Silent Bridges

7th March, 2015

Dear Sarah,

I was so happy to hear back from you! I didn’t expect you to respond, not after all this time. However, I hope you don’t mind me responding via a letter. Email is too informal and one feels the need to be jovial. I know it’s a bit archaic, but I much prefer a letter, I can write more truly this way.

I’ve often thought about you over the years. Wondering how you’re doing now. Remembering those days when things were simpler, happier. This technology of ours is a mixed blessing sometimes! I was reluctant to open a Facebook account but happy that I had found you again after so long.

And now as I sit and write, I hear crows, and it reminds me of the ones that cawed as we walked through your father’s field that summer. Before it all ended. Sometimes in my dreams we walk in those fields still, the sun beating behind us casting our shadows far into the future.

After so many years things become water flowing under bridges. And those waters have passed many bridges vast and wide and I have stood on them all and watched our reflections staring back at us in the passing stream.

I don’t want to say too much now. I hope you will read this with an open mind and look forward to our meeting.

Yours truly,

Alan

P.S. I was happy to hear that you’re now a painter. I know it always meant a lot to you. Your paintings are very beautiful!

***

Date: 14 March 2015 23:01
From: alan…@gmail.com
To: sarah…@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Meeting

Hi,

Sorry if the letter was a bit cryptic! There was just so much to say and I wanted to say a lot of it in person.

I’m sorry you couldn’t make the meeting. But, yes, I can definitely make Thursday instead. Look forward to it!

See you soon,
Alan

***

21th March, 2015

Dear Sarah,

I sit and write to you again, I hope you don’t mind another letter! It was lovely to finally see you after all this time. You’re still as beautiful as I remember.

It was nice to see pictures of your children (they have your eyes). And very happy that your exhibition was a success. I hope to make the next one.

It was lovely reminiscing about the past — it’s a place I know well! Those years we spent together at Southampton were some of my fondest. So many happy times. And sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we’d stayed together.

And now I sit and find myself begging for your forgiveness again. I had so much more to say to you. So much more prepared than the pathetic, casual pleasantries I offered up. The truth is I’ve been miserable and last week I got made redundant from Osiers after ten years of giving my sweat and blood. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to think I was a failure. I had so many apologies and renewed promises that I had rehearsed over the years. And yet, when I saw you, all I could do was sit and watch. Stare at your beauty while those bridges slowly burned.

You mentioned you were fine with what had happened back then. But I wanted to tell you I wasn’t. I wanted to tell you that every night for the past twenty years I have tried to forgive myself, and every morning I begged for yours. Begged for you to come back. I wanted to tell you this over our coffee but couldn’t.

And as time unfolds and adds more regret, I agonise over the gulf that’s already passed — all those days and years of silence between us I longed to bridge, and feel you in my arms again. And yet when the moment came I didn’t know how! Isn’t that just like me! Forever a coward!

You said you were happy, which was lovely to hear. You did look very happy. And sitting there that afternoon, I wanted it to last. I wanted to be part of that happiness forever, and yet part of me knew I would wreck it all for you again.

Sometimes I think, despite the pain that still hurts in dreams, whatever’s happened, happened for the best. I don’t deserve someone as kind and beautiful as you! And you don’t deserve a coward like me. How foolish I was! You are happily married now. What was I thinking!

All that’s left to say I guess is: I’m sorry I bothered you. I have already deleted the Facebook account. I’m not sure I’ll have the courage to post this in the morning. But if you are reading this then, please forgive me once again. I just wanted to bridge all the years of silence and tell you I still love you and I always will.

Alan

© 2016 Occasional Dreams
In response to daily prompt: Silence
Image: “déjeuner du matin” by Patrick Marioné / CC BY

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