The Sun-Val on Boulder Highway is your typical run-of-the-mill motel frequented by travelers looking for a cheap place to stay overnight and the temporary home to transient workers. I hesitated outside door #7. My trembling hand held a faded pink envelope, stamped with the words “Special Delivery.” It must have been important to spend the extra 20-cents in postage, I thought. I had found the letter stuffed in an old box, saved, but long forgotten. I have to admit that curiosity overtook any sense of privacy I might have felt, and shamefully I read it. The letter was written on pastel sheets of cheap stationary, the kind you might find at the five and dime. The sprawling red script told me a woman wrote the letter. Her signature told me her name was Rose. The address on the envelope told me I had come to the right place.
“…was so happy to hear about Susie. I knew she would miss us some, “the letter began.
I derived from the letter that Rose and her husband Joey lived in the small hotel room before me, one that must have seemed ghastly big without Susie there to keep her company. Giving up Susie was only temporary and not by choice. The doctors assured her that there was only a 1 in 90 chance that she had cancer. Something she was grateful for, but not enough to prevent her nervousness over her upcoming operation. Had she had her way, Susie would have been there to keep her distracted. She must have known that was physically impossible. The pain was too much sometimes.
I knocked on the door and waited. I had so many questions. How long did Joey’s job last? Rose wrote that she hoped they could stay for a couple of months. Enough time for her to recover her strength. Did she ever go to Hoover Dam? I hope so because there would no time later on.
Footsteps approach the door. My breathing increases. The door opens and standing in front of me is young woman, a stranger yet so familiar. She smiles to see me, as if she knows.
I stretch out my hand, the one with the letter, and say, “Hello. I’m Susie.”