Letters to Marcel


We, Seymour and I, have decided to leave. It wasn’t an easy decision because:

a)      it’s not in our nature to leave someone behind and,

b)      us both, we love you.

But we never really had enough to make it up here. The frigid air was too taut, the sun didn’t shine bright enough and the water lacked the hint of chlorine. However, we did enjoy the brief sojourn. Why else would we have stayed?

We could’ve left in two ways: with you or without you. We preferred the latter because we couldn’t afford to keep you, Marcel. In our free time, we photographed and studied your entrails. And we have discovered patterns that we want you to break from. Unfortunately, we, too, are a part of that pattern. And the Farsi king advised us against discussing this with you. Apparently, it’s for you to discover and decide if you want these things to form you. “That’s part of the reason why we are here”, he preaches. Whatever you decide to do, don’t spare the life of those who brought you up this way. But be respectful and witness the fall of what you wreck.

When I decided to leave, Seymour did not take it well. He approached me wanting to ask why, but then scurried off without a word. And later that day, I found him burrowed in the corner of his room, staring at the ceiling and listening to Galaxie 500.

Until his escape last year, Seymour lived life as a pet gerbil. So it’s no wonder he still clings onto his pet ways: yielding to feelings, looking for directions, assuming things will come to him and yearning for a rat wheel the moment things get a little out of hand. He didn’t contribute much to the group, but I do agree with you. Without him, you and I could never have clicked. Us two, we were elegant gondolas and Seymour a hopelessly bare, but indispensable, mooring.

Time is our biggest enemy and it is patient. If we do not recognize you when we see you next, then please find it in you to forgive us for our fickle memory. Thanks for teaching us how to make rocking-chairs out of plastic cutlery. We have learnt so from you. We really like you and will miss you. We will think of you when the moon is full. Seymour has a picture of you in that purse you made for him out of tea-leaves and wine corks. We will look at it often.

Your truly,
!oopus BumbaHo.

p.s enclosed, you will find another letter. Although I wrote it, it is Seymour’s. Oh, if only he was literate.


Dear Marcel,

I miss you already. I miss you still.

I love you so I am worried about you. Please take care of yourself; always undo your hair before going to bed; if you have an issue with someone, go and talk to them; try not to fall asleep in the theater; cultivate virtues that are useful to all; don’t be careless with relationships; smoke a little but not a lot; always carry a snack or two, in your purse; and do not over work yourself.

I left a ball of lint, sow a blanket out of it. Your uneven pillow is conducive of headaches and neck strain. We managed to find a white bean. It is stowed under your bed. Use it as a pillow. Stay warm and sleep well. I purloined Leroy Brown’s whiskers for you to use as shoelaces. Whiskers are durable and stylish.

We have taken all of our belongings and some of yours too. Like that quarter picture we took in the photo booth.  Technically, they are not just yours, they are ours: yours, mine and !oopy’s. He didn’t want to add to the baggage, but I got all human on him so he let me have it. Do you remember that time when you and I stumbled into a puddle of spirit and got so disoriented that !oopy had to come to the rescue? Well he was complaining then but he mentions that was his fondest memory of us.

It’s common among gerbils to discuss the affairs of others. Your friends do it too. I’ve caught them in the act. But we’ll always be on your side. We won’t listen to others and will stand up for what we’ve known of you. We will rationalize your ruthlessness. We will defend you, even if you don’t know it, even if you don’t need it; even if we don’t remember you, we will defend you.

A part of you has settled in me forever. I am leaving you but only after having taken from you. I will claim you even when you have nothing left to offer, like back when we were partners.

Love always,


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