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Can you understand love? I seriously doubt that you can; because, if you could, you would have looked into my mother’s eyes when she had turned around to smile at me in the car that day. You would have seen what I had seen: the affection glowing in her hazel gaze and the joy that flitted across her lips. That blissful moment before terror.
You witnessed that love shining like a headlight in our midst, yet still you made our car swerve off the road. And you wrenched my mom and dad from life’s embrace. My embrace, even though I thought I was holding on tightly enough. Why did you take them cruelly in your arms, and stalk past my brother and I? We were in the car too! I’d rather be walking hand in hand with them (wherever you took them after that day) than be left in the dust of life.
When I woke up in the hospital the next obscure morning, white-coated figures told me that they were gone. Through my tears, I made a solemn vow. It was a vow to hate you for the rest of my life. Mom and Dad, gone? You don’t understand love.
Your newest enemy,
It’s been a year since I last wrote you, and I have already broken my vow. You took Grandpa yesterday, but he was different. I loved Grandpa in a way that would bring tears to anybody’s eyes. He used to tell me fantasy stories, swearing that they were real. I’d say, “you’re crazy, Grandpa!” He would look really serious and say, “What? You think I’m crazy?” then smile and wink: “maybe a little bit.” He warmed my heart so much.
Cancer, supposedly, was the murderer. But I recognized your aura in the hospital when he called me in to talk. He told me that everything was okay, giving me a smile that I had come to know as my friend. He told me that everything was all right, that there was nothing to fear from you, that he was just moving on, that I would see him in time. His words consoled me, but I cried as he gave my hand a little squeeze. Then I saw his spirit floating like a veil out of the room. I could have sworn that it winked at me.
I broke my vow, because I forgive you.
It has been four years since Grandpa died. My brother has had a really hard life (as have I, for that matter). I had often seen him in his room praying, with tears in his eyes, before he left home to get a job. I guess no one answered his prayers, because I was told this morning that he was found dead after having jumped from his apartment building. This time, I shed no tears. I am beyond that now, even though my big brother is gone.
Before Grandpa called me to his sickbed, I heard him saying to my brother with a smile “teach Rose all that you know after I’m gone.” He has done so, because I’m looking at the noose that I have tied for myself, a foot in front of me. I’m almost ready to walk into your arms, just like my family. Now I have just stepped up onto the chair…
I don’t know how these letters will reach you, but I hope they do.
I want you to see what you have done.
See you soon,
I want you to know that I have read and reread your letters; they were very beautiful. Silver tears line my worn face as I watch you swing slowly like a pendulum from the rope. I also want you to know this: I’m so sorry. But your brother, he had jumped; somebody had to catch him. But I know you loved him. Your grandpa, he shook my hand as I helped him from his deathbed; he knew that it was all okay. And I know that you loved him. As for your parents, I did see that look in your mother’s eyes; and I’m so sorry that she and your father had to leave with me. I know that you loved them. But I am the deliverer; some people must be left behind as I take the others with me.
I remember your first words to me. To answer, I do understand love. I have seen so much, how could I not? But I’m glad you wrote to me and that you will be joining the ones that you care about. I look into your tranquil face and think: this is not the end, Rose.