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Read Letter

Chapter Nine


Dear Jil, that’s not the end of the story. Let me share Chapter 9 with you.


Grandma Dorothy put her arms around my shoulders; she looked wistfully at me: “My Zachary was a good man. He was loving and generous. Gave me all he could. And even though he had his quirks I loved him for those quirks. When you love a man his quirks become items of celebration, and fun. “I loved your Grandpa,” she reminisced with a smile. “I gave my heart to him and he was most appreciative of it. I loved him fervently, in a way he could not understand. How many men would write the letters he wrote? His heart was naked with me – expressed himself that way. And every morning… every morning he would affirm me, cheer me up, hold me, make me feel loved. E-V-E-R-Y morning!

When he traveled I missed those moments… those early morning affirmations. It was our love routine. We hated being apart. We were comfortable with being together doing nothing. Just being in each others’ company. I woke up each morning looking forward to seeing him. He came back home looking forward to seeing me. I wanted to be loved, needed his love. He was a man’s man,” she said with gusto. “He prided himself in providing for us. But I quietly did things in the house, bought some things, augmenting his provision in so many little ways. I miss my Zachary. I read his letters every day… It’s how I make up for those early morning affirmations now he’s gone!” As she said this she gently patted my knee, then adjusted her glasses in remembering exclamation. They were designer glasses. Grandma never compromises her taste. Even in old age she looked sassy.

She got up from the bed and made another journey across the room – to the wooden box on her vanity table. She lifted the lid once more, searched ruefully through the pile of envelopes, humming as she did, gently. She settled on an envelope, like she had a visual index in her mind. She drew out the envelope and walked back. She sat back down on the gentle couch, a bit closer to me and gave me the envelope. “Read,” she said, her voice a little shaky though firm. Her instruction was cocooned in a kindly smile.

I sighed wistfully, worried about sharing her intimacies. But she would have none of it. I opened the envelope, gently unfolded the letter. It was dated May 5, 1969.

“My dear Dorothy,” it began, “I woke up in the night and watched you as you slept, peacefully beside me. I felt so grateful to God for giving you to me. It’s a joyful knowing on the inside. You’re my love and joy. I looked at my bedside table – the picture we took in Venice, your head resting on my shoulder. You looked happy! If I have an unceasing appreciation of you it’s because I’m a grateful man. I’m grateful for who you are. I am grateful to your dad, and grateful to your mum, for giving birth to you. These are honest thoughts. Wish I met your mum though. She passed on too early. Will thank her in heaven. Before I met you my faith was broken. I struggled to let go, couldn’t let go. I was afraid of human capacity to change. Even after I met you my fears remained. I shielded my heart. Didn’t want to be traumatised again. But the more I knew you the more I realised those fears are unfounded in you. You were totally committed. And you’re you – a loving and kind woman. You showed me what love is. And though my head was cautious to us, my heart nonetheless found a harbour in you. My fears and doubts melted in the flame of your love. You are my woman, my love, my faith. I watch as you daily work hard at our love. It consumes your passion. Our life is your life. It’s your identity.

And so I have come to a quiet conclusion: none can love me the way you do. No one! Your identification with me is so complete. I don’t know where I end and where you begin. All of you permanently resides in me. I no longer know myself. All I see is us. You’re my friend, my love, my kindness, my reward, my rescuer, my angel. When you dress in the morning, you thrill my heart. You’re a beautiful woman through and through. You’re teaching me to love, to love without reserve. You will not have us any other way.

I promised you when we met that I will take care of you. I have strived to keep that promise ever since. Sometimes it’s not easy. Life comes with its own brutalities and pressures. Yet I am confident of the future. My consolation is the word of God. When I tell you about my fears, please don’t be afraid. I’m just baring my soul to you. Who else will I talk to? You’re my comfort in moments of despair, my missionary in moments of doubt.

There can be no love without sacrifice. You’ve sacrificed for us. And I love you for it. Your love makes us possible. Whatever presents I buy, they’re incomparable to the gift of your love. Money can’t buy the things you give me. I’d searched all my life for a generous soul – a soul that gives without design or calculation. And I found you. I can’t get past your love, your accommodative nature, your simple faith, your determination and tenacity. You always accommodate me, my occupations and preoccupations. It’s your loving nature. You are you. And you make it all seem so natural, effortless!

My love for you is deeper than you’ll ever know. How deep you’ll never know but someday life will tell.. Our love is the life we share. You are me, I am you, we are us. God forbid you go home before me. I couldn’t cope… I wouldn’t cope… You’re my heart, my soul, my one, and all. And when I go home, I’ll leave with the knowledge of our memories. And in the knowledge of one thing: that I found true love and knew happiness. No matter what tomorrow brings, I’ll forever cherish the thought that I found you! Yours now and always, xx. ZM.”

And there ends Chapter 9. Would you like Chapter 10?

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Love

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