|The Chinese character for "good fortune"|
I am not sure I even want to tell you, it's so absurd, such a meaningless coincidence with which to begin or end a tale. But the truth about the first notes is this: a thirteen-year-old girl - the oldest daughter of an older woman on a second marriage and pregnant with twins - wrote it. She'd copied the idea out of a book she read. A prank, but an angry one, a protest. She was being sent to a boarding school, and this was her bitter goodbye. What was the point of more babies? Why, she wondered, did they feel the need to replace her?
The note wasn't wrong. Children do find us out. Sooner or later they realize we are so much weaker, more flawed, and more scared than they ever imagined, even when they were imagining the worst. And they find out because they, too, become weak and flawed and scared, at least the lucky ones do. I suppose it's the best we can hope for. Even weak and flawed and scared, sometimes we do all right.
The girl intended to put a note under every hotel door, but she almost got caught on the very first one. The girl threw the rest of the notes into the hotel dumpster. Some of them are still there, plastered to the bottom. The rest have made it to the landfill. Except for the one that escaped on the wind. Maybe you've seen it?