Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Unopened Letter - Carry On Tuesday Prompt #18

The Carry On Tuesday Prompt (#18) for September 15, 2009:
“The letter sat before him, unopened, propped against a coffee mug.” – opening lines of Bearing the Body (2007) by Ehud Havazelat. And my untitled response is below -- and it's very hurried and very rough, I'm afraid. But I'm gonna be brave and post it anyway, saving it in my files for a possible work-over in the future.

The letter sat before him,
propped against a coffee mug,
exactly, precisely, where she
had placed it
before he woke.
Staring at the shabby envelope,
he sat, unmoving,
at the kitchen table -
the table they had bought
at a thrift store
after their wedding
eight years before.

They had been too young –
he knew it;
she knew it.
They had ignored them -
those voices of wisdom,
both the warnings of friends
and the muted murmurings within themselves,
too rapt with passion to recognize
their accuracy.

Reaching with a tentative finger,
he nudged the envelope,
his name scrawled in her
peculiar, slanted hand.
But he couldn't open it,
couldn't acknowledge
that she had gone
as she had been long

With a dejected sigh,
he rubbed his hand across
his careworn face –
as if erasing her presence
from his mind,
for now -
and raised himself,
pushing his body upward with palms
braced against the chipped tabletop.
He wandered back to his bedroom
to get ready for work,
leaving her letter

Copyright 2009 Susanne Barrett
This is only a rough draft, written in twenty minutes after very little pondering of the prompt. Life has been extraordinarily busy over the past couple of weeks, and I have two rather complex lessons to compose this afternoon and tonight for my new Brave Writer MLA Class.

I am hoping that Tuesdays will become a "break" day for me as the older two kids meet with Johanna, my longtime friend from college and the kids' high school maths tutor, and J goes to work with Keith, leaving only the youngest home with me. We usually finish his lessons by noon which gives me a quiet afternoon to work on my Class Day and Brave Writer classes for the week and catch up on a few chores. And, of course, compose my Carry on Tuesday prompt response. If you happen to write a response also, please add the link in the comments as I would LOVE to read your response as well.


Deborah said...

This is haunting for me. Our neighbor's wife committed suicide several years ago and when he woke up in the morning to find her dead in the car, all she had left was an envelope with a note and her wedding ring. They had a fight the night before and a very troubled marriage. so very sad.

Susanne Barrett said...

Wow, Deborah -- I wasn't thinking suicide; just her leaving. It's just what came to me with the prompt ... plus I have a couple friends going through very rough patches who are separating/divorcing right now. I've had them on my heart lately, and that's where it came from, I think. So sorry for your neighbor -- how horrific!

Greyscale Territory said...

A sensitive, poignant piece of writing! Leave it as is! Somehow there is an enchanting, fragile beauty in it!

Deborah said...

I know! It was about 8 years ago and a very troubling time for him and for all the neighbors. He did eventually re-marry and we all moved away. We still receive Christmas letters and they seem like a happy couple. Still, that is something that never leaves your memory. Thanks for writing the piece, it is very good and gave me an opportunity to re-visit the sadness and offer it back to God.


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