Sealed Envelopes

December 16, 2007
It was Monday morning, eight-o-clock to be exact, one year since it happened. Mr. Maddox still hadn’t found the strength to open “it”. The huge box covered in a thick layer of dust on the top shelf of the front hall closet contained letters to his daughter, Winifred. His wife had the idea to write letters to Winnie to attempt to make peace for what had happened. Mr. Maddox and Mrs. Maddox had been devastated by their daughter’s death. For a month after it happened, they barely had said a word to each other. Their marriage had fallen apart at the seams. A variety of counseling had been to no avail, they finally decided on a divorce about two months ago. In the court hearing Mrs. Maddox had gotten possession of the letters, but Mr. Maddox couldn’t bare to let one of the last memories of his daughter go before he saw what they had to say. Lifting the heavy container down with extreme care, he almost started crying. He brought it over to the table, and he blew off some dust before taking the lid off. For about three minutes he just sat there staring at the numerous envelopes. Mustering up the courage he grabbed a white envelope with Winifred scrawled in script across the front. He ripped open the envelope and proceeded to read the letter.

“Dear Winifred,
I know we didn’t know each other that much. I mean, sure, we were in about a bazillion classes together over the past two years. You always seemed happy and really nice, but you know I was fine with my friends. Not to be mean, but you also didn’t really fit into my clique. I know it’s stupid and I shouldn’t have cared, but I did. I just felt like I should have given you a chance and I didn’t. I wish I still had the chance.


Rosie Martinez”

The next envelope had Winnie written on it in big capital letters in black ink.


I’m going to tell you something that I should’ve told you when you were still around. I’ve liked you since forever. You always had a big smile on your face, but had something mysterious about you. We were always friends, but I never told you. I guess I just wasn’t secure enough. But now I’ll never know. I guess nothing ventured, nothing gained is true. Why were you so unhappy? You never let it show.

Andy Pierce”

The next letter was in a crisp white envelope that had Winifred wrote on it in small neat cursive.

“Dearest Winifred,

When I heard what had happened, I went into shock. Winifred Maddox? The girl who came into my honors English class everyday for third period with a huge smile on her face? It couldn’t possibly be. Well of course, if it hadn’t I wouldn’t be writing this letter. You were the most talented writer I had for a pupil in ages. I should’ve guessed what a rough time you were going through when we started the poetry unit. All of your poems were so depressing and morbid. I thought it was just regular teenage angst, oh how incredibly wrong I was dear. Then you started doing poorly, and not doing your work. They were signs I should have recognized. I just wished I could’ve helped. I can’t help feeling like it was my fault.

All my regards,

Mrs. Merle Zimmerman”

Half way through the letter Mr. Maddox started crying. He was gone too often. How could he have been so oblivious to daughter’s sorrow? He folded up the tear stained stationary paper and placed it gingerly back in the envelope. He then placed it in the stack of letters he had already read. Then he fished out another from the box.

“Winifred Maddox,

Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit it. I wasn’t completely aware of the fact you existed when you were still here. I had seen you around the halls and stuff, but our circles didn’t mix. It’s always sad when a kid dies though. I would have to ask you one thing if I could though, why? Whenever I saw you, you were with friends and smiling or laughing. Sometimes I would think I wish I was that happy. But apparently you were really good at acting. I thought you were a smart kid, being in all those honors classes. So, why’d you do something so incredibly dumb? I mean did you think nobody cared what happened to you? Because I mean that’s why most people do it. Too bad you couldn’t see the box I’m about to put this letter in, it’s filled to the brim.

Jacob Cortez”

There seemed to be a thousand more envelopes and he had already spent an hour and a half reading letters. But he was determined to finish reading them.

“Winnie the Pooh,

Remember when we came up with that nickname? We were in what the second grade. It just stuck Winnie the Pooh and Kayla-Roo, best friends forever. We had such great times, and we said we’d be there for each other forever. Of course, when you needed me most I abandoned you. I got mad at you for becoming isolated and never returning my phone calls. A huge signal should’ve gone off in my head, but no, I was too self-centered to realize what was happening. I’m probably the only one at school who noticed something was up with you. I mean you always made yourself happy for everyone else. Always more concerned about other people’s happiness. Everyone you ever met loved you and thought you were a great person. Why were you the only one who didn’t realize it? I’m just sitting here weeping my eyes out. I can’t even imagine how I’m going to survive. When I meet the boy I fall in love with, who am I going to call? Right now if you were here you’d start laughing and yell, ‘Ghostbusters!’ You were such a dork, and probably the most amazing person I ever met. It’s unfathomable to imagine living in a world you don’t. I can’t wrap my mind around it. I’ve been in bed for the past two days, I haven’t eaten a thing. My mom found a really well known death counselor, but of course he’s in New York. So we’re moving it’s probably going to be easier since your not here to leave behind. I promise I’ll come and visit on your birthday. I will never ever forget you Winnie.

Your best friend forever,

Kayla-Roo Solis”

The letter sent Mr. Maddox to tears. Kayla had kept her promise, she had come January fourth and put yellow roses, Winnie’s favorite flower, on her grave. She had seemed really happy when she had come in those two times. She talked to him, and said,

“I’m just glad I got to know her while she was here.”

The letter had been the first placed in the box. The last one to be read by Mr. Maddox, he placed the mountain of letters back in the box. Placed the lid on it, and glanced at the clock, it was two-thirty in the morning. Suddenly overcome, he took out a pen and a piece of paper from the drawer. On the top of the paper he wrote,

“My dear Winnie,

It’s been a year now. I still feel everything I felt that day, shock, despair, and most of all anger. I know I was gone a lot; I convinced myself that I was creating a better life for you. I knew better though, why couldn’t you have given us a chance to help? Why were you so selfish? You did it with no concern of how it would affect the people around you. I could’ve helped; you never gave me the chance. I love you Winnie, every little black hair on your head. When you have a child you create all these dreams for them. You took away all those dreams for me. Now I never get to walk you down the aisle, or see my grandchildren. I never get to say that my daughter turned out just fine. You took away my entire world Winnie.


He sealed the letter, and put it the box, knowing that only Mrs. Maddox, now Miss Fitzgerald, would read it. Then he went to bed, his pain and been softened for awhile, but he realized no matter what he did, a piece of himself was gone forever.

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