Almost every day, I take a brisk walk. It doesn’t matter what my schedule is like. I walk at work, I walk at the gym, I walk when I plan to lounge around at home, and I even walk when I’m on vacation.
Why the daily ritual? It’s a way for me to shake off any negative energy that might cloud my day. The cardio gets my blood pumping (which is definitely needed after creating dark stories and peculiar characters, letting words spill from my brain through my fingers, onto a keyboard). I also walk because my mother’s neurologist recommends doing 30 minutes of exercise a day, or two and a half hours a week, to fight the chances of getting dementia. I love walking outdoors because it helps fuel creative ideas that simmer in my head and keep me healthy.
The other day, as I was on my last lap around the employee parking lot (I call work my muggle job, because it’s a great place but lacks magic for me), a seagull flew up and perched a few yards away from me. I stopped in my tracks because I noticed something peculiar about this bird, who I shall name Sammy the Seagull.
Sammy held a folded up, yellow Post-It in its beak. If I didn’t know any better, I swear that my new friend was delivering a note. I wondered, could seagulls carry messages like Carrier Pigeons? Did Sammy have a message specifically for me? Is Twitter down?
Great questions, but no, no and no. Sammy dropped the Post-It once she figured out it wasn’t edible and eyed me for a few moments before I walked on my merry way. The discarded note reminded me of my dark fiction novel Gypsy Kisses and Voodoo Wishes when young Will Jalio sends a message to the love of his life. It was short and sweet. In the story, the words inspire his true love to follow her heart.
Last year my father shared with me a beautiful letter my mom had written over 10 years ago. He discovered it when doing some spring cleaning. In the letter, she told of how, ever since high school, she had loved my dad.
I already knew that Dad had always loved Mom; he would tell my sister and me how clearly he remembered the day he stood in a sandbox as a little boy, pointed at her and declared “that is the girl I’m going to marry.” We’ve seen the yearbook where he signed it “Love, always and forever.” My sister and I have a high standard of what we look for in a mate, thanks to the love my parents share.
But this letter Mom wrote? It was a surprise! Its honesty was endearing. As of November 2017, my parents have been married for 50 years. Today, Mom suffers from Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know what day it is, or recognize her family members. The heartfelt words, written years ago, gave my dad an extra spark of life. He knows she loves him, even if she can’t say it often, and this discovery was a beautiful reminder that what they have is very real.
I should mention that notes don’t all have to be romantic. I constantly try to remind friends (in person and through social media) that I appreciate them. Sometimes at work, I randomly leave little silly notes for a few coworkers, just to get them to laugh. I love to torture my sister with corny Haiku poems or scribbles on napkins that say “TAG you’re it.” It’s a treat to see how the smallest of gestures can have an impact on people.
The saying “It’s the thought that counts” means a lot to me. Communicating with others in a positive way matters because words have power and meaning. I bet Sammy the Seagull didn’t know how she affected my day. Thanks for the note, Sammy. I’ll see you and your cousins on my next walk.
Gypsy Kisses and Voodoo Wishes
Denise Tapscott is a writer in Southern California. Love Notes was originally published at denisetapscott.com, and has been reprinted here with permission. All rights reserved for denisetapscott.com.