Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: The Letter Revisited
By Lillian Jacobs
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I never asked again after that.
Do you remember that one summer in college that I worked graveyard at Dennys. One night an older woman came in with some friends. I was waiting on them and I leaned over to put her food down and I caught a whiff of her perfume. It took my breath away. It was you, your perfume, and I felt like a child again. The feeling was so overwhelming that I had to go to the back and go into the walk-in to catch my breath and my composure. I didn’t want anyone to see the tears in my eyes. I felt like I was there again with you; you holding me and rocking me in your chair at night after I’d had a nightmare. It was dark and safe, a cave of comfort in the quiet den, rocking with you. I was really there again with you. The fleeting moment was broken by the cold and I went back out to work.
I missed you all these years. Missed not having a mother. Don’t even know what that would be like. You were soft and hard at the same time and so far away.
We were shattered weren’t we? Shattered by something invisible and foreboding. Shattered just like the ceramic artwork thrown against the wall by Brooke when she was having one of her bad days. Didn’t you think it was odd, the game I used to make you play, the one where I ran to the bed and would scream until you held my arms down and kissed me? I think I thought about how strange it was one day and so I stopped doing it but what was that all about? Was I trying to tell you something that I couldn’t remember? Acting out a nightmare suppressed? I would have thought it odd if I were you. But you never asked.
You never did know me, did you? I don’t think you cared to because it would have been too complicated. You couldn’t even admit the truth when it was right in your face. I’ll never forget how you lied when that friend of ours asked me in front of you if I had ever drank while underage and you said no while I said yes. That was classic.
Why were you never there for me when I got older? Seems like you stepped out of the picture somewhere along the way. Did you know the neighbor kids abused me? No, you wouldn’t have known that. Did you know I was obsessed with sexual things from an early age? Where would that have come from? No, you wouldn’t have known that either would you. You were conveniently blind, conveniently ignorant, or was that just the times. We were the Cleaver family on the outside weren’t we and you had to keep up the impression. As long as we looked good on the outside, then who cared about the rest? And I was real polished wasn’t I. I knew how to play the part real well.
But it’s okay.
So, I keep reading your letter over and over. Searching for you in it. I can’t see you anymore even though it hasn’t been that long.
But it’s okay now, really.
I’ll be okay.
I do forgive you.
At least I try.
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