In response to Writing 101 prompt Brevity
Today’s Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path.
You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.
Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.
Anna was cleaning the attic when she found it. They bought the house a few months before but there still was a lot of work. Whoever it belonged to, was a bit of a hoarder. It sat in a box holding various items, a small silver ring, some old photos and then that one page. It made her cry, which prompted her to act. Someone awaited this message for a long time and she was determined to make it happen.
She had no idea how long ago the letter was written. Obviously before the Internet, but further than that, she didn’t know. She asked the real estate agent information about the house: the names of the previous owners. The house had staid in the same family for generations until 2008. The family lost everything. They had to sell. Anna hadn’t known.
The first thing she did was try to meet them. It wasn’t an easy feat. They had no desire to meet the owner of their family home. Eventually, the oldest daughter, Lisa, relented. Anna promised to take care of the house with the same love they would have, offered them to visit. The woman cried but declined. It would be too painful.
Still she told her about her parents: Steven Parrish was the youngest but after his father’s death, his sisters didn’t want the house. Her mother Felicia Parrish had grown up in the same town; she was a few years younger than Steven. When Anna asked if they knew of an Abigail, Lisa had no clue.
Anna searched at the Land Registry and found an Abigail Garreth. She had a sister named Alice Mitchum. Since she still lived here, Anna visited her. Alice was a lovely lady in her sixties. Her sister’s name was indeed Abigail. She and Steven dated for years. But Abigail was gone two years so Steven moved on, started seeing Felicia and they got married a few months before Abigail’s return.
“Lydia would tell you more but she’s in London. She spent a lot of time with Abby during the last few months of her life.”
Apparently Abigail, like Steven, died of cancer the year before.
“Maybe you should get this then. I found it in the house we bought.”
Alice took reading glasses and, as many older people did, she read out loud.
“My dear Abigail,
Who knows when you’ll read that letter? Will you ever? Even if I decide to send it, would you open it?
You’re so far away in Japan. I’m sorry I didn’t wait. I love Felicia, I love Mike and Lisa but I miss you. I miss our story. I chose to move on, but it was too early. Your sister said you’re married now. I know you’re happy. You always were. You always took control of your life. I’m sure you’ve never looked back. Or maybe you did, with a kind thought but set your sight on the future.
Maybe I won’t send this letter after all. I should do as you always have, set my sight on the future, on what I have now. My kids: the ones I have and the one on its way.
But I’ll always treasure what we had, I’ll keep it in my heart but give my love to the ones around me. I’ll always love the memory of you though.
Alice’s eyes were filled with sorrow and understanding, whereas Anna struggled not to sob. It spoke to her this letter. They’d moved to erase the loss of their child. But she could decide to love the memory of her stillborn little boy and give her love to her husband and the children they would have. She was indebted to Steven and Abigail. Alice looked at her.
“You should keep it. Abigail is gone. She loved Steven but she let him go. This letter means more to you than it ever will to me.”
“What about your granddaughter or Abigail’s grandchildren?”
“Lydia is like Abigail. She looks ahead. She’s moved to London. She met a guy. I speak with her on Skype every other day. Abby’s family moved back to Japan after she passed. They won’t come back.”
It’s also the second part of Day 4 assignment Serially Lost.