The Typewriter Prayer

by Bella B

I am writing you a letter on a broken typewriter. The keys stick, and there is no paper, and the ribbon is gone, but the letter is there. It makes a loud noise in the quiet of the night and sometimes I am frightened that it will wake someone up, someone in one of the flats above, maybe? But I keep typing into the nothing, hitting the broken letters clack-clack-clack against the dusty black back band of the machine, the dot-dot-dot dash-dash-dash dot-dot-dot of my fingers on the letters (almost in time with my uneven breath), hearing the end-of-line bell ring sweet and silver, shift for capitals and punctuation, cedillas, percentages, ampersands, exclamations, the old interrogation mark with the swirl at the tip. Like an SOS from a sinking ship, like calling to aliens, like a baby playing at hide and seek - if I can’t see you, you can’t see me - some ancient logic says that if I don’t see it, you will - but only you - this invisible message in an invisible bottle washes up only on your shore - if the neighbours hear then you might not - I start to ramble - my sense is gone without you - though suddenly the thought strikes me this is almost like a prayer. Dear God - Dear You - hello - hello - if you’re out there - where you’re out there - do you hear me? - do you see me? - I miss you - Amen.


Bella B hails from England and writes from the UAE.