Short Story

“The Letter”

I decided to go up to my brother’s room after I ate dinner and before anyone else got home. I walked into the dimly lit room and sat on the unmade bed. What a terrible way to start the summer, I thought. If my mother knew I was in here she would freak out. It’s been two weeks since my brother left. Naturally, I was sad. I was confused and angry but mostly I was upset with myself. How didn’t I notice? How come none of us could tell how much he was hurting? My parents, especially mom, couldn’t bear to be in his room. She has completely thrown herself into work – extra shifts, longer hours. She tries to stay busy and out of the house as much as possible. My father has been surprisingly okay. You can tell he’s sad most of the time, but he’s trying so hard to be strong for my mother and me.

The bedroom door was shut the day after we found him and I’ve been the only one to enter since. Usually I just sit here and think but sometimes I end up crying. In some ways I feel like it’s helping me heal, but I’m also searching for something. Some sort of explanation; a reason why he just left me like that. I think about all the memories; good and bad. I think about all the stupid, pointless fights and all the laughs. How he always gave me advice no matter what the topic. I wish I had noticed how distant he had gotten from everyone and that something was wrong. Maybe there was something I could have done to help.

This time sitting in the untouched room with the messy bed, blue walls, and clothes all over the floor my eyes began to search. I scanned the shelves lined with trophies and the bookcase filled with books that ranged from baseball encyclopedias (his favorite sport) to ones such as Romeo and Juliet for his high school English classes. That’s when I noticed something sticking out in between two of the books. I wondered how I hadn’t noticed this before, having sat in here for multiple hours over these past couple of weeks. I carefully pulled out the pieces of notebook paper folded neatly in half. Across the front, in my brother’s messy handwriting, was “FOR CHARLOTTE”. My heart dropped into my stomach and I immediately burst into tears and I didn’t even know what it said yet. I was about to open it when I heard my mom’s car pull into the driveway. Shit. I needed to hide this. I quickly shut off the lights in my brother’s room and closed the door behind me before running down the hall to my room and shoving the mass of paper into my top dresser drawer. I went into the bathroom to splash some water on my face and tried to make sure my mom wouldn’t be able to tell if I was crying. Honestly, I think she’s been so preoccupied these days I’m not sure if she would have noticed anyways. “Charlotte? Are you home honey?” I heard my mom yell from the kitchen downstairs. “Yeah mom, be right down!”

I went downstairs and my mom asked me about my new summer job and how it was going. I mentioned to her how my best friend was making me go on a double date. She got very excited and I’m not sure if it was because I was going to be doing something outside of the house or because I was going on a date. She tried to ask me a bunch of questions, but I told her all I know is his name and that he’s supposed to be funny. My dad came home soon after and they went upstairs to bed while I finished the episode of a show I was watching in the living room. Once I was done I went up to my room and changed into my pajamas, washed my face, and brushed my teeth. I hadn’t forgotten about the letter and took it out of the drawer. I held it in my hands for a few minutes and stared at the lettering across the front. I was almost nervous to open it. Would this be a letter explaining why he did what he did? My hands were shaking but I unfolded the two pages of paper and began to read.

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