Thursday, December 8, 2011

BYOB


I collect notes in bottles. The notes are everywhere but I have to bring my own bottles. “For the love of God, I need tickets!” blew across the sidewalk yesterday. I put it in a ketchup bottle. Two days ago, a wish list in crayon outside a bathroom. It said please five times. Each a different color. I put it in a miniature Coca-Cola bottle. Directions to a house in Liverpool. A love letter that fell from a garbage truck. Half a gas receipt saying, “Mike, don’t forget to g-”. Inside a pickle jar, I’ve wedged a scrap of sheetrock that says, “I need a woman. And a fish sandwich.” I’m going on a road trip next week. Packing the bottles in boxes. I’ll throw some in rivers. One is meant for a creek outside Roanoke. Most I’ll sail on the ocean's receding tide. But I’ll place three specially. I wrote the notes myself. I haven’t signed them. One, in a flat plastic bottle, goes inside a cairn I’ll pass on Mount Washington when I’m fifteen. The second, inside an empty root beer can from the fish and chips shop, will sit at the base of a tree on Hill Island until I chop it down with Chris when we are twelve. Finally, a glass ink bottle, wedged under the porch steps of the house where my godfather and I will sit when I’m only two and he’s years from the grave. Just the cap of it will show, catching the sun. I’ll return from vacation a new man. By then, I hope the bottles will have all found their way back to me. Their notes preserved and clear. Their messages all received.