Letters from a Year Apart

JANUARY

From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Have Fun

Date: January 1, 2011

Hi. You may have already left, but if not I want to wish you both a safe journey.

Have fun, kids.

Bobby


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Re: Have Fun

Date: January 1, 2011

We leave in a few hours.

I gave him the Manchester United keychain. He loved it. He asked me to thank you—such a polite kid. He certainly doesn't get that from me.

Happy 2011. This will be a good year, I can feel it.

—Alex


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Re: Re: Have Fun

Date: January 1, 2011

Right, Happy New Year. I'm glad he liked it.

I'm happy you're still going through with this, but I'll admit that I'm kicking myself for not being with you now.

Bobby


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Have Fun

Date: January 1, 2011

Don't kick yourself; just make it up to me sometime.

Well, we're off!

—Alex


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Have Fun

Date: January 3, 2011

How do I make it up to you?

This is a serious question. I'm not trying to be cute or an idiot.

How do I make you happy?


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: A Storm

Date: January 8, 2011

I told myself that I would stay away from things like the internet and emails and so on, but I thought you would like to know that we have been using your maps and suggested destinations. We've had a great time so far.

It's about midnight here in southeastern Texas, but I am not sure what city exactly. We made an unscheduled stop because of a torrential shower that has not eased. The rain was pounding so hard that we couldn't even hear the TV—it was irritating. But now that he is asleep and the TV is off, the pounding rain is a comforting white noise.

I took the Manchester United shirt with me. I wear it to bed. It smells like you. It must have sat in your draw with your other clothes for a while. I'm now starting to think that out of everything that was in the box, this shirt is my favorite. I always enjoy practical gifts.

—Alex


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Re: A Storm

Date: January 10, 2011

Alex, it's good to hear from you. I'm pleased that you're both having a good time.

I love a good rainstorm when I'm not out in it. When I was a kid I used to love the way everything looked after it rained—trees looked happier, and the sky looked brighter—now I know that in essence those things are true and not just my perception, but I can't remember the last time I noticed the way things look after a good rainfall.

…Just when I'm about to apologize for being so forward in our recent emails, dismiss them as the strange things that are said when there is no pressure or expectation of it becoming true and hope that you'll see them as a silly way to pass the time on a lonely Christmas Day, you tell me that you're wearing my old shirt to bed…

Bobby


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Re: Re: A Storm

Date: January 10, 2011

Eventually we'll see each other again.

What will become of us?


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Re: Re: Re: A Storm

Date: January 10, 2011

What has become of us?


Postcard

From: Eames. To: Goren. January 12, 2011

Wish you were here.


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: A Different Ocean

Date: January 13, 2011

Bobby,

Today we made it to the Pacific Ocean. The thing that is so striking about the Pacific is that it looks so different from the Atlantic. It never occurred to me that two massive bodies of water could look different. It's just water. Right? Why?

I can't really pinpoint what it is that makes them look different, but in a few days we have a longish flight back home to think about it.

My nephew says hi. Have you two ever met? He doesn't think so.

—Alex


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Re: A Different Ocean

Date: January 13, 2011

What beach were you at? But the real question is what ocean do you like better? This should be one of those standard get-to-know-you questions—right after 'what do you do for a living?'

The only time I've ever seen him was when he was just learning to walk—I doubt he remembers. Thanks for the Grand Canyon postcard. It's on my refrigerator.

Bobby


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Re: Re: A Different Ocean

Date: January 14, 2011

Well, Robert Goren, I really shouldn't be playing favorites with oceans, but if I was forced to choose, I would say the Pacific. Understand that the Atlantic is a sentimental favorite, some of my fondest memories involve it, but overall this ocean wins my vote.

Just a few hours ago, the boy and I sat on the sand and watched the sun go down over the water (we did this yesterday as well). Something that he pointed out was how loud it is. He's right; the Pacific seems thunderous. It could just be the beaches we've visited (Santa Monica, Huntington and now New Port), or that it's winter, but this ocean seems so much louder. Also, being a night person, I enjoyed watching the sun go down over the water. It's rather remarkable.

How are you doing so far away?

—Alex


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Re: Re: Re: A Different Ocean

Date: January 15, 2011

I'm fine.

You like the Pacific better? I don't know if we can be friends anymore. To be fair, I don't like the beach to begin with, so I guess it doesn't really matter. Although the seashell you gave me—that I once gave you—is the one rare and wonderful thing a person can find at the beach. Unless of course you are on the beach.

You may already be in the air, or even back home when you get this, but have a safe flight.

Bobby


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Home

Date: January 16, 2011

Hey there. We're home and safe and tired and happy. I'll talk to you later—after I sleep for several days. Maybe it's too early to tell, but I think those were the two best weeks of my life.

—Alex


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: A Favor

Date: January 20, 2011

Alex,

When you get a chance, and it doesn't have to be anytime soon, could you go to my apartment and sitting on the top of my desk is the paperwork to petition with the NYPD. I think I want my job back. The paperwork is filled out and singed; I just need you to turn it in.

Bobby


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Re: A Favor

Date: January 21, 2011

That's good news.

I'll do it tomorrow.


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Re: A Favor

Date: January 22, 2011

I turned in the paperwork. I guess we'll just wait and see.


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Re: Re: A Favor

Date: January 23, 2011

Thank you. I hope to be home soon.


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Have Fun

Date: January 27, 2011

I know that this response is a little late, but for the past few weeks I have been trying to find an appropriate answer.

For a long time—years and years—I've wondered what makes me happy, and sometimes not a lot does. But then the question of what you can do to make me happy is entirely different.

I am happiest when you are happiest.

The independent side of me screams that I should not base my emotions on some else, but the reasonable side of me knows that it's not so bad. If you, Robert Goren, work on being happy with yourself, with your life, and work on being happy just to be happy, then I will be happy as well.

Chocolate also makes me happy.

—Alex


From: Robert Goren

To: Alexandra Eames

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Have Fun

Date: January 28, 2011

I will work on myself. I won't do it for you; I'll do it for me. You'll just be a bonus.

Lately, I'm a little unsure how to feel about us—if that makes any sense.


From: Alexandra Eames

To: Robert Goren

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Have Fun

Date: January 28, 2011

It makes sense.