The Letter

What you have to remember is that I never meant to hurt anyone. It wasn’t my fault that out of all my father’s children, I was the only one to see it. I couldn’t help that no more than I could alter the shape of my nose. Or my fate.

For me, the end began when I found the letter. Oh, I know it there was stuff before then. I mean – the letter had to have been written before he dropped it on the ground on his way to meet that woman.

I now know what he would have felt had he known that that I had found it, and opened it, and read it, and read it again and again – struggling to comprehend how this rift had opened in my life. He would have been enraged. Forget that he had betrayed us all – he would have felt that my eyes scanning those private words were a much worse betrayal.

It was years before I realised this. Years before I would claim my inheritance from him. Years during which I carried the prideful thought that I would never become like him. Innocent years. The ones before the fall.

All that said, my mom and sister knew before I did. When I mentioned that woman’s name, their ears sharpened along with their eyes, and they fixed me in place like a butterfly, suddenly ugly in death. But it was not my death – it was to be that of my family.

Most of the dust has settled and yet I still have that letter. It’s in a box in the attic along with the rest of the paraphernalia and detritus of a childhood that escaped and went to live alone in the dark.

Truth is – I never … Well, maybe it’s better to just shrug and say ‘never mind’, because the truth is that there is no truth in matters of the heart; there is just what is and what is not.

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