That Ship Has Sailed
The tell-tale sound of mail falling on the door mat prompted me to leave the sanctuary of my room; home alone I was indulging in some rather energetic air guitar. Anticipating the arrival of a new CD I leapt down the stairs. There were several letters vying for my attention, but no CD. Still singing along at the top of my voice I knelt to gather them and then headed in the direction of the kitchen. Before sifting through the post to see if anything was for me I put the kettle on and raided the biscuit barrel.
It looked like any other letter to the untrained eye, but nestled among the bills, circulars and postcard was an object of terror. I recognised the handwriting -my heart began to thud in my chest and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I sighed with relief when I realised that the letter not only had a postmark, it had also been originally sent to our old address before being forwarded here by a less familiar hand.
Settling myself on the sofa I put the letter on the coffee table and stared at it. His handwriting was round and flowed across the paper in such a way that it looked friendly. Those curls and flourishes were as sharp and pointed as pins and they scratched at a scar that had finally started to heal after two years. I was determined to keep from damaging my newly formed skin; we were all still so vulnerable, navigating our transition.
The letter was addressed to my Mum and I contemplated whether I should open it myself or wait for her to get home and be there when she opened it. Eventually I decided that if I opened it now I might be able to spare her any unnecessary pain and besides, I was not convinced that I could fully trust her to remain level headed. I carefully opened the envelope as if expecting something threatening to fall from it.
Inside was one sheet of writing paper-a two page letter. True to form he had used all of his old tricks; I am sorry, I miss you, I can’t live without you, I am ill, I am dying…please take me back. Immediately I knew that she must never see this letter. Never know that it had ever existed. I wanted to protect her and, if I am honest, I wanted to protect myself and I did not think that she was recovered enough to do that for me.
That night I made my excuses and left the house heading directly to the local playing field; in my pocket the letter and a lighter. In the dark I stood and watched the letter burn, its heat cauterising my scars. His words had done nothing more than send a warning and for their familiarity I would remain forever grateful.