Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)
TITLE: Isabel's Letter
By Martha Granderson
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He had come back in two months. The border guard had probably known he would. And here he was, four years later, tanned by the hot sun in the agriculture fields and mellowed by hard work. His hands were rough and calloused from holding the farming tools. His voice had a hard rasp to it after the accident of breathing the pesticide. For days it had not been clear if he would live as he fought to pull his breath past all the allergic reaction and swelling in his throat.
He reached into his shirt and slowly pulled out an envelope postmarked in Mexico. He held it in his hands, staring into the distance. But he saw none of the darkness and tossing trees, no it was bright and hot day in Aguascalientes. The day before he left to come across the wire again, Isabel’s slender form was framed against the window, looking out. “You’ll write me soon, Enrique?” She asked, not turning.
“As soon as I have the money, I’ll write to you.” He had answered. “And send the ring.”
Her soft laugh was musical in his ears. “Don’t forget that.”
He stepped close to her and touched her cheek lightly. “Of course not.”
Now he held her reply in his hand as the wind tumbled a flock of dry leaves past him and made his teeth chatter. He slipped his finger under the tab and loosened it. His letter had been so full of apologies. The housing was mouse infested, the weather was cold, jobs were sometimes few and far between, and the men he worked with were coarse in their ways. What if his description had scared her? He couldn’t bear to look at it. He took a deep breath and tilted the envelope, but only a picture fell into his hand. Isabel’s dark eyes smiled up at him. He turned it over and held it up to read the writing in the light of the moon. One word. “Yes.”
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