Story 18: A Letter in Fourteen Sentences

For StoryADay May Challenge

  1. Do you remember, Moira, how you said that life always has meaning, no matter how painful it is, and even if you lose everything, even if you suffer greatly, there can be beauty in the suffering?
  2. I thought you were being a childish Pollyanna at the time, a delusional Professor Pangloss.
  3. You argued that without conflict, struggle, failure, and even death, stories would not be great and beautiful–and that the same is true of real life.
  4. You cited A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables, and Romeo & Juliet, as your examples.
  5. I countered that there’s nothing great or beautiful about a sad drunkard who dies for someone else just because he’s secretly in love with that person’s wife, or an old man who hides all the good things he’s done and allows his son-in-law to misunderstand him so that he then dies poor and (almost) alone; and that Romeo and Juliet were just plain idiots.
  6. You just smiled and said that one day I would know what you meant.
  7. On the day they broke down the front door and took us away, you were in the garden tending your sunflowers.
  8. We didn’t even have time to take the heirloom locket Oma had left us…which ended up not mattering anyway, since they took everything we had as soon as we got off the train.
  9. The next few days were nightmarish–I was horrified when they sent you to the left, away from me forever, but in time I learned to appreciate the fact that you were not here to experience the innumerable demeaning, soul-crushing tortures they put us through.
  10. When freedom finally came, we were like zombies, not real people–we did not feel joy or curiosity, everything was like a dream.
  11. Yet, after I somehow survived that ghastly camp and went home, there was a new surprise waiting for me.
  12. I thought that I could not suffer more, but I was wrong–there is a hurt in the indifferent shrugs of neighbors who not only did not stand up for you when you were being carted off by evil invaders but who only say “we did not know; we suffered too,” when you return, homeless and family-less, and now, friendless as well.
  13. Our old house was razed to the ground, destroyed by the invader pigs–but in the backyard, I found something that seemed to knock me through the veil of dreams and return me to myself: a single golden sunflower.
  14. I know now what you mean.

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