My wife,

I would’ve liked to meet you at eighty. Our busy lives behind us, perhaps we could’ve watched all those movies we missed. I would’ve liked to see Hangover II. I would’ve liked to watch JAWS one last time. I miss you already. I know, we don’t believe in Heaven, but tell me, please, when we meet again, somewhere, even if we’re just two amoebas sailing over the waters of some new world-promise me you’ll notice me. Forgive, my wife, it was I who lost our wedding rings. We never did make that trip to Jeweler’s Row. It was I who never had the money. I had hoped to take care of you. I had hoped to buy you a ring. I had hoped to buy you an entire house. I had hoped we might sit in perfect stillness and wait for the good news. I had hoped to take you to Barcelona. We will never see Barcelona again. We will never share ice cream again. Forgive me, I let my illness make me crazy.

I would’ve liked to meet you at ninety, my wife. Our busy lives behind us, perhaps we could’ve experimented with drugs. I had hoped to discover the mystery of salvia. I had hoped to discover the mystery of your nightie, how, upon waking each morning, you’d slip out of your nightie, fold it into a perfect square, and hide it under your pillow. Don’t get me wrong, I had hoped to revel in that mystery for years. I had hoped, for decades to come, to reliably discover your nightie folded into a perfect square under your pillow. And yet, at eighty, I had hoped to ask, “Why, my wife? Why do you that?” You were so mysterious. You never squeezed out the sponge after washing the dishes. When confronted about this, you said, “I’m still washing the dishes.” And yet, I could see clearly: you were in bed, reading A Visit From the Goon Squad, and the sink was empty, and the sponge, absorbing its weight in soapy water, was sitting on the counter, just one more example of how you compelled my world, how you made everything remind me of you.

I had hoped, someday, to meet our children. I had hoped we’d have a daughter. Gloria or Isabella. Or, as you once said, “Francine!” Just kidding. You never said that. You never seriously suggested a name. I would’ve liked to hear what you’d come up with. I know you would’ve waited until the moment you met her. I always admired that about you. You always waited until you met someone to decide. Even then, you never made up your mind. In the wine store. At the movies. Standing in front of a case of ice cream-a glorious predicament! You never made up your mind. Don’t worry. Even if we’re just two rocks zooming around the universe-I promise, despite your indecisiveness, I’ll love you again.

I promise I’ll use the last of the ketchup before I open a new bottle. I promise, if we’re called upon to sit in perfect stillness and wait for the bad news, I will hold your hand.

I promise, the news won’t always be bad.

By the time we meet again, I predict a cure! Forgive me, I let my illness make me crazy.

Thank you, my wife, for saving my life. Thank you, my wife, for using the last of the ketchup. You were never meant for the dregs. And yet, for me, you took the dregs. Even if we’re the dregs at the bottom of some new world’s primordial puddle-promise me, my wife, promise me, you’ll tell me about the future. Skyscrapers! Plums! iPhones! Forgive me, I broke your iPhone. I broke your iPod.  I broke every single thing. I only wanted to see what was inside. I broke you, my nesting doll, and discovered another you.

I promise, someday, somewhere, I’ll make it up to you. Wedding rings. Mint chocolate chip. Three or four daughters: Gloria I, Gloria II, Gloria III, Gloria IV.

Oh, my wife, I miss you already, but I just know we’ll meet again. Even if we’re just two amoebas sailing over the waters of some new world-I promise, I’ll notice you.

For now, goodbye, but only for now.

love,

Me

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SETH POLLINS, a strong advocate of dinner, is a writer and who lives with his wife in Ambler, a small town outside Philadelphia. He currently works at Villanova University's Writing Center and Whole Foods Market as a lively lecturer, recipe developer, and all-around food optimist. He earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College and is currently finishing his novel, Bump. Seth writes for the food blog, FoodVibe. Fanatics can follow him on Twitter.

40 responses to “Letter to My Wife on the Eve of the Rapture”

  1. Mark Lee says:

    That was a delightfully revelatory love letter. I always knew you were the sort of guy who’d walk away from an unfinished condiment bottle.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Too good. Touched my heart.

  3. Dana says:

    Seth,
    With the revelation earlier today that you smuggle potatoes INTO restaurants and eat chicken every day, I find it fascinating that you write for a food blog and work for Whole Foods. That’s a tad.. quirky.

    I love that you want the sponge squeezed out, (I want that too) but mostly I love this:

    “Even if we’re just two amoebas sailing over the waters of some new world-I promise, I’ll notice you.”

    Bravo.

    • Seth Pollins says:

      Hi Dana,

      Thanks for your comment. Actually, weirdly, I develop recipes for Whole Foods Market. Many of the recipes on the national site are actually my recipes–and I haven’t even tasted many of them. I tested them on others–my wife, friends. I’m definitely a little weird about food. Some of this has to do with actual medical issues, but a lot of it is, I admit, purely idiosyncratic. When developing recipes, I often feel like the sad clown at the circus: he can’t laugh at his own revelry and I can’t taste my own food.

