Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Letter

She was frazzled.  An insane day of work had sent her thoughts spiraling into an increasingly chaotic pattern of tasks, questions and an ever-growing list of to-dos.  On the way home she’d tried to sort through the mess but she was too fried to think straight.  And sitting in her car while the construction workers did their best interpretation of mimes stuck in a box had added stress and anger to an already volatile mix of emotions.  By the time she stopped at the mailbox she was ready to blow.

Then she saw the letter.  Mixed in with the bills and circulars as if it were just another useless and unimportant piece of paper.  But the return address let her know exactly who it was from.  She froze, the thing sitting in her hand, pretending to be unimportant.  Normal.  She hated it for looking so unoffending.

She threw it and the rest of the pile into her bag and drove the rest of the way around the block.

She tried to focus on the to-do list: walk the dog, defrost the chicken, get the trash ready for the curb.  She prayed that the tiny details that kept her inextricably enmeshed in her life would ground her, keep her safe.  But her thoughts kept wandering back to the letter.  And her ability to function was declining faster than a penny dropped from a lookout.

The broccoli was mush before she’d even gotten the chicken into the oven.  The dog was wandering around with his leash dragging behind him.  The trash got taken out of the trash can and sat, still open, stinking up the kitchen.  And the front door was unlocked.

“This is stupid,” she chided herself.  Pretending that every single thought wasn’t focused on the letter would end with the house burned down.  “Just open it,” she said aloud.  “Just open it and deal with it.”

Hand trembling, she reached for the missive.  Sweat trickled under her bra and down her ribcage.  Her feet felt as if they’d left the ground.  And her head seemed very much like it might be on fire.  Was this what a heart attack felt like?

“Just open it!” she yelled at herself.  Her pathetic, weak, simple-minded self.  She pushed a damp finger under the fold and tore, nearly pulling the thing out of her hand with the ferocity of the movement.  Then she took a deep breath, unfolded the letter, and read.

11 comments:

  1. Oh my! What on earth is written in that letter!

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    1. Who Knows? THE SHADOW KNOWS! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

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  2. This sounded really intense.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for introducing yourself, Gina! I'll stop by to do the same.

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  3. You are such a tease, Beverly! So... what did the letter say! Eeek--I have to wait until tomorrow! You meanie! LOL

    Awesome use of suspense and voice. Loved it.

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    1. Thanks, Joylene! I have to warn you, though- you're not gonna like tomorrow.

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  4. Loved that! Well done, Beverly. New follower :)

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    1. Thank you so much for introducing yourself, Wendy! Glad you liked it!

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  5. What happens now? What was in the letter?

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  6. And what did the letter say? What a cliffhanger. :)

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  7. Excellent story. Love how you show how important the letter is (at least to her) without even hinting what it's about. Great job!

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Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!