Always Close, Never a Cigar

I have asked E to block unexpected rejection letters, as he’s the one who usually gets to the mailbox first. He’ll hide them somewhere in the apartment to bring out at times when my skin is thicker, when I can handle hearing the continuous chorus of No’s a little better.

Early this morning I had a feeling. He was asleep, the rain was pounding—a continuous sheet of it out the window—and I was actually on time for work for once. I had an inkling: There is a rejection letter somewhere in this room. I went to a popular spot on the bookshelf and saw it hidden between two How-To books: that white business-size envelope with my name and address in my own handwriting on the front. The dreaded SASE. One side was opened, as I had asked E to screen them: if good, pass them on. If bad, leave them for later. Obviously, since this one was left for later, it was a bad one.

Part of me wished I hadn’t read it so early in the morning. Or at all.

The Many Faces of No

No to my face is a no.

No in a letter or an email is a no that cannot be taken back. Once a no is in writing, it’s forever a no.

But there is also the silent no. A yes postponed so long you just assume it’s a no. I get these more than any other. And I’m naive, and innocently hopeful. Sometimes I think a no is really a yes and that it’ll all turn around once it’s spoken aloud.

Then I get the letter, or the phone call—the no-calls are the worst—and I’m back at square 1.