I took a leap of faith and called the publication that I worked for in Boston and quit, I didn’t even feel like a failure for doing it. My life was being built kiss by kiss here with Junior. I couldn’t imagine going back to the lonely desolation of Brighton Center. I couldn’t imagine having to fly down or drive sixteen hours to see just to see Junior. I needed him and I knew what I had to do.
Penny kept telling me how proud she was of me, but also kept asking me when I was going to read another letter. It had been far too long, and I knew that I couldn’t prolong it any longer. I took the final two letters up to my bedroom and closed the door behind me. Penny and Junior were playing Scrabble at the dining room table, and probably wouldn’t even notice that I was gone.
Lennon climbed into bed with me and purred. I carefully opened Mama’s letter and realized that it almost felt good hearing from her again. Somehow, through it all, I had managed not to transfer my hate onto her. I wasn’t sure where exactly the hate had gone, but I didn’t miss it at all.
This is the last letter that I will write to you. I hope that through these letters I have managed to show you little glimpses of myself and who I really am. I am not perfect. I’m sure you see that by now… I am just a woman who loved, who made mistakes, who lived life without regrets, and who managed to find happiness in the process. I truly am happy and I wish the same fulfillment for you, Addy. So far I have watched you spend your adulthood breeding bitterness and hate. I know that life has so much more in store for you, and I hope with every breath that I have left that you find the kind of love that I have been lucky enough to experience twice.
You may wonder why I am not writing to Anna, but Anna doesn’t need to learn the lessons that you do. She is a sweet but naïve girl, and I hope that you will take her under your wing instead of trying to out fly her, Addy. You’ll only have one sister in your entire life, and I want you to think long and hard about the relationship that you two have.
I almost feel like I am leaving behind a little handbook of lessons for you to learn. They aren’t spelled out, but they are here within these letters. I want more than anything for you to see my mistakes and see that we are all fallible. I am not perfect and never have been. None of us are, but that is what makes life so exciting. I want you to let go and love. I want you to throw all caution to the wind and just live. I want you to forget anything you ever thought you knew and just let life take you where it will.
These are not deep or profound things, they are simple little truths. I see the potential in you! I see what you could have been had I not allowed you to hate your Daddy and spend your life building a case against him. You spent your life protecting me from secrets that were not nearly as heavy as you made them. You can let go of all of that now. You don’t have to protect me anymore, my dear. And as much as I would like to protect you from the pain that my own secrets will cause you, I feel that you need to know the truth. You deserve the be free from the veil of lies that I carried with me. I am enclosing the letter that I was writing all those years ago-- the one I never finished because you wanted a sheet of paper to write a poem on. I want you to see the truth and know the real me that nobody else knows. I want you to take a piece of me that I have not even offered up to your Father or to Anna, and keep it as your own.
Please know that I love you and that I am proud of you. Dig deep, Addy! You can move past the pain that life has thrown at you, you can forgive the mistakes, you can rise above it, and fly. Thank you for protecting me for all those years. I have always found happiness in the knowledge that someone could love me as wholly and as purely as you did and do. Forgive me for the things that I never told you until now, and remember that part of living is making mistakes and choosing to be happy.
All for now and all my love,
I looked in the envelope for the letter that she had been writing that day, all those years ago, but it wasn’t there. I realized that it would have to wait until my next daily dose. I thought of her words and couldn’t help but smile. She truly was a wonderful woman despite her mistakes. I was thankful that Mama was reaching out to me, even through death, and leading me in the right direction. Finally, after all those years, I had a peace the settled into my heart and healed the wounds of hate. Bitterness left me bruised and battered, but I was finally ready to let go of the pain. I was ready to love. I cried as I made a conscious decision to forgive Mama. I couldn’t wait to read the letter from her past and to close this chapter of my life that began in a dark cloud of hate but was being punctuated by new love, long deserved forgiveness, and hope.
Junior knocked on the door and came into the room that was quickly feeling more and more like home to him. “You okay?” he asked.
“I am.” I put the letter aside and held out my arms to him.
“Penny went home, I think she had a hot date.” Junior smiled. It hadn’t taken him long to catch Penny fever-- it was hard to be around her without loving her to death.
“It is about time.” I joked. Junior smiled and my heart skipped a beat. As I looked into the face of the man I loved, I really couldn’t remember life without him. The sun was sinking into night, and I knew without a doubt that it was time. “Make love to me.”
Junior’s eyes searched mine for a moment, eventually coming to the same conclusion-- it was time. He kissed me gently, undressed me slowly, and gave me all of his love.