A Letter to Layla, My Paper Shredder

By: Daniel Cox

Dearest Layla,

When I laid my eyes on you for the first time, as I crumpled and cast aside the slick and cheery Christmas wrapping paper, I doubted your significance. After all, you weren’t in my list of Christmas desires. Little did I know my list of Christmas desires would soon be in you.

I remember unsealing your box and gently parting your beautifully corrugated flaps. You didn’t make it easy, with the glue lines, packing tape, and industrial-sized staples, but I respected that deeply. I beheld your stark, matte nakedness and inhaled as if startled, so suddenly was the fullness of your utility, your power, thrust into my consciousness. Forgive me for such a vivid painting of our meeting, but I recall the precious memory of it in slow motion now, because I relish it so. Still, in those early hours, my plans for you and our relationship were mostly functional. How little I knew.

We’ve had so much fun together, Layla. Remember our courtship? I just couldn’t stop using you when we first got acquainted. Again, I can’t find the words — I am smitten, yes, fascinated, intoxicated, addicted, but these words seem so inadequate. Something so alluring, so strong, so satisfying, you, my feelings for you, this mesmerizing infatuation. I have given you everything, my old file contents, paid bills, mail, new file contents, unpaid bills, drafts of my work, current magazines, my comic book and baseball card collections, the family photos, even that twenty I found in my wife’s purse. I wanted to share it all with you, Layla. I did share it all with you, Layla.

Your only flaw is that you tire sometimes, only physically, I know, and not emotionally. So I let you rest, tenderly disconnecting power (for three minutes, per your manual, which I have since fed to you along with the instructions to everything else I own). And I suppose I get annoyed when you jam up, requiring that I pick things out of your cute little teeth (which is rather unflattering for both of us). But then I realize I want to care for you in this way. I want you to need me. I want to know what’s inside of you. Of course, your sharp, rotating jaws remind me to temper my passion when my fingers stray to the buttons on my clothing and I grow feverish for your sensual touch.

I have a surprise for you, Layla. Bet you thought I forgot what you told
me the other night in my dreams. No, I didn’t forget. Not for a second. And
you’re absolutely right. You’re twice the woman she is, and you’re not even
a woman. Hope you saved room for dessert, Layla darling, ’cause I have the
marriage certificate right here.

My love always,

Your Danny