re apart, so…yeah. Anyway, take care and I’m sure you’ll outsmart those squirrels soon.

Love you,


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