Have you ever questioned the power of the written word? In a single sentence, Tracy Morgan removes all doubt.
It is always a pleasure when someone new enters what our dearly departed diva, Peggy Dobbs, referred to as “The Playground” (Peggy? Are you up there watching?) It is especially pleasing when the entry is so well written, and so moving. Before you get to her story, here is a reminder that the contest closes the ides of March, and there is still time to enter. You may enter up to three times. Here is the link to the contest, which I do hope all who read this will post on their FB or tweet, reminding folks of the deadline. https://awordwithyoupress.com/2016/02/14/at-last-a-new-contest-love-lost/
And now, please welcome Tracy Morgan with her entry:
by Tracy Morgan
My hands trembled as I stared at the handwriting; it had been twenty four years since I had seen him and nineteen since he died. How this envelope, in his handwriting, came to me after numerous cities, countries, lifetimes was beyond me, but here it was, yellowed and tattered by age. I continued to study the instantly recognizable scrawl.
He was different things to different people; professor, brother, father…father, not daddy. His youngest daughter had been looking for me. I knew he’d written letters to everyone in his life that would be mailed when, if, he ever died, but I also knew I’d never see mine. With all the moves and the bitter ending, I knew he had either burned it or the post office would never find me. Six months after I left I got a picture in the mail, him looking dashing in a tuxedo, written on the back, in that handwriting, “I clean up pretty good. See what you’re missing.” That was it, nothing more, just a quick jab at me for leaving. I didn’t provide a forwarding address when I left that house, cutting all ties to him and everything in my past.
His baby had been determined to find me. Her email said that it was selfish; she knew that I was his last relationship before the cancer took hold. She was clearly looking for answers to the questions in her own mind about the man who became a father for the last time far too late in life to be a daddy. I didn’t think I could help, but then she mentioned the letter. She had kept it in hopes of finding me. We had twelve tumultuous years together and although I was young I knew I needed to break free. The age difference was partly to blame, but when I look back, I was just too much of a romantic. Now, I had to deal with not only my own feelings of regret, if that’s what it was, but be questioned by someone desperate to quell theirs.
She met me at Starbucks and handed me the letter. Her words came flowing out of her like water from a dam that had just burst. Was he as funny as she remembered? Was he a curmudgeon in all things or only because he was her father? Did I ever read his screenplay about the English pilot? The memories flooded my brain. These were things I had put away long ago, now tumbling over into the wash. I did my best to answer her questions and told her I’d have to email her more as I remembered. She left with an assurance that I’d reply to her emails.
I stared at the envelope. These letters were his ‘last word’ to the people in his life, his critique of them, his praise of them, his judgement.
I opened it carefully, unfolded the page and the tears fell.
“YOU were the love of my life.”