The Day the Annual Appeal Died – Part 1

ranbootsIt’s only a small crime, she considered, as the rain beat each letter into the cold clay of the playground. Was it rain, or the torrent of tears that created the soggy, malleable pile? She couldn’t tell. Months of abuse took it’s toll. Not a hardcore Lifetime movie abuse–that would be too easy to spot. She was a warrior troubled by methodical, intellectual abuse. The perp? A superior by rank, entitled by birth, deeper in pocket-book, admired by the Board and able to slowly devalue her contributions, her value over just a few months.

If she acted quickly… if she saved each pearly white envelope with a first class stamp from it’s murky fate, this day would have been different. She didn’t. She waited and watched each and every letter slip deeper into the dark, muddy abyss. Just three hours earlier, 20 school children played make-believe, pushing sticks and rocks into this new grave. It was ready for bodies.

She wanted the appeal to die. She wanted each and every match-mail letter, envelope, reply card and handwritten note, to feel the pain of her creation. A life she spent six weeks creating, gestating, birthing, only to have it corrupted daily by the aforementioned perp. Each word was obsessively perverted until its meaning no longer resembled it’s original intent. There was no longer a direct ‘ask.’ The intent was softened and generalized until it resembled her superior’s lack of interest in the tough work that needed a leader. A leader that wasn’t afraid to raise more money, turn hearts, inspire the masses… change the state of things. She wanted the control she was never given. She wanted those letters to reflect her voice, her words. 20 years of experience, knowledge and all that was taken away, one…edit…at…a…time.

Of course, she never would have dropped the corrugated plastic tray of envelopes in the freezing rain if the process had been on schedule. The third-generation mom and pop mail house, trusted by nonprofits great and small, would have readily handled everything. But the edits and delays no longer allowed for that option. She was forced to hand stuff all 3,567 envelopes, late at night, tucking away a small part of her soul with every seal for a love that no longer resembled her heart. She wondered if part of her heart would also die in the soupy pile bloodied with dirt.

Slowly, she collected the bastard product of her creativity, brushing the muck off of every letter. “I killed it,” she said. “I sullied every whorey letter.” She didn’t see it as filicide. It was an act of love. She brought her dead children to the post office. She mailed every one.

It was time for redemption.

– Sarah and Jon

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