Short Story – A Love Letter Too Late

A Love Letter Too Late


Dear Darling,

The leaves are gradually turning colour, as autumn saunters in, bringing with it red skies, cooler evenings and cosier nights. It was during this season that we met, all those years ago. Under the orange-tinted sky we held hands and promised ourselves forever.
Little did we know that events would break us apart. We weren’t to know that those shy kisses and whispered endearments would soon come to an end.

The year ahead was tough, we weathered the changes as much as we could, but with heartache and grief came resentment and anger, which we aimed at one another. Our hearts held on as long as they could, but we went our separate ways, thinking that it was for the best. Through mutual friends, I heard that you had moved on. Your arms were wrapped around another, someone else had captured your heart. I felt the twisted tug of jealousy, raw and cruel, but I refused to let you know how it bothered me so.

With time, I moved on too. I found a person who made me laugh like you used to, and I saw a future with wedding bells, children and a life of growing old together. I grabbed the love they gave me with both hands, and I refused to let go. There was a small part of my heart which was yours, forever, but I refused to dwell on a past that we had stepped away from.

The years were kind, I welcomed three children and lived a happy life with my family. There were times when I thought of you, and of the life that we could have lived. My family were mine and I loved them, but the love I felt for you was ingrained. I had left a part of me with you when we broke up, and that part never recovered. As technology improved, I learnt to access your details though social media. I looked at the smiling face on your profile picture that first time, a face that I hadn’t seen for many years and I cried. The tears were hot, salty and angry. Why had we not worked? Why had we moved forward without one another? What happened to the promises we made to one another? I felt guilt and thought of the one I had chosen, a person who was kind and gentle, someone who loved me unconditionally. And yet, could I really say that I truly loved him? Sure, I respected him, and I cared for him, but I only ever loved one person; You.
My children grew and they left home, leaving me alone in a loveless marriage. I still sought you out on the internet and watched unknowing as you shared pictures of your family. I felt the familiar pangs of jealousy and I wished I could back. I wished I could hold on tighter to you when life got hard. We gave up too easily, we didn’t fight hard enough.

I am now two months widowed, and rather than feeling sad, I feel relief. I was loved by someone who put me first, time and time again, yet I lied throughout our marriage. I painted a look of love and I played the part well, always saying and doing the right things, but my heart was always elsewhere. My heart was left behind with you when I was 19. I have lived a fake existence, I went through the motions and I loved my family, playing the parts of parent and lover exceptionally well. If my performance was judged, I would win an award for how well I acted. Its not that I don’t love my children, but they, like my partner, have never been enough.
I know that when we ended things, we did it because we thought we had no other choice, but I am now heading towards the end of my life and I am failing to see why we couldn’t find a way to be together.

It was mere days following the funeral of my spouse that I decided to reach out to you, I wasn’t about to waste anymore time. I had heard that you were single and had been for some time, so I messaged you and I waited for minutes, hours, days, but there was no response. My heart ached, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. 72 years old and the mention of your name still has my stomach in knots. I never thought that we would run out of time, I always thought, or maybe hoped that we would still have more of our story to tell. And then I ran into an old mutual friend, and we sat and had coffee, discussing the old days. I saw the look on her face when I mentioned trying to get back in touch with you, the look that told me all I needed to know. My heart lunged and I felt sick. We had no more time; the clock had stopped ticking for us. The hope I had lived with, deep down inside, died at that moment. I hadn’t realised I had been holding onto hope of seeing you again all this time, and the ache I felt as that hope stripped away was unbearable.
I now sit here, writing a letter which I will never post. A letter that will never be read. A letter that you will never see, and I grieve for you, the only person I have ever truly loved.

We wasted so much time, a life that we could have lived together. I will burn this letter outside in the hope that the ashes will find their way to you, so that you can feel every word that is written. I send with them the last shred of hope I have. The hope that when I take my last breath, I will see you waiting for me, arms open and heart ready to live in eternity, loving one another, and making up for lost time.

Please wait for me, I won’t be long.

All of my love always,

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