Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Letter (A Short Story)

It was raining hard that day when I heard a knock on the door. I was waiting for Martha, our housekeeper to open it. Since the knocking on the door went on, I assumed she was indisposed, so I went down to open it myself. It was the mailman. He handed me a yellowish letter that had the name of my grandmother on it.  I looked at the mailman kind of confused but he only responded to me with a shrug as if he understood what I was about to ask him. I closed the door and went up to my room. While inside my room, I tried flipping over the letter trying to find a clue as to where it was from and who sent it. I only saw on the upper right part of the envelope on the left side of the stamp, a date.

 “Oh, it was mailed in 1984.” I said to myself, but as to who sent it, none at all.

Although still intrigued about the letter, I put it on my drawer just beside my bed and proceeded with my reading.

Then I heard the honking of my dad’s car. It was only then that I realized that it was already passed 6 pm. I was so engrossed with the book that I was reading that I was not aware anymore what time it was. So I jumped out of bed and went down to meet my parents. I went to my mom first. I kissed her and told her that I received a mysterious letter.

 “Mysterious?” she said in a rather exaggerated way. 

I told her who was it for, how old it looked, and the absence of a return address. My mom who by then was already beginning to wonder told me that she would look at it after dinner.

“Okey,” I said then went to my father.  

After dinner, my mother and I went to my room. I handed to her the letter. Just like what I did she flipped it over.

“What do you think, Mom?” I asked her.

My mom opened it without responding to my question and started to read the letter. I leaned over to read it myself but she pushed me lightly away.  

“Not for your eyes dear,” she said. I sat there by her side and waited quietly. It was her sigh that made me look at her. She was in tears!

“Mom, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”  I asked bewidlered.

  “It was from your grandfather”, she said. Had this been received by your Granny earlier, (referring to my grandmother), she would have died happier.”

I never saw my grandfather. I only heard vague stories about him. Whenever anyone asked of him, my granny and mother would be quick to change the topic. I must have outgrown my grandfather’s absence that I never cared to ask about him at all.   For the first time in my 15 years, I heard a story about my grandfather.

My mom narrated how her parents used to quarrel when she was young, and how bad she felt after.

 “I was your age when we left your grandfather. That was the last time I saw my dad,” she said in between sobs.

I couldn’t help but cry too because I felt the pain that granny and my mom felt during those trying times in their life.

“Where would grandfather be Mom?” 

“I have no idea,” she replied to me.  “This letter was written 14 years ago. “

I took the letter from her hand and this time she relented. As I read, I felt the anguish of my grandfather over not seeing them. He asked forgiveness from my grandmother and promised to never hurt her anymore. He also wrote how much he loved granny and how much he missed my mom. Then the post script:  

Tricia, my dear, I did not write my return address on the envelope because I fear that you might not read it if you’d know that it was from me. So, I am writing it here instead: 123, Jackson Street, San Juan, Metro Manila.

If I receive a reply from you, I will take it as sign that you have forgiven me and you will take me back.

I received the letter just a week ago and Granny passed away two  years ago.

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