My dearest Ellen, I only have a few minutes to write to you, but I wanted you to know that I’m okay. I can’t believe that I’m so far away from you and our baby that is growing inside you. Don’t be worrying about me, I have made a few friends and we will look out for each other. I do miss you, my dear, but I’ll be home soon. This battle can’t last forever. I love you darling and I’ll see you soon.
Ellen folded the letter and wiped at the stream that had made it’s way down her cheeks. “Hey Carolyn. I didn’t hear you come in.”
“When you didn’t answer, I used my key to let myself in. What are you doing up here?”
She looked around and saw that she was surrounded by yellowed envelopes and wadded tissues. “Just remembering, it’s been a while since I’ve looked at these letters from your daddy. Today would’ve been his birthday.”
“You still miss him, mom? I always thought you were so happy with Harvey.”
“Oh, I was dear. He was a fine husband and I loved him. Don’t ever think that I didn’t. But your dad and I, we had something special.”
Carolyn cleared a spot among the envelopes and settled herself beside her mom. “Tell me about him again. I wished that I could have met him.”
“Let me see, it’s here somewhere.” Ellen sat up on her knees peering over into the plastic container that she had stored the letters in. Digging through the stacks of memories, she saw the wood box on the bottom that held his first letter to her, “Here it is. This is the letter that I found on his pillow the day after we found out that I was pregnant. Your dad had left early for work and he didn’t wake me. I’ll let you read it.”
Carefully opening the letter, she read “My dearest Ellen. I’m sorry that I didn’t wake you this morning. You were sleeping so peacefully. You looked like an angel laying there. My angel. I can’t believe that we will be parents. I am so happy. I know that you will make a wonderful mama. I hope that we have a baby girl and that she looks exactly like you. The world could only be the more blessed with another Ellen-beauty. I have to go to work now. I just want you to know that I love you, and that I feel like the luckiest man alive. Take it easy today, your body needs lots of rest while it’s busy making room for a baby. Love, Art” Carolyn sat quietly for a long time. “Can I read another one?”
“Sure. There’s one here, oh, what did I do with that one?” She looked through the letters scattered over the floor and picked up one that was lodged under her leg. “This is it. Read this one.”
“My dearest Ellen, It’s almost time for our beauty to be born. I wish I could be there. We keep hearing that it won’t be much longer. Just know that I’m there in heart. I do hope you’re doing well, my love. If I don’t make it home in time, will you kiss that baby for me? I do love it, even though I’ve not rubbed your belly or felt the tiny kicks. I’ve dreamt of us being together as a family. In my dreams the baby is always a girl and she looks like you and she has brown ringlet curls all over her beautiful head. I hold her on my lap and tell her that I love her and she looks up at me with the biggest brown eyes and just giggles. I pray every night for that dream; to be able to see it again, and to be able to live it. I do miss you so, darling. Sometimes a breeze passes me by and I smell your perfume. I know that it isn’t real, but I thank God every day for those little reminders that keep my going. I must go now, my love. I love you Ellen Thompson and don’t you ever forget it. I’ll be home soon. Take care of yourself and that baby. Love, Art.” Carolyn wiped at her face with one hand and held the letter to her heart with the other. “Mom, why haven’t you shared these with me before?”
“I always planned to let you read them when you got old enough. Then, you were so close to Harvey, I didn’t want to do anything that would hurt your relationship with him. I guess I was a little greedy, too. These letters are all I have left of your daddy. I’m sorry, honey.” Ellen rose and dusted the back of her faded jeans. “I’m gonna leave you alone now. Take all the time you need.” She kissed the top of Carolyn’s head and turned to walk away, but stopped at the door. She turned with tears in her eyes. “Carrie, you know, you’re a lot like your daddy. You’re kind, loving, and smart just like he was. Sometimes I see that same twinkle in your eyes as I used to see in his. I love you, my beauty.”
“I love you too, mom.” Carolyn watched her mom leave and then looked again at the aging envelopes surrounding her. With a twinkle in her eye, she picked up an envelope, "I’ve got some reading to do."