When you read this letter, a woman will have picked it up, registered the postal code and placed it in the crate to the right. She has done this with many other letters before and since, although over the years they have become fewer. Shortly after, her break began; half an hour in the back room – the amount of time it takes to drink a cup of coffee from that morning’s still simmering coffee pot. She looked out the window, through the tinted film that prevents passersby from peering in. On the other side, a young woman suddenly stopped in her tracks, having caught her own gaze in the window’s reflection. Mid-step, she returned her weight to her rear leg in slow motion, placing her foot back down and turning her upper body towards the window. The woman inside looked at the woman outside and recognised herself in her. The sketched lines of the young woman’s face connected it to her own, the folds of time. When she finished work, she went to the hair salon and asked for a haircut that would make her look ten years younger.
In the early morning hours, a man was awoken by his alarm. He shaved and drank a glass of milk. He drove to the warehouse, loaded the plastic crates into his van. The amount of letters is dwindling by an increasing number of minutes, he noted as he finished loading fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. He decided to take advantage of this inserted pocket of time. The sun was rising as he drove to the bakery, which was located at the end of his route. After consuming a cinnamon roll, a cup of coffee and a cigarette, he completed his route backwards. Hence, this letter arrives at your place earlier than I had expected, but probably too late to make you reconsider.
A man effortlessly retrieves the letter from your post box; it must have been at the top, perhaps on a newspaper, pushed upwards by some sort of vacuum. In his van, he drops it into a plastic crate with other letters. Stop by stop, the box is gradually filled. When the boxes are full, he parks in front of a bakery. He blows into a cigarette, extending it until it has tripled in length and then uses it to light a flame on his lighter. Just a spark. He strolls into the bakery and hands the baker a paper bag with a cinnamon roll and a cup full of coffee. She thanks him and places a few coins on the counter. The sun is about to set when he reaches the warehouse. He unloads the crates and drives home. Exhausted, he sits down on his bed, grabs his phone and with eyes half-shut he finds a sound clip, avant-garde bell ringing which immediately puts him to sleep.
A woman steps into a hair salon. She smiles warmly when the hairdresser pays her her wages up front. Then she takes a seat in a chair. The hairdresser specialises in hair extension with scissors, and each time she makes a cut, a lock of hair rises from the hair depository on the floor and attaches to the woman’s short pageboy. Gradually, the woman’s expression grows more solemn. As a hair model, you take your job home with you. The hairdresser washes her hair and the woman leaves, studying her reflection in every window she passes. But her workday isn’t over yet; a shift at the post office begins. At first, she’s tired, but as time passes her fatigue wears off. She likes this job, because she can draw on her knack for reading people. A strong intuition for which letter to place in which hands.
Sincerely, Signe Boe
The text appeared as a press text for the exhibition When letters were made from fire at Westwerk Hamburg. Translation by Jennifer Russell