Congratulations to Anna Meyers for winning the grand prize in our 2018 Writing Contest!
Here is her winning essay entitled The Letter.
I unfolded the aged loose leaf paper with the greatest of care, feeling like I should be wearing gloves, for surely it would crumble to dust at any moment. The letter pre-dated my father, and even my uncle – somewhere around seventy years old.
“Angie darling,” the letter began in the pencil script of my long-dead grandfather.
“Will you please come home?” In that moment, the picture I had of my grandparents and
who they were turned sideways. Of course they had lived entire lives before I was born. Of course they kissed each other with tenderness, and screamed at each other, hands on hips or gesticulating wildly. Of course they smiled and laughed at intimate jokes on a fresh Saturday morning in the sunshine. Of course they rolled their eyes at each others’ idiosyncrasies as soon as their backs were turned. They had been real people, and not just the smiling, gentle people we visited every few months, who gave me cookies from the kitchen and currants from the garden.
The woman who had tried to feed me applesauce laced with aspirin when I’d had an earache had left the man who doted on me, holding my hand as we toured his garden, his gravelly, broken English pointing out the various vegetables and plants. A lifetime ago, she had taken my toddler-aunt back to her mother’s house in upstate New York, and he had written to her with passion, both angry that she hadn’t yet returned, and pleading with her to come back. “I am getting little lonesome now. If you won’t be back by Friday, I come down and get you. The days are so gloomy, rain all the time, is damp. I don’t want anymore of this letter. I want you to come home. ”
No one alive remembers what had upset her so much, or how long she was gone. Maybe my grandfather’s words were enough to convince her of his love and need for her. They weren’t meant for my eyes, but opened them.