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Words of love

The house was empty and void of life, echoes of children playing and celebrations of significant milestones once filled this now sullen place. It was difficult having to pack up a lifetime of memories, but he had become too unwell to manage on his own. I carefully folded out the cardboard boxes, taping the bottoms so that they remained sturdy and strong.

My father was a distant man, a product of his generation and uncomfortable in dealing with his emotions. Our relationship had ebbed and flowed over the years, as they often do between two like minded people. I always felt loved, but it was laboured and gestures of affection did not come easily to either of us.

I began in the bedroom. Dressers filled with clothes and precious items that had been gathered over the years folded with methodical precision and laid out carefully. Dad was quite pernickety and everything was just so, living a life of regimented order and routine.

As I make my way to the bottom drawers, I come across a slim document folder, leather bound and tied tightly. I carefully open it and come across a pile of yellowed letters, written in black cursive font and collated with the greatest of care.
I sit on the persian rug and begin to read some of the correspondence, thinking it would only be rudimentary. I was not prepared for what I would find.

Words pour from the pages as my eyes well with tears, a moment of deep emotional catharsis. They were letters to my mother from early in their courtship. Heartfelt expressions of love, with exquisitely eloquent prose expressing his hopes, dreams and his vulnerabilities. Letters shared with the woman that he loved more than life itself. This was a side of him until now, I never knew existed.

I always wondered how my mother navigated his punctilious nature over the years, but in their private moments, she had managed to break through and soften his hard edges. She saw something in him that he kept hidden from the rest of the world, managing to break down those barriers. With her, he had allowed himself to be truly vulnerable and exposed, opening his heart to love.

Hours passed as I read through the correspondence, grateful that I had found them. I carefully place the letters back in the case and packed them into the box.

© T. Zerafa 2023

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed my writing. If you haven’t read any of my other pieces, take a look through my blog. Please feel free to like, share, follow or comment below.


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