The challenge from Romantic Friday Writers is LETTERS.
Why not visit to see what others have written?
As Miriam heard the flap of the letter box clatter old memories were awakened as so often these days. She recalled how her heart leapt into her mouth and she had to caution herself against disappointment. Many mornings the mail brought only bills and appointments for her parents who sighed and clucked and shook their heads over them. On the days when an envelope for her dropped onto the door mat she smiled before even opening it. Some days a bundle of letters arrived and she had to put them in date order before opening them.
Every time she slit the envelope she imagined she could catch the writer’s scent. She read the letter quickly, savouring the dearly-loved handwriting and ran her fingers across the black ink before reading it again, more slowly. Every pen stroke was precious, proof of William’s love for her.
It has been so long since I held you in my arms and kissed your lovely face. I miss you more and more with each passing day and cannot wait to be with you once again.
A few of us went out on the town last night. It’s not much of a town and there wasn’t much to see but it was good to be on terra firma. Getting one’s sea legs is one thing, regaining one’s land legs quite another. I smile when I remember how you laughed at my rolling gait the last time I was home on leave.
I wish I could tell you more of my daily life
but you know that is not possible. One day . . .! Maybe that day will come soon – I’m sure we all hope so.
Until then, be patient my darling and know
that I love you with all my heart. I long for the day when we can be together forever, you, me and our children, I hope. Am I presuming too much? You do want children, don’t you? I know you do – didn’t we decide on five? They will be the most beautiful ever seen, I know. I will never do anything to hurt you, my dearest one, my angle. Keep safe, sweet one. I shall.
Yours always and for ever
x x x
Miriam giggled a little at William’s spelling of ‘angel’ but loved him all the more for not being absolutely perfect. She brought the paper to her nose and sniffed it. William’s hands had been the last to touch it – well, she knew that wasn’t strictly true; all mail had to be censored but she thought the people who did that must recognise love letters and skim them quickly, almost without touching them.
She must write back immediately. William had told her so often how important her letters were and how they brought a little normality into his life. ‘All the chaps feel the same,’ he had said when they parted after his last leave. She had promised then that she would write every single day. Sometimes it was hard to think what to write. Her life was very ordinary, her days spent reading or sewing, sometimes gardening or studying a new piece of piano music. On the most trying days she enclosed a pressed flower and told William something about it.
She sat at her writing desk, looking out over the garden, one finger gently touching her lips and remembering William’s ardent kisses. She picked up her pen and unscrewed the cap.
My Dearest William,
It gave me such joy to receive your letter this morning. It makes the sun shine brighter, the birds sing more sweetly, the air feel fresher. Such nonsense, I know, my darling, but truly your letters lift my spirit in a way nothing else can, apart from your presence, naturally.
Of course I understand the secrecy
that must necessarily surround all of you – I would not have it otherwise and no-one I know thinks any differently. I’m sorry the town wasn’t up to much, though part of me feels quite glad, I should not like to think of you being tempted by glamorous ladies in smart clubs. No, don’t worry, my love – I know your heart belongs to me. Have you not told me so often enough? And are you not a respectable married man? Yes, I do want children – the more the merrier, I think, but five will do to start with.
Keep safe, my darling. I love you
and I always will.
x x x
Miriam bent to pick up the mail, groaning a little - her back felt worse this morning after a restless night. She sifted through the pile, sighing and clucking and shaking her head at the proliferation of buff envelopes. She tossed them onto the hall table – they would keep until later. For now she would take her tea onto the patio and sit in the morning sunshine and listen to the birds.
It had been just such a morning when William’s last letters were delivered but she had delayed opening them. It had been a shock, receiving them from beyond the grave as it were, for the telegram informing her of William’s death had arrived just the day before.
Miriam gazed at her wrinkled hands and felt afresh the emptiness in her heart, less agonising now, more of a dull ache. There had been no children, no little part of her beloved husband to cherish. At least she still had his letters and that was as much as she had known of him those long months he had spent at sea. She had, too, the letters she had written him. They had been returned unopened and that was how they had remained for she needed no reminders of the optimism and love she had felt.
She sighed and got up. ‘Life must go on,’ she chided herself, but some days she wondered why.