Silver-Plated Letter Opener, ...


Silver-Plated Letter Opener, with flowers hand craved into its handle

At a cathedral in Paris, in a tiny, dark room within the bell tower, a deacon spins his letter opener on a rickety table. The letter opener twirls around, reflecting the stained glass window, illuminated by moonlight. Memorized by the twirl, questions if it’s right for him to own this expensive, silver-plated letter opener.

In a life full of rituals, none is more scared to him than pressing the silver against the back of an envelop and slicing the flap open and seeing the letter tucked inside. To him like the moment you see a loved one right before catching up over tea.

When it stops, it points to a stack of thick, rough paper. He grabs a sheet and an ink-dipped pen and writes one of his town’s people.

Dear Carol, [...] All we need is God. Arturo, deacon at your service.

After he slides it into an envelope, he twirls the letter opener, the stained glass flickers off its handle and point. When it stops, he writes again.

Dear Roberta, [...] Time away from loved ones brings us closer to the almighty God. Arturo, deacon at your service.

He spins it again, light flickers again, and he writes again.

Dear Felipe, [...] We must give God everything, even what we love most. Arturo, deacon at your service.

His eyes dagger to the letter opener. He grabs the handle and is about to spike it into the table when candle light catches his eye. He drops it, stands, and kneels in front of a shrine of candles and crosses. His eyes close, he prays, “God, I know I best give up the letter opener. I am a man of the church, a man who needs nothing but you. Yet when I open a letter I’m happiest. The crack of the envelope. The flap opening for the first time since it was sealed with a kiss. I won’t give that up! I don’t... I don’t... I don’t only want you god!”

Something slid by his door. What was that? His heart beats. He cautiously says Amen. By the door, sits an envelope, two postage stamps.

Climbing up from his knees, he steps over. It reads, “To Arturo. From God.”

With his finger tip he tries to open it, gets a paper cut. He digs his fingernail under the flap before another sharp pain. Blood surfaces on his knuckle. He walks to the letter opener and presses the silver against the back of the envelop -- a message from God. The letter opener slices through like falling with gravity. The flap pops open.

A letter is tucked inside. He smiles.