Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)
TITLE: Written on My Heart
By Lyn Churchyard
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Dear Anna, no, that’s too cold.
My Precious Anna,
I know you’re angry with me right now, but please, let me explain why I did what I did.
She’ll probably throw it away without even reading it—oh God, please help me to say the right thing
Whether you believe it or not, my love for you is the only motivation for my actions.
Lord, I don’t think I can do it.
Please darling, if you’ve read this far, I pray you’ll keep reading.
When I was ten, I went to my friend’s place to play one day. She wasn’t there, but her father was. Oh God, I don’t want to remember this! He started to do things to me that should never happen to a child. I was terrified and when I managed to get away, I ran home and told my mother. Mom why didn’t you protect me? and she said if I told anyone else, I’d get into trouble.
Sweetheart, I reported Gavin to the other church elders because I didn’t want you to go through what I went through. What I’m still going through I had to protect you. Gavin is a church elder, a married man and old enough to be your father. I know you like the Carter family, I do too at least I did before this but picking you from school and taking you to the mall for lunch is not the sort of thing that should be happening. Do I let her know they were seen holding hands?
You’re my precious daughter—my baby, and I love you with every fibre of my being and I would do anything to protect you, even if it makes you hate me. God I feel so helpless, please show her the truth about that evil man
With all my love,
Kate heard the car door slam and then the sound of laughter as Anna and the children ran up the steps to the front door.
“Grandma!” three identical mini tornados threw themselves on her before she had a chance to get up off the lounge.
“Oh my, it is so good to see you all.” Kate laughed as her grandchildren covered her face with kisses.
“Mom, it’s only been two days.” Anna leant over and kissed her mother’s cheek.
“I know, but I just love their exuberance.”
“Okay you three, go play on the swings in the backyard; I need to talk with Grandma.” Anna flopped down on the lounge next to her mother. “And keep out of Grandma’s flower beds.”
The triple tornadoes whirled and giggled their way through the kitchen and out the back door.
Mother and daughter sat in companionable silence; each savouring the peace they knew could be shattered at any moment.
“Mom, do you remember this?” Anna handed her mother an envelope that looked as though it had seen better days.
Kate knew exactly what it was; the heart she had drawn in the top right hand corner was something she would always remember.
Her mother nodded, wondering where this was leading; why after all this time had Anna brought the subject up.
“Yes, I remember.” I remember all too well
“I had a call from Pastor Thomas today.” Anna’s voice trembled. “Gavin Carter has been arrested for molesting three little girls at the school where he’s a counsellor.”
Kate turned to look at her daughter. Her look of horror mirrored the one on her daughter’s face.
“Mom, that could have been me” She threw her arms around her mother and sobbed. “If you hadn’t written me this letter it could have been me!”
You’ve kept it all these years?”
“Oh Mom, I was mad at you when I first read it, but then I realised how much love you put into it. How much pain it must have caused you remembering what happened when you were a child. Ten years ago, no one wrote letters—not handwritten ones, everyone sent emails. But your letter was as if you had given me a little piece of yourself and I will always treasure it.”
The three tornadoes flew in the door again and spoke as one. “Grandma, we wrote you a letter today.”
Kate looked at her daughter.
Anna smiled. “Letter writing is almost a lost art...I wanted to keep it alive.”
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