Three months have passed away in a whirlwind, the newlywed couple, or maybe not so newly, are now set into the daily routine of their lives as a married couple. It may seem so to a stranger that the young couple has been together since years when they had only met each other two months prior to the wedding and were one of the few fortunate beings who knew at their first meeting that they had met the person they would like to spend the rest of their lives with. Sarah and Richard, in simple words, fulfilled each other’s needs so well that they rushed into a wedding and there had never been a day since then in which they had regretted that decision.
Every day Richard would wake up before Sarah, to go for his morning jog for an hour. When he returned Sarah would be making breakfast for them. Today when he returned from his jog, he saw an empty kitchen. He called out her name and got no answer. As he went into their room, he found her sitting in her room staring blankly at the floor.
“Sarah, are you okay?” Richard asked as he sat near her on the bed.
“Did you write this?” Sarah shoved a piece of paper at him, “Why would you?”
“Wait what?” Richard said as he took the paper.
He stared at the typewritten words and frowned as he read it aloud.
On 26 March, Sarah Parker and Richard Taylor said their wedding vows under the brilliant blue sky with their loved ones. The bride was radiant and lovely, the groom was nervous, but obviously pleased and proud. They both looked at each other with love and passion in their eyes. The day had been delightful for the newly married couple and their loved ones. The bride’s father made a toast after drinking his fifth glass of wine, and started telling stories of Sarah’s adolescence. Of an apparent string of boyfriends from the age of fifteen and later the examples of how teenagers misbehave. The groom didn’t seem amused and some of the guests shifted uncomfortably in their seats. At last Mrs. Parker got hold of her husband and saved everyone from the awkward situation. The rest of the toasts were not as colourful or memorable. The bride and groom mingled well with the guests. Sarah seemed to be glancing again and again at her former boyfriend. The groom was oblivious to that fact or being a good sport ignoring the looks being exchanged…
The writer then went on to describe the dances in gory detail and later the wedding night in explicit detail. Richard’s eyes bulged out as he read the last few sentences.
“I did not write this. You know I am not much of a writer, maybe someone was spying on us? Should we report this to police? Where did you find this?” Richard asked genuinely shocked.
“You didn’t? Oh my God. This must be some sort of a perverted prank. I found it under the bed on the floor, as I leaned down to get my slippers. No no. We shouldn’t make much of it. What’s done is done. We will see if this happens again.” Sarah said.
Richard was about to throw it away but Sarah took the page from him and placed it deep in her jewellery box. They both thought about it for a few days but as time passed and no other such letter was found, they both pushed the matter away in their minds.
Economic recession effected many families in the country but Sarah and Richard were the fortunate ones. Sarah got promoted to an editor’s position in her publishing company. She had no trouble in trying to manage work with married life. Richard was given many big projects in his architectural firm. They soon got good news when a pregnancy test gave a positive result. They made themselves busy planning and decorating the nursery. Later in the ultrasound test, Sarah found out that she was going to have twins. By the time the birth took place, the nursery was fully furnished, complete with the two identical cots. Richard and Sarah prepared their lives for the new responsibility of parenthood. As time passed away, they both matured. Richard seemed content but Sarah felt disconnected with her inner-self. Many times at night she would wake up and watch television and slept half of the day away. Richard was not oblivious to it, but he chose to give her space. One night Richard decided to talk to Sarah.
“Hey, sweetie. Having trouble sleeping?” Richard asked Sarah at 2 a.m. in the night. She was lying on the sofa in the living room.
“No. I just wanted to think,” Sarah replied.
“And what are we thinking?” Richard asked.
“Just about the kids.”
“Hm…. Well we will all appreciate if Mama starts to think more in the morning and sleep at night?”
“Yes. Mama could try that.” Sarah said as she took Richard’s hand and went into the room.
The next morning Sarah woke up early, plastered a smile on her face and made her family breakfast. She had been on a leave for a few months. She couldn’t make herself leave her precious kids at home with a nanny or at a day care. Two beautiful boys. Jacob and Dennis. Richard picked up Jacob in his lap as he sat down to eat breakfast.
“Here you go, Dennis.” Sarah handed her child a milk bottle.
“Sarah, dear. This is Jacob.” Richard said.
“Oh I mix them so much.”
“Why do you-” Richard sighed and continued, “How can you-” He stands up breathing heavily, places Jacob in his baby seat. He rubs his face with his hands, calming down his exasperate self. Sarah was looking at him with a bright smile, he turned to face her and said”Just take care of Jacob. I have a meeting today.”
After changing hurriedly, Richard kissed Jacob and Sarah’s cheeks and said goodbye. Sarah busied herself with chores and was puzzled to see a young girl entering her house. What troubled her was that Richard had hired a nanny without telling Sarah. She felt very angry. She had taken leave so that her children wouldn’t be brought up in a stranger’s care. After an argument with Richard on the phone, Sarah decided to let it be. Richard had seemed strangely evasive and defensive. In a matter of days Sarah could see that the nanny wasn’t doing her job well. She would hear Dennis crying all the time in the nursery. Many times she went there to stare at his empty crib. After a week, even with a lot of trying on her part Sarah found herself unable to sleep at night. She stood up to stare at herself in the mirror in the dark; she hadn’t aged much since her wedding. She leaned on the table and the jewellery box fell down. And a page fell from it along with her rings. She stared at the page for a while until she remembered that perverted account of their wedding someone had written about her marriage. She decided to read the letter again. As she went to turn the light on, she was shocked to see the words were different. It was the same page, but the words were different. This time the letter was about their life after the wedding.
In the letter, the writer had explained her life completely differently. Sarah in it had become pregnant with twins but a child died soon after birth and she gave birth to only one child. Torn apart from the grief, Sarah spