Dear Ms. Murray,

I write to you in hopes of your written response in an elegant hand, or at least typed with a real ink signature.

This isn’t easy for me, a widower, and rather old now, 73. My wife, Grace, passed away almost ten years ago and my mistress, Margie, passed away last year. Now it is just me and the cat, Doxology. She is a sweet little thing, lithe and spry weighing only six and a half pounds, and she keeps me in good spirits much of the day.

This isn’t easy for me, that is, to write you, a stranger who reads romance manuscripts all day. But because I probably don’t have so many years left in me, though I eat organic when I can afford it, take morning walks down along the coastal trail, and have switched from oil to acrylic paints, I figured sending you a letter on the East Coast couldn’t hurt anything or anybody.

Although I’ve tried her, Dear Abby doesn’t reply to my letters. So, I have a question for you. Do you think romance really is possible for old people? I loved both my wife and my mistress dearly, but in the last handful of years neither relationship had such spark. My wife and I became a brother-n-sister combo, sharing hearing aids and dentures, and my mistress and I turned into a pair of elderly cats, cuddly in the morning but irascible by afternoon. It wasn’t an awful life by any means, but it wasn’t what I remembered romance, even in my fifties, to be. You see, I am still the same person inside as I was at nineteen. I still think about hemlines and shoulder blades and, I have to admit to it, lacy undergarments. (I keep one of Margie’s slips in my socks drawer, and once a week or so I get it out if only to feel its edges.)

I am sorry if this letter seems too forward of me. I am not a lonely man. I am not a hard case or a poor soul. I merely like to write letters and I’ve often thought of you, somewhat like Bruno Ganz in that Wim Wenders movie Wings of Desire, always platonically, like a guardian angel. Which brings me to my point: I want to be your Columbo, your Peter Falk.

I want to draw your exquisite nostrils, nude.

I remain, sincerely yours,

Anton Yakich
Oakland, CA