The letter was still on the mat. The dull brown envelope looked innocuous but its arrival had caused a flutter of apprehension and a fission of excitement for the recipient as well as a serious degree of curiosity for the rest of the family.
There was no dispute about who the letter was for because the neatly
typed name, Miss Milli Ramacharian,
was clearly visible through the envelope's little transparent window.
“Letter for you Milli.” Her younger brother Samuel, shouted when the post arrived on Monday morning.
“Leave it on the mat, I will get it later.”
“Don’t forget that letter,“ Mllie’s mum Saskia urged at regular intervals, but to no avail.
Milli had not forgotten the letter, just seemed to be less bothered than rest of the family as to who had sent it and what it was about, and its unopened presence on the mat like the proverbial elephant in the room, gathered importance with every passing day and the ripples spread far beyond the little terraced house in South London where the Ramicharian family lived.
It appeared to be an official letter of some kind, maybe from a government office or agency, the franking mark was blurred and there were no other clues.
“Have you still NOT opened the letter? “ Milli’s dad Sunil exclaimed as he stepped over the mat on Wednesday evening.
“What do you think DUH!”?” Samuel said sarcastically looking up from the computer, “Of course she has! that’s why it is still sitting there on the mat”
But Samuel, bored in the long summer holidays,was instrumental in making
it a bigger issue that it needed to be. Like many teenagers he loved to tease his older sister and so he created a facebook page ‘When will Millie open the
letter?’ which rapidly gained 100 likes and when he added a live webcam link of the letter on the mat the topic quickly
turned viral receiving 10,000 hits and comments from all over the world.
Saskia use the more old fashioned approaches of chat and telephone but still managed to get the whole extended family and assorted friends and neighbours drawn into the drama.
Opinion varied as to the solution. Aunt Lamia was sure that Milli was lazy and wilful and Saskia should immediately and forcefully open the letter. She even offered to come and help but as she lived from thousands of miles away in Mumbai this was clearly excessive. Others suggested more subtle approaches but as Thursday drew to a close the letter still lay unopened in the same spot that it had dropped four days earlier.
Sunil was the first to wake on Friday and as he descended the stairs noticed the letter was missing but he was in a hurry to catch his train so had no time to investigate further,so it was only when his wife got up an hour later that the final act in the drama began.
“Milli! Milli? Have you opened your letter? What was it all about? Let your mother see!”
There was no reply and as she went upstairs, Milli was nowhere to be seen.
“ Oh my goodness Milli has run away!! Quick!
Call the police!” Saskia screeched in panic running back downstairs again for the phone.
But on the telephone table there was another letter. This one had a lilac envelope and written clearly on the front in the unmistakable neat writing of her beloved daughter was a single word. ‘MUM’
Heart pounding Saskia ripped it open and a single folded sheet of paper fluttered out, she unfolded it shakily,
‘Dear Mum DON’T PANIC! There is no need to call the police!
I have NOT run away!
It is good news!
I've got a place on a summer course with the Royal Shakespeare Youth Theatre. I got an email last week and the letter was just confirmation. Rehearsals start today...
“What’s up mum? What’s happened to Milli?” Sam was standing at the top of the stairs rubbing his eyes sleepily.
Saskia paused before answering. She felt foolish, she had overacted; her daughter was a good girl and this was such an amazing opportunity.
She realised how clever Millie was thinking up a sure way of ensuring all her friends and neighbours would be wanting tickets to the gala performance of the play.
And she had already guessed which particularly Shakespeare drama was going to be performed! She picked up the phone..
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