Letters and Diary Fiction posted August 30, 2012


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An old letter arrives.

The Lost Letter

by sandramitchell

The Letter.

It was just off centre of the 'Welcome' mat, underneath the letter box. Martha picked the letter up and stared at the hand writing. It was difficult to see, with the many stains over the envelope. Coffee? Beer? Or was it just dirt mixed with rain? Martha turned it over, no return address, she took it into the kitchen and put it on the table beside her half eaten piece of toast and went to freshen her coffee from the pot still noisily perking away on the stove.

"Mum! Where are my clean football shorts?" Roger yelled down from his bedroom. Then she heard the normal banging of the wardrobe door as he slammed it shut, and another bang as the bedroom door slammed followed by his thumping down the stairs to burst into the kitchen.

"I told you I needed them today," he whined. "Where are they?"

Martha calmly looked at her son, shaking her head.

"You wear your shorts out when you come home from school to go and play football down on the village green. You come back home at eight o'clock and then have the nerve to tell me you want them clean for today! You, young man, have some serious lessons to learn, one, I am not here to be at your beck and call twenty four hours of the day and night. You got them dirty last night, you will have to wear them dirty today, and perhaps that will teach you a lesson!"

Roger just stared at her, as if she had turned into a stranger. His mouth opened ~ then closed.

"But, I will get into trouble..." His face paled. "I can't go to school then," he declared defiantly.

Martha looked at her son; he stood there with the same look on his face that his father put on when he had been caught in the wrong. Turning her head to hide the laughter in her eyes, she stood up and went over to her ironing basket and took out the freshly washed offending shorts.

"Now I am warning you," she frowned, "this is the very last time I will do this for you. You have other shorts to wear, but you just have to wear these. Next time you will know what to expect. Now go and get ready, the school bus will be here in five minutes."

After Roger had left for school, Martha returned to the table and taking a sip of her, now, cold coffee, picked up the letter again. Reaching for her reading glasses she looked at the name and address, it had been forwarded several times. Now, looking closer, she saw it was addressed to her mother. A shudder passed through her. Her mother had died four years ago, cancer, that horrible disease had taken her after a long and very brave fight.

Martha was transported back to her childhood; her mother was her only parent, she never knew her father, but her mother had often talked about him, telling her how brave he was going off to war. The Second World War, so many brave soldiers, husbands, fathers, sons, never came home.

Martha's mother had lived for her daughter and brought her up telling the most wonderful stories of her father. She remembered being jealous of her friends who all had fathers. Why couldn't her father have come home, why had her mother had to live on dreams?

She put the letter down again. She wanted to open it. Who could have sent her mother a letter after all this time? She picked it up again, wanting now desperately to open it, but would that be intrusive? Spying? What if it was something she didn't want to know about her mother? Martha immediately felt ashamed; there was nothing secretive about her mother, if anything she was an open book. Kind, helpful, everything a child could want in a parent. A wonderful grandmother...Martha's eyes misted over, how she missed her.

She remembered a story her mother had told her, not long before she died. She and her father had been out, strolling along the strand. It was a full moon that night and the light shone on the water, making it sparkle. Her father had pulled her mother into his arms and promised her whatever happened he would write, didn't matter where he was, he would make sure a letter would get to her.
She remembered the catch in her mother's voice, and Martha had asked if she had received letters from him, sadly, her mother shook her head.

Damn this letter!

Martha was now crying freely. She stood up and reached for the kitchen roll, blowing her nose, and then tearing off another to wipe her face.

Angrily, she went to throw the letter into the rubbish bin, but then a strange thing happened. She felt a hand on her shoulder, startled, she turned, but there was no one there.

Her hand hovered over the open bin, and slowly she withdrew it. She walked back to the table and sat down, staring at the letter for a long time.

She picked up her butter knife, and wiping it on the kitchen roll, she slid it into the letter and slowly sliced it open.

My dearest darling,

I am writing as I promised you I would. I miss you and our little Martha with such an ache in my heart, only the thought of seeing you both again, keeps me going. It is terrible here, there seems to be no let-up in the fighting, but we will never give in. We all want a better future for our children and their children, so we must fight on. Remember always, no matter what, I will love you only until the end of time and beyond. Give my beautiful little girl a big hug from her daddy, and remember to tell her all the time how much I love her too.

Your very lonely and loving husband,

Charles.


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This is only my second short story and have loads to learn. I readily take on board all help offered! I thank Skyangel02 on Fanart for this lovely picture!
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