The Last Letter

in #palnet2 years ago

I entered the empty house feeling goose bumps on my arms. My footfalls left puffs of dust in the streaks of sunlight stretched across the vacant living room.

The last time I came through these doors I left vowing I would never return. I remember the harsh words exchanged between me and my Da. "No one understands me, I screamed." I shook the dust off my feet and entered a world much more unforgiving than my Father ever was.

I was here to clean the place and prepare it for a realtor to sell. Surveying the sad state of disrepair and outdated decor I knew that someone could pick the place up for practically nothing. Hell, I'd probably sign it over just to be rid of it and the accumulating taxes. The realtor said it was close to the auction block. So be it.

The kitchen was filled with cobwebs and the sink filled with dirty dishware. I made a mental note to grab boxes to purge everything. I saw a mug I purchased for him when we were still OK. I considered taking that with me. I remembered the day I gave it to him, beaming in anticipation of his smile. The inscription read World's Best Dad. I snorted, not from the suffocating dust, but because things changed so much after mom died.

Mom's death in 1989 surprised everyone and most of all Da. He took to drinking at night after dinner and in a year it was a shot in his coffee and a flask to make it through the long work days. We argued more and more until by 18 I had enough and screaming at him to throw the bottle out if he ever wanted to see me again had elicited a cold stare as he calmly responded, "Go and leave me. You're just like your mother." He walked into his bedroom and slammed the door until the house shook. I imagined it was the sobs of my mother who would not recognize him at that point.

After surveying my old room and feeling the barrenness of a once favorite haunt, I made my way into his room.

Inside I counted several whiskey bottles, an empty glass by the bed and an ashtray overflowing with cigar butts. In my mind's eye I saw him puffing on a cigar as he read the paper and grumbled about the world news. I closed my eyes and made it to the window.

I pushed the filthy blinds up to peer out the streaked window into the overgrown yard. Once our yellow cocker, Sadie, ran in excited circles around the back yard begging me to throw a stick. Her bark echoed through the years. We buried her three years after Mom in that very yard, but the weeds had choked off the makeshift headstone I placed over her. She died of an infection from a squirrel bite despite the veterinarian's concerted effort to save her. The remaining bill hit Da hard but he never complained to me. He got worse following Sadie's death. It was one more reason to drink.

I pulled open a drawer of the antique night stand that Mom brought from her home when they married.
I rifled through the odds and ends and stopped abruptly at the envelope with my name scrawled on it. I let out the breath I'd been holding unawares and opened it.

Dear Rachel,
I knew you would return someday, but not before I died. I just want you to know I love you and always will. I'm sorry about the last conversation we had and have spent my life regretting every last word.

I can't take them back, as much as I wish I could. I finally stopped drinking and right after I was going to find you and tell you all of this, but I got really sick and the doctor told me that there was nothing he could do.

I didn't want you here to watch me die from my own stupidity so I hope this letter can speak for me. I got word you are doing well and I want to tell you you make an old man proud. Forgive me, Rach. Mom would never have forgiven what I said to you.

Love,
Your Da.

I stared at the paper until the words meshed together and my tears splattered the ink and I kept crying until sunset stole the day.

I folded the letter carefully and whispered to the room. "I miss you, Da. You're forgiven. Say hi to Mom for me. There's still work for me here and you have a grandson on the way."

SRC
Today's prompt is [stale pepperoni filthy blinds
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Ohhhhh! You had me bawling! There is nothing in this world worse than not having the ability to forgive or be forgiven, especially a parent.

You drove a stake right through my heart. Such a great write and a moving ending! This is so share worthy!

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What a beautifully written piece. It brought tears to my eyes. Really well done.
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Really nice! Those of us who have come from fractured families can certainly appreciate this. Great story!

Thank you for reading and the compliment!

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