Jack awoke to the slumbering snores of his wife, her hair a tangled mess in her face. Moving slowly, careful not to wake her, he quietly walked across the cold tiled floor, making his way to the kitchen.
Staring at the picturesque view as he listened to the choking call of the seagulls echo through the sound of the chasing waves. In his hands, a steaming mug of coffee calmed the thoughts of deadlines and holiday plans. The sound of the postman’s bike pulled him from his thoughts as he opened the door and walked to the gate. His warm breath, creating a vapor against the morning chill.
Ignoring the bills, his attention drawn to the blue envelope, a familiar handwriting staring up at him. Shocked by a sudden memory flash of tantrums and pencil grips, he gently opened the envelope and slowly took out the crisp white letter.
“I’m sending you this letter on my 23rd birthday. The absence of you in my life, a crushing reminder, of the disappointment I am to you and all those I love so dear. I left home in pursuit of acceptance, but everywhere I went, the acceptance of strangers left me with an even greater void. An emptiness that only you could fill.
Writing this letter, my heart constricted by the knowledge that I killed your dreams and robbed you of the many hopes you had for me. Today, the guilt of who I am, is too much to bear.
Loving myself is not enough when those I love and yearn for most cannot love me. How can I be expected to continue living with your rejection of who I am?”
Overcome by anger, Jack tore the letter down the center, shoved it back in the envelop and slammed the door shut behind him. Hoping that this physical force would lock away the memories of disgust and disillusionment. Her birthday was two days ago, a memory he’d much rather not have. Homosexuality was not welcomed in their God fearing home.
Thinking back to that dreadful day five years ago when she brought dishonor onto the family. He was convinced that she would find the error of her ways when she stormed out a week later. Her bags packed – leaving behind a cloud of anger and hate.
Pulling himself back to the present time, he didn’t dare show the letter to his wife. She’s been through enough as it is. How could anyone be so insensitive? It was then that Jack noticed the writing on the back of the envelope.
27/04/1993 – 27/04/2016
He read the numbers over and over and over . . . Rejecting the thought that crossed his mind. Unwilling. “No, it can’t be. No . . . ” said Jack to himself. Slumping down against the door. His mind numb as he opened the envelope again. This time with trembling fingers, he struggled to hold together the two pieces of the torn letter. His vision blurred as he read the words through his unexpected tears.
Reading the letter countless times. Like an out-of-body experience, unconscious from the pain, he softly whispered. “For God shows no partiality. My sweet Anna-Jane. My sweet, sweet Anna Jane, please forgive me”. His voice inaudible as he curled himself up into the tinniest human ball, clutching the letter to his heart.
Wishing upon himself a certain death. He needed to hold her hand, look into her soft hazel eyes and ask for her forgiveness. On the floor his muscles contracting from the unimaginable pain, the guilt, regret and self-loathing.
“Anna-Jane, my beautiful, sweet child. Forgive me, please. Please. I have been so, so blinded by my belief in my faith, that I failed to recognize that God lives in our acceptance of others . . .” His words, repetitive as he rocked himself. A broken man.
This post was published as a Facebook prompt from Dave Luis, Bloggsy Malone, “Reframing the Man”.