The Letter

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #153 for April 30th, 2010

“My husband doesn’t know, but he will soon.”

She snapped back to the faux sincerity of the doctor’s office, focusing on the doctor’s slightly skewiff tie, hearing his question but not listening.  He repeated it for her.

“My husband doesn’t know, but he will soon,” she said.

She thanked him for his time and shook his hand.  Such a formal gesture she thought for such a circumstance as this.  Gathering her handbag she headed for her car.

Rummaging in her hand bag she found her mobile phone only to find the battery had gone flat.  Her initial irritation gave in to relief as she found that words had escaped her.

The drive home was only brief, but she was thankful that it didn’t allow her to dwell on her new information for too long.

Feeling skittish she popped the kettle on.  The news from the doctor had unsettled her.  Her hand wavered above the handset of the phone, ready to call her husband, but the tears threatened to overwhelm and betray her.  She thought writing it down may help to align the pieces of the puzzle scattered in her brain.

Pen and paper were retrieved from the sideboard and sitting down with her cup of tea she paused, afraid to commit her fears in ink.  Time after time she scrunched the paper into a ball and pushed it aside.  The words refused to be drawn out.

Walking around the small kitchen table she shook out her mind like a blanket and sat down again.

“My dearest husband,

The battle we have fought has left us scarred.  We cannot pretend otherwise.  We have inflicted wounds against each other.  And drawn the blade across our own skin.

This is a time when peace must stake its claim that we may stand together and not falter.

I am weary.  I am tired.  And yet they are not adequate enough to speak of the pain within my bones.  Release will come quickly.  And I will need you at my side.

Your loving wife.”

She folded the paper into thirds and lay it down in front of her.  The evening crept into the kitchen.  She sat and waited as the shadows moved stealthily up the wall, descending the room into a darkening mist.

The jangle of keys announced the arrival of her husband.  He stuck his head around into the kitchen and stopped.  Putting aside his keys and wallet he sat down at the table and took the letter pushed across towards him.

When he had finished reading, he refolded the letter and leant forward to reach for her hands.  She let her hands be taken as his lay gently on top.

She spoke, “I’m pregnant.”

His smile sealed their hope in her heart.

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5 responses to “The Letter

  1. It’s Fiction Friday again thanks to the bods at http://writeanything.wordpress.com
    Remember, this is only a first draft.
    My head was full of cliches with this one initially (must try and let one have a full head of steam one day to see where it goes), but I wanted something different.
    I like the idea of inverting or twisting an assumption, and this one almost did it. It was a difficult one to write, trying to explore the dynamics of relationships in the face of trials.
    On reading others work, am seeing that I have written a cliche. My first thought was something like an affair, which people do not seem to have written about. Maybe I should have gone with that 🙂

  2. Interesting, I had a similar take but from a different point in the relationship. I like how you drew out the tension, leaving us to wonder what news the doctor had given her. I think I would have liked to see more of the husband’s reaction to the same tension we were feeling — what was going through his mind, or across his face, as he contemplated the possibilities. Overall, well done!

  3. Adam,
    I thought that the letter from the wife was well written but confusing, in the grand scheme of things. By reading the piece, I gather that the relationship was kind of rocky and the wife needed her husbands support throughout the pregnancy.

    When the conclusion came I felt as though there wasn’t enough build up to draw me in when it was finally time to reveal what was behind the proverbial curtain.

    I think your piece was interesting but you didn’t draw me in with it like several of your other pieces.

  4. Aw I really hope that things work out for them. At first, I thought she’d actually lost the baby and was preparing to leave him, but you turned it all around by the end.

  5. Lovely vignette. I like the descriptions of her surroundings and the little snark, “faux sincerity of the doctor’s office.” I know I can relate. The build up left me with anticipation and a little fear that you might not reveal her secret. In the eng, though, it all paid off and my anxiety was relieved just as hers was.

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