On the seventh anniversary of my father’s death I took out the letters he’d written me, each decorated with a little drawing. He told me later that the words could be read by anyone, but these pictures—dolls, trains, smiling penguins—were just between us.

In my teens he sent pictures of my mother set in places they’d visited together. He could draw her from memory as if she were sitting beside him.

I came to a letter with a drawing of her in a country churchyard. I recognised it as St Johns—we often went there on our holidays. It was where my mother was buried. Something drew my attention to a line of text. The picture, of course is St John’s, where your mother and I will one day be reunited.

But he was buried here in town. My grandparents were adamant. They organised everything, with unnecessary haste, it had seemed to me. To them I was just his bastard daughter. And I was only seventeen.

I realised, as soon as I read his words, the final disrespect his family had forced on him. And I determined I would have him returned to the side of the woman they still called the bastard’s mother.

 

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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