I flopped on the bed and stared at the short posts that rose from their bedframe. They weren't tall enough to make a canopy bed, but each post had a wooden ball on top that could be taken out. I had been expressly forbidden from doing that, but I usually did it anyway.
Their bedspread was a patchwork of browns and creams. Little flowers dotted each patch. I played a game where my fingers walked from patch to patch, trying to follow a certain pattern through the patches. It was a frustrating exercise, because my mind had set a pattern that was impossible to achieve without cheating.
Sarah and I were talking about Baby-Sitters Club Books. They were our big passion that year, and we had exchanged a stack of each other's books the week before. Somehow Sarah transitioned that into a conversation about chain letters. It could have been about the BSC Chain Letter book (which I saw in a store later that summer), but I clearly remember her mentioning a dollar in each letter, which sounds more like a traditional chain letter scam when I think about that conversation as an adult.
(Did anyone actually make money off of those things?)
To be honest, I wasn't fully paying attention to her. I got distracted looking out the sliding glass doors across the room. They opened up into a courtyard outside, but I never saw them opened while my grandparents owned the house. The courtyard was sadly neglected and overgrown. Trees that probably should have been bushes, were heavy with dark red berries. The sidewalk was covered in red patches where berries had been stepped into the cement by uncaring shoes.
That day, it was a bird in the courtyard who drew my attention. She was hopping along the path, seemingly avoiding the berry splotches in her own version of my complicated patch-walking game. She went back and forth across the length of the sidewalk twice, before the sharp whistle of a larger bird called her away.
I never saw the berry-splotch-hopping bird again, and I never did find out what was happening with Sarah and the chain letters. I certainly don't remember getting one in the mail from her. Or from anyone else, for that matter (my mom received one from someone she didn't know once, it was weird). Hopefully Sarah wasn't part of some far-reaching chain letter scam, although "Sara And The Chain Letters" does sound like a potential title for a Baby-Sitters Club Mystery book.
In the fullness of my life, it was a very small and unimportant conversation, but that moment sits in a drawer in my mind, frozen in time like a perfect snapshot, ready to be pulled out anytime someone mentions chain letters.
Did you ever receive or send a chain letter?
NaBloPoMo y'all. I'm posting every day, are you?