  4. Bert says:

    You are a romantic, small r.

  5. kelly says:

    I just love you both. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait until I was 80 to meet you.

    See you after the Rapture.

    xo,

    k

  6. If the world ends tomorrow, it is not my fault!!!

    Thanks for sharing that. I’ve always wanted to read other people’s love letters, but people are so exclusive about them. There would be more love poems if people were less afraid to share their most private moments of intimacy.

    How many classic letters and love poems have been burned because of divorce and passing on? Sad but true. The only place to find love lyric is in country songs, yet it’s so sad that so many of them vote Republican conservative. Who do they think they are? Cornering the market on love? Greedy jerks. I still listen to songs like Charley Pride’s “Amazing Love” and find solace and consulation. I’m taking love back!!!

    Read my love poems and love songs for free at: http://www.Ruben.Openhill.com

    Peace, Love and Best Wishes, Ruben Santos Claveria

    • Seth Pollins says:

      Thanks, Ruben. I’ll make sure to check out your love poems. One of my problems, I’ve learned, is that I sometimes share a bit too much on public forums like this. This letter here is certainly censored. And yes, in terms of writing about love, it seems like you have to be willing to traffic in a densely populated land–a land of country songs, and Neruda sonnets, and copious cliche. To write about love, you almost have to find wrong ways of saying what you want to say–otherwise, it’s probably already been said. The weirder, I’ve found, often the better. My favorite recent writer of love is Miranda July–her short story collection is just awesome. And, of course, I think Deano’s latest book includes some kick-ass love poems. Anyways, thanks, again, for commenting. Your comment made me laugh.

      • Hello Seth and company,

        Thank’s for the suggestion to read July and Neruda. I love Neruda’s love poems. He wrote so strangely, yet so vividly that it dazzles you gradually–to borrow a line from Emily Dickinson. One of my favorite books by Neruda is his Ode to Ordinary Things, which I found lovely and inspiring. My favorite line from Neruda’s love poems is: “I want to do with you what spring does to the cherry trees.” What could that mean? He wants to pollinate his love, rain on her, cover her with sunshine until the spring blossoms hatch. Nature’s first green is a flower for just an hour, wrote Frost, in Nothing Gold Can Stay, which was turned into a sweet song by Stevie Wonder called “Stay Gold” for the book “The Outsiders.” I like to go to http://www.NoblePrize.org and read speeches and lectures by poets, writers, peacemakers, scientists, and economists.

        However, shamefully, Frost and William Carlos Williams never won the Nobel Prize. Maybe the world will move toward peacemaking and away from warmaking, once they read more classic literature!! I idea of apocalypse will therefore become obselete. Who would’ve thunk it?

        Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike

  7. Also, Seth, this letter makes me think of the Charley Pride song “All I Have To Offer You is Me.” You can watch Pride sing it on You Tube at: http://youtu.be/1jlI23stCM0

  8. My thoughts on the Rapture:

    1. I hope it doesn’t come while I’m on the can.

    2. If the Rapture actually does hit, I’m going to feel so, so, so dumb.

    3. Alternately, what the fuck do you do if you believe in it and it doesn’t? By the time the clock gets to 11:59:59 on the day, you’ve got to feel like some kind of asshole.

    4. This was funny, and I liked it.

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Smiles and agreement on all.

    • Seth Pollins says:

      Thanks, Simon (re #4). I agree with #1. In terms of #2, fuck em: we lived our lives.

      In terms of #3, I read what I thought was an intriguing analysis of what might happen to this dude Camping and his followers post-non-Rapture.

      Chouck it out, if you care at all–if you don’t, well, I don’t blame you.

  9. Jessica Blau says:

    Ah, you’re sweet! I think a lot of people are hoping their spouse gets sucked up into heaven for the Rapture so that they’ll have five months of totally fun freedom and mayhem down here.

  10. Rachel Pollon says:

    LOL. I now know the phrase “my wife” is comedy gold and will stick it generously everywhere I can.

    Also, our last names are quite similar. You probably get people misspelling yours a lot that ends up looking like mine and I get it vice versa. We need someone who spells it POLLEN on here to round it out fully. But I digress.

    Funny! Also, sweet!

    Oh, the soapy, soggy sponge!

    Nice to read your acquaintance,
    R

    • Seth Pollins says:

      Hi, Rachel. Nice to meet you. I’ve actually been lambasted by a feminist friend for using that phrase “my wife.” All the more funny!

      Yes, our names are quite similar. My name was originally Polinsky–my Jewish immigrant Grandfather’s name. It was anglicized to Pollins upon arrival in the US.

      Me and you–we could be related.

      See you around, Pollon.

