At first Sunflower had thought that the letter with no return address had been from her local insurance agency. Usually that’s what their envelopes looked like, plain with no return addresses and possibly handwritten. She picked the envelope up from the pile and looked at it closer, it was definitely handwritten, and there was no insurance agency address on the back. Odd, she thought to herself. Odd was in Sunflower’s nature, odd, gullible, believing, naive, pretty much any adjective that could describe Suzanne Somers’ blonde character in that show from the late 70’s, early 80’s could be used to describe Sunflower. Maybe it was in the same. Either way, Sunflower tossed her long hair over her shoulder and re-positioned herself on her couch, opening the letter as she settled in. 

She wasn’t sure what she had been expecting, but she wasn’t expecting this. She unfolded the computer paper and read the first few lines, “I love you/I love you, and I wish I could stop/I love you and I wish I could tell you to your face[…]” Sunflower stopped reading and picked up her cellphone. “I got a letter,” she told Marco, “it’s weird though.” Without much thought about the letter or what it represented, certainly without thought for the impact it could hold, Sunflower read the letter to her boyfriend in its entirety. “Creepy,” Marco said as she finished, “you okay?” 

Sunflower put the letter down on the couch next to her and thought about what Marco was asking. Of course she was okay. No actual harm could come from a letter, but it was strange. She had been with him and only him for three years. Yet here was evidence that someone else claimed to also love her. This person also knew where she lived, and while no one had taken to breaking in lately, at least not as far as she could tell, it was still unnerving to think about. Sunflower thought a little harder, about who it could have been or why they would have sent it now. The possibilities were both endless and limited. It didn’t quite make sense to her. “Yeah,” Sunflower finally responded, “I guess I’m okay.” The couple discussed the letter for a few more minutes, and then moved on to other things like television shows, plans for their separate evenings, and dinner options. It was as though the letter had never come at all. They hung up the phone and Sunflower turned on her favorite movie and decided to relax before making herself dinner. 

Her eyes had just closed when she felt them snap open. This was the third or fourth time it had happened to her. Sunflower would finally get her eyes to rest when they would spring back. She figured it was because of whatever she had taken for her headache that had begun to develop into a migraine. Usually Sunflower would keep a bottle of whatever was on sale at her house, sometimes they were the caffeinated pain killers, other times they were generic, occasionally they were all natural. It was only because her boyfriend believed in them, and she was prone to random accidents, headaches, grinding her teeth, forgetting to take her contacts out, the works. Sunflower rolled over cuddling her stuffed animal further into her chest. It was nice to have something to snuggle. The giveaway soundtrack played in the background, meaning someone was about to die. Sunflower smiled, seeing the movie play in her head as she attempted to get some rest. Her eyes pried themselves opened once more as Sunflower’s foot crinkled against some paper. Reaching down she grabbed the paper, pulling it up toward her face. It was the letter again. 

Sunflower reread it two more times. Each time she noticed another mistake. The handwriting was awful. It was as though someone was drunk or intentionally writing with their non-dominant hand to throw her off. Chills ran down her spine. For someone who claimed to love her so much, they had a really awful way of showing it. No indication of who they were, how they knew each other, or what their intentions were. Sunflower thought about her ex-boyfriends from long ago. Most of them hadn’t been actual boyfriends, and none of them had showed any real interest in making their relationships long term things. At least, Sunflower had never been under that impression. She waved the paper onto the floor and watched as it slide under her slippers. It was probably just a cruel joke played by someone who was too dumb to realize that it wasn’t funny. Sunflower wasn’t afraid, but she wasn’t happy about this letter either. 

The letter itself had specifically requested that if she had figured out who the writer was, to not tell them how she felt. No where in the 18 line poem/letter had it said she couldn’t try to figure it out. Sunflower got off the couch, sliding her feet into their slippers. Walking into her room she went to her closet and dug out a box from the very back. In it were cards and random memorabilia from people in her past. Some lovers, some boyfriends, some friends, and the occasional wack-a-doo or two. She shifted through the box looking for a few specific items. Carefully opening each one and comparing the handwriting against the handwritten poem. After three or four samplings, Sunflower had yet to find a match. 

