Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dear John

"Hello, this is Hannah."

After all these years, the sexy purr of her voice still overwhelmed him. He thought about hanging up. What could he possibly give her except more pain?

"Hi, it’s John." He offered gingerly.

"John? Wow ... John ... " Her voice trailed off, then she caught herself and cheerfully added, "It’s good to hear from you."

He smiled. That was just like her to save him from himself. She had every right to make him squirm for all the crap he'd put her through, but she wouldn't; she'd never let him feel bad if she could help it.

Now and again he'd thought about her. Who wouldn't? She was remarkable. However, lately it was more than just an occasional thought. It seemed like he couldn't think of anything else. Every time he found himself sleeping on the couch or escaping to the neighborhood bar, his mind would wander back to perfect moments wrapped up in her arms, private jokes they’d shared, and the way her face lit up when he walked in the room. As he remembered their time together, he wondered if he’d ever been happier. Why had he let her slip away? No ... why had he pushed her away?

"I’ve been thinking about you."

"How are Dawn and the kids?" she asked deliberately.

"They’re fine ... but listen," he took a deep breath and dared to be brave, brave the way he should have been a dozen years ago. "Hannah, I know it may be hard for you to believe, but I still think about you every day. I’ve never stopped loving you." He wanted to say more but she interrupted.

"So you and Dawn are having problems."

"Well, yes but ..."

She tenderly, but matter of factly began, "You feel miserable. You wonder if your marriage is hopeless and you're tired of the same old bullshit. So, you torture yourself by thinking about what might have been. I bet you're on your cell talking to me from a shopping mall parking lot right now. You’d rather sit in the dark imagining a different life than face the reality of your problems at home."

The conversation wasn’t going the way he'd hoped. He whispered, "That’s about right. How did you know?"

"Just a hunch, I guess."

"I’m sorry, Babe. I just thought ..."

She didn’t let him finish, "Go home and kiss your wife, John. You love her. Maybe you and I will talk again sometime, but no more now."

Three weeks later, a small note card arrived in the mail. The address was handwritten and the paper was scented with sandalwood. His hands shook as he opened it.

Dear John,
Our time with those we love is far too brief.
Don’t waste a second with regret. Strive to be happy instead.
You were the greatest Love of my life, Sweetheart.

The same afternoon, three other men, one in Boston, one in LA, and another in Rochester, Minnesota, received identical notes.

Hannah was buried the following day.
Ovarian cancer.

John realized that she must have been very sick the day he called. He lost control as he whispered aloud, "She'd never let me feel bad if she could help it."


At 8:25 AM, Blogger afuntanilla said...

holy cow! strikingly beautiful. amazing.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Wow! Beautiful story Theresa.

I didn't see that ending coming. And I already had my first cup of coffee.

You are amazing!

At 3:24 PM, Blogger captain corky said...

That was a very touching and great story.

I just showed my wife some of your stuff. It's really good!

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you've got Corky Kirk on here now? But, more importantly, you must have stolen that story from me! It's so good I want to steal it back!

ron southern

At 7:36 PM, Blogger theresa said...

Afuntanilla - Thank you so much! I really had no idea how this story would be received. I woke up this morning thinking I might delete it, but I saw your comment and did a little editing instead.

Dan - The endings to my stories are never planned. I guess I got lucky again. It's kind of like real life ... the best parts are often happy accidents.
Thanks for the sweet words. You're pretty damn amazing yourself!

Capt. Corky - Wow, thank you. Very nice! From what I gather, your wife is quite the hottie-hot-hot-chik!

Ron - Capt. Corky is really cool isn't he?
Thanks for wanting to steal my story, Sweetie. You say the sweetest things!

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Blazngfyre said...

Sad ...

Good on you gorgeous! :)

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Unacknowledged Genius said...

I wish I had your talent. I don't know how you do it but I'm glad you do. I was surprised by the ending too.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Chick said...

Amazing is right!

I strive not to hurt those I love the most...but don't we all? maybe? hopefully?

At 6:43 AM, Blogger captain corky said...

Thanks for the link ;)

At 3:30 PM, Blogger theresa said...

Blaze - It always sucks when the nice one dies at the end, doesn’t it?
Thanks for the sweetness, Sweetness.

UGenius - You have a talent for flattering me. I‘d be a liar if I said I didn’t kinda like it. Thank you.

Chick – Seems like we’d have to be awfully self-sacrificing to never hurt someone we love … and that would mean hurting ourselves (someone we love) … … I guess we just have to try to do the best we can.

Corky - likewise

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Theresa, in response to Chick you said "Seems like we’d have to be awfully self-sacrificing to never hurt someone we love … and that would mean hurting ourselves (someone we love)"

You know, I never really thought about it like that, but you're quite right.

Try our best, as you say, perhaps minimizing the amount of pain caused overall. No hard and fast rules. An art really. We're all artists of life. Gosh I'm starting to sound really corny. I'll stop now. :)

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Steven Novak said...

Great ending.

Great story.

Like alwys.


At 9:49 PM, Blogger JayneSays said...

You brought tears to my eyes with that one, Theresa. Thank you for touching me. You know what I mean ; )

At 2:08 PM, Blogger naive-no-more said...

What the hell was this?? I don't expect to cry when I come here.

Truly this was exceptional. It was so well written that it felt physically heavy.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Jessy said...

i fear that my ex will always be the greatest love of my life. Reading that made me feel so helpless yet so inspired....but that is so great, you write too beautifully

At 3:03 PM, Blogger AndyT13 said...

Gah!!!! Ack!!!! OK, T, you know I love you and your writing but GAH!!!! Oh that awfulness is just way too up close and personal.
Talk about makiung you squirm! Geeezz! QUIT IT!

Awesome as ever.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

I love your glasses!

At 2:08 AM, Blogger Traveling Sistah said...

you have a beautiful way with words.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Angel Without Wings said...

Wow I thought you were in my life for a second there except I could never be as brave or as dignified as she was. Gave me pause for thought though. Beautiful!

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Mr. Shoes said...

amazing is right on


and perhaps too painful -- like a song from five for fighting

i find that those i thought loved me .. or who even claim to, sometimes seem to take less care with me

if they hurt me, fine, b/c i'll still love them

or will i?

keep writing

and i'll be back


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