      • Rachel Pollon says:

        Oh my god, my grandfather’s name was (spelled something like) Polonetsky (pronounced paul-un-yet-ski). We could be related!… right? Even though it’s slightly off. It could have been screwed with over time. Anyway, it hadn’t occurred to me but it’s neat to think all the Pollon/Pollen/Pollins of the world might be from the same village. We should probably be Facebook friends. 😉

  11. Zara Potts says:

    I thought this was lovely -particularly this: ‘I broke you, my nesting doll, and discovered another you.’
    I should like to apply this to everything as of this moment.

    • Seth Pollins says:

      Thanks, Zara. It’s occurred to me: your name is just lovely. Zara. Rose. Potts. Sounds like a character in a novel. Have you ever been to a Zara? (Clothing store). I once bought a pair of life-changing pants at Zara.

      • Zara Potts says:

        Well, thank you very much!
        I would like to be named as a character in every single book yet to be written. I have been to Zara – I think I may have also purchased those same life changing pants.

  12. “Even if we’re just two rocks zooming around the universe-I promise, despite your indecisiveness, I’ll love you again”.

    This was unexpectedly lovely. I wish you both decades more of floating around on this planet together, with many more conversations about soapy sponges.

    And ps: I’ve been to Ambler – cute lil town!

  13. Oh, I’ve ambled in Ambler. I have a good friend who lives there.
    I’m from all over the tri-state area, but I also lived in Berwyn, PA when I was
    little. Is that near Ambler? I also love saying Ambler.
    Oh and Greg (TNB writer and my husb.) did that, “Heeeere’s Tony” show with
    Tony Braithwaite – also an Amblerian. Do you know him?

  14. Seth Pollins says:

    I think Berwyn is near Ambler. I haven’t met Greg yet. I’ll seek him out. I wonder if he went to Wissahickon High School? I graduated in ’95.

    “Ambler” is a nice word. I also like “Monongahela.”

  15. Greg Olear says:

    This is great, Seth. How much can be gleaned from sodden sponges and ketchup dregs!

    We liked Ambler, during our brief visit. Very arty. The show was in the theatre in the center of downtown, the name of which escapes me. There was nowhere to park.

    In our house, I’m the one who leaves the sponges heavy. It comes with the territory of loading the dishwasher.

    • Seth Pollins says:

      Oh, hi, Greg! Thanks for commenting. Nice to meet you. I thought when your wife said that you were an “Amblerian” she meant, literally, that you were from Ambler. The theater is called ACT II Playhouse. Recently, ACT II advertised one of its plays as “quiveringly beautiful.” For that, I have decided to boycott the place–at least until they take the advertisement down.

      • Yeah, I meant that the guy from, “Heeeeeee’es Tony!” is an supposed Amblerian. Not Greg.

        And um, Greg, I don’t see what a heavy sponge has to do with your loading of the dishwasher.
        But, whatever. Just glad that you load.

        And Seth, I do hope they take that ad down; what the hell play are they’re talking about?

        • Seth Pollins says:

          The ad was for a play called “The Pride of Parnell Street.”

          From the ACT II website:

          “Marvel at Sebastian Barry’s lyricism in the play Ireland’s Sunday Independent calls ‘quiveringly beautiful…quite simply magnificent.’ ”

          Seriously, what does that mean? Quiveringly beautiful? Awful.

  16. Well, isn’t it just like me to show up to comment *after* the world ends? I’m always late for a good party. I see that immersing yourself in poetry has served you well! Your humor is so very sneaky. I’m lost in the sweetness of marveling at the little folded nightie and then wham! “You were so mysterious. You never squeezed out the sponge after washing the dishes.” Ha! I think the humor is actually *in* the surprise of that. You’re just so skilled with this quirky/serious/poetic thing you do. I feel like summoning the comparison to Wes Anderson again.

    • Seth Pollins says:

      Thanks, Cynthia! If I am working in the Wes Anderson idiom it’s simply a result of osmosis. I’ve watched Steve Zissou about 20 times by now. In fact, as a prelude to Memorial Day weekend, I think I’ll watch it again. Ditto all the other ones.

  17. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Oh, how sweet. I hope you’ve found one another in the Heaven neither of you believed in. I find this side of the apocalypse remarkably similar to the former… I love the idea of the two of you experimenting with drugs in your 90s. And the folded nightie and the sopping sponge.

  18. Gloria says:

    So, so sweet. I hope this missive was accepted with tenderness and good humor and that maybe the rapture not happening isn’t the only way you got lucky.

    Also, if you choose not to have kids, I’m totally adoptable. I come complete with grandkids!

  19. Chris Arnold says:

    I found myself on this webite after googling a quote I saw graffitied on a wall in Dublin, (I eat more chicken than any man ever seen.) and I would just like to say how much I enjoy the atmosphere of this community, everyone is so encouraging.
    P.S. Seth- your writing inspires.
    P.P.S. As a huge doors fan I was actually raging that I didn’t know where the chicken line came from…

  20. Carol says:

    That’s a beautiful letter. Congratulations.

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