Maybe her boyfriend had been right afterall. Leave well enough alone. Don’t go looking into it, don’t hyperfocus or make a big deal out of it. Most of all, don’t go provoking anything or anyone – after all it was just a letter. It was better to keep it at that. That didn’t sit well with Sunflower. While she was a lot of things, most of them fitting into the categories of good natured, almost dumb from her sense of hope, Sunflower was also stubborn, and curious, and usually couldn’t just leave well enough alone. She had been reading mystery novels since she was eight years old. She concumsed more murder mysteries, true crime documentaries, true crime podcasts, solve a crime games, and 1970s game shows than anyone else that she knew or knew of. She didn’t like not knowing who was holding on to her without her consent, and clearly without any regard for her overactive imagination. Parents who loved their children and wanted to teach them hot from cold didn’t take a hot pan from the oven and press it into the faces’ of their babes. The same way a parent wouldn’t put a small child in a refrigerator to teach it cold. For someone who claimed over 18 lines, they hadn’t bothered to edit, that they loved Sunflower, they certainly had a strange way of showing it. Deep down, Sunflower was sure Marco was right. That everything and everyone would be better off if she hyperfocused on anything else for the next few days. For certain her migraine would feel infinitely better. Sunflower sighed to herself as she left her room and headed for her kitchen. While investigating might not be the answer, she was sure that popcorn and a restart to her favorite movie would be better. 

As if her feet knew the way, Sunflower headed back to the couch after her popcorn finished popping. She was tired. Her head was killing her. She was hungry and nausea at the same time. She had felt this way long before she opened her mail. She had felt this coming on since before her drive home and even before brunch with Marco. She knew it was best to shut the lights nibble on some comfort food, snuggled deep into her couch listening with her eyes closed to the words she knew by heart. She hated doing it, but she always felt better afterward. There would be plenty of things to focus her attention on when she got up. But first she had to go to sleep. 

Sunflower woke up sometime later. The splitting pain in her head was dulled to almost a nonexistent pulsing. The smell of popcorn still hung faintly in the air. Sunflower reached back for her glasses and her cell phone. She texted Marco back letting him know that she was awake and feeling better, but that she was still avoiding using her phone too much since the light never helped during headache days. He texted her back that he loved her, and would call her in a little bit to check in on her. She smiled and put her phone on the floor. After a few minutes of stretching around, and flipping through the channels, Sunflower’s stomach rumbled. She got up, putting her feet in her slippers one at a time and walked into the kitchen. Noticing the time, she laughed at herself, no wonder she was hungry. Pulling out a bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer and some prepacked noodles from the cabinet Sunflower began whipping up some veggie stir fry. Thankfully, it wasn’t a meal that took long, but tasted as though it had been crafted over a long course of hours. 

Upon her return the couch Sunflower put on a marathon of a cooking competition. Something that managed to be excited, calming, and not over stimulating to her. She watched two episodes before getting up to put her empty bowl in the sink. Sunflower looked down as she dropped her napkin into the garbage. The stack of junk mail from early was still sitting on top. Walking back to the couch, Sunflower looked at the floor. There was no letter in sight. She looked under the couch, no signs of the letter or its envelope. She remembered it landing under her slippers, because of how perfectly it had slid under them before being stopped by the rubber soles. It had almost been like a magic trick. Sunflower looked around her room where she had done sample comparisons, the box of stuff back in the closet instead of on the floor where Sunflower had thought she left it. In almost a panic, she circled around her house looking for any trace of the letter. There was none. She was on the verge of calling Marco when her cell phone rang. It was him. Quickly she muted the television as she blurted out the whole story about her nap, dinner, the missing letter, the box, all of it in as few breathes as she could manage to spare. Marco talked her through calming breathes and reminded her how bad her migraine had been. It hadn’t been the first time that she had misplaced or done things and forgotten from the pain. He was sure this was no different. If it would make her feel better he would come over and help her find it, but he was sure it would turn up. Sunflower thought about it, Marco was probably right. Sometimes having such a “Nancy Drew” brain mixed with a vivid imagination caused Sunflower more trouble than it seemed to be worth. Hanging up the phone, Marco and Sunflower exchanged their “I love you”s and Sunflower returned to the couch. Sunflower unmuted the television. She laughed to herself as a contestant did something so questionable with chicken and what appeared to be confectioners sugar. That’s not going to end well, Sunflower thought to herself as she moved on from the events earlier that day. Not going to end well at all

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