58 – Return of Post

It was simply time for another letter.

Sequel to “Love in Bloom.”

Takes place circa March/April 2010.


Las Vegas

It was late.

Relatively speaking.

As most people wouldn’t regard two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon as late. But when you should be leaving work around ten, not getting out of the office until well after one is late, even if it was pretty much par for the course in Vegas these days.

At least she’d missed out on the gory 419 Nick and Greg had caught towards the end of shift. They were going to be lucky if they made it home before dark. So Sara really couldn’t complain.

Still, tired as she was, she wasn’t in the mood for much more than a quick cup of tea before hurrying off to have a shower and head to bed. Considering the hour, she decided to put off giving Grissom a call until they were both awake.

As she waited for the kettle to boil, Sara absently thumbed through the day’s mail.  Her husband still received a fair amount of correspondence to his old address, mostly of the professional sort. Catalogues too. Any letters she would put aside to take back with her on her next return to Paris. There were the usual bills to be taken care of; way too much junk mail. But towards the bottom of the stack, she unearthed something she hadn’t expected to find: a long, cream-colored envelope made from good quality heavy linen paper.

She hadn’t needed to flip it over to read her name scribbled in that all too familiar handwriting or note the 29 3 2010 Philatelie 52 rue du Louvre – Paris Louvre postmark to know whom the letter was from. She did however pause long enough to admire the vibrant postage stamp featuring the serre mexicaine, Charles Rohault Fleury’s glass and metal framed Mexican hothouse that had for more than a century and a half loomed in Paris’s Jardin des Plantes, the one she and Grissom had yet to visit as it had long been closed for renovations. She grinned over the fact that her husband had uncharacteristically grossly overpaid on postage.

But before she could actually open it, the teapot let out a shrill, insistent peal and distracted and only half paying attention, Sara shut off the stove, poured the boiling water into the mug of loose chamomile tea she’d already prepared and carried it and the envelope up to the living room.

Curled up on the sofa, she unfolded the single sheet she found inside, taking in the neatly flowing hand she knew was a far more private script than the hurried and yet precise one she’d observed scrawled over various paperwork over the years.

A soft, warm, fond sort of smile filled her features as she began to read, imagining as she did so, her husband comfortably ensconced at his desk, pen in hand, his reading glasses perched on the tip of his nose, book propped open beside him.

In this, she was only partially correct.


The week before, Paris

For Grissom, Sundays in Paris tended to be of the indolent variety. True, there were still trips to the market to be made, laundry and dishes done, Hank taken out for more than just a pee. Still, they had a quiet, restful quality to them that after the years of the hustle and bustle of Vegas, he had to admit he rather enjoyed.

And today, it was just too nice a day to spend indoors, neither too hot nor too cold, cloudy, but not gloomily so. Besides, he wanted to check on how their rooftop garden was growing, even if it had only been a couple of weeks since Sara had finished repotting the last of the seedlings.

With his usual lumbering gait, Hank followed, if only to sink into a comfortable corner and recommence snoring.

Grissom was too busy trying to take it all in to much notice. He could picture how in the weeks and months to come the garden would be almost overgrown with life and color, and with the not so distant prospect of the rooftops of Paris spread out behind it all, it wasn’t difficult to imagine it as vibrant and alive as many of the Monet masterpieces he and Sara had once admired at the Musée d’Orsay the summer before.

There’d been rain earlier in the week so nothing needed to be watered just yet. It was too early for weeds. The bugs would soon arrive. But for now, it was still predominately a sea of green. But after the long grey winter, the green was much appreciated.

Suddenly, a cluster of knee high containers caught his eye, mostly because he didn’t remember seeing them when he’d been up there helping Sara finish her potting. Perhaps because they huddled half hidden in shade, perhaps because he’d been a little distracted at the time.

Stephen had once told him there was nothing more beautiful than a woman in love, and that afternoon Sara certainly had been. Even sweaty, lightly dusted with dirt, and her hair having long started to come free from the knot at her neck, she was breathtaking.

And while she’d only been gone a handful of weeks now, he missed her already. Missed the return of her warmth and scent in the sheets, the feel of her touch on his skin.

He never quite got used to it – missing her. Never had been able to. Although he’d been genuinely surprised that January he’d been away at Williams by just how much he’d missed her then, for it had been more than he would have ever thought, probably because for so many years he’d been accustomed to seeing her nearly every day. Surprised, too, how passionately he’d longed for her and yet still felt as if she had been with him all along. Shakespeare had indeed perfectly captured that strange sort of duality:

For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move,

And I am still with them and they with thee…

It was the same now, despite there being an ocean and nearly an entire continent between them.

He bent, the better to examine Sara’s scrawl on the handwritten plant stake, wanting to confirm his suspicion as to the species of the tiny shoots and starts of leaves sprouting from the soil.

Convallaria majalis, it read.

And he grinned. He’d been right. Lily of the Valley.

In France, he knew, the tiny, white bell-shaped blooms were not only regarded as heralds of spring, but also porte-bonheur, “bringers of happiness,” or good luck charms. So much so, that on May first during La Fête du Muguet at makeshift stands throughout Paris one could for a couple of euros buy bouquets of the sweet smelling muguet de bois for their friends and loved ones.

But Grissom was certain that Sara had something else in mind when she’d planted them.

He’d brought her some once, with apologies for them being cut flowers; she’d appreciated them all the same. Although when she’d asked, he’d told her nothing really, not quite ready then to admit to why he’d chosen those particular flowers, even if it had been true that Sara did complete him, that her in his life really had been a return to happiness.

Each of her returns to Paris over the last six months had certainly been that.

And he was suddenly filled with both warmth and longing and wanted to say as much to her.

But he knew it was pointless to call. Sara was still in the middle of her shift back in Vegas and he didn’t want to leave a voicemail. Email wouldn’t cut it either and he wanted to say more than what the 160 characters a text message could contain.

It was simply time for another letter.

So he retreated downstairs to his office, but only just long enough to hunt up a pen and some proper paper, as well as the small book of sonnets he’d taken with him to Costa Rica. It was rather apropos, he thought, thumbing through the old and yellowed pages as he sat at the worn table up in the garden, considering that the cover of that particular volume was populated by delicate blue flowers — irises, perhaps pansies, neither he nor Sara ever managed to determine exactly which.

Locating the sonnet he was looking for, he began to write.



Admittedly it has been a while — too long– since I’ve written you a proper letter. I do intend to actually mail this one.

And yes, perhaps letter writing is more than a little old-fashioned and sentimental. But the sentiment is entirely your fault. The being old-fashioned I will own to.

I know, too, I should keep this brief. As we talk often, what could there be for me to write to you about? And yet, I wish somehow I could send you more than just these words to say I miss you–

C’est Paris au printemps.  Tu me manques plus que je ne peux exprimer avec des mots et il me tarde de te serrer dans mes bras.*

Perhaps that is all that needs to be said. You know the rest by heart.

And yet, it is my heart that is loathed to leave you. For as strange as it may seem, somehow it really does feel like that as long as this letter lasts, I am with you and you with me.

Since it was you who once told me “talent borrows, genius steals,” I hope you will forgive that I have yet again ended with borrowed words. Only know I wish they were my own.

O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,

And you and love are still my argument;

So all my best is dressing old words new,

Spending again what is already spent:

For as the sun is daily new and old,

So is my love still telling what is told.


– G

P.S. Hank hasn’t stopped pouting since you left. Although he’s been more than happy to take over your spot in the bed.


*It’s Paris and spring. And I miss you more than I can say and long to be with you again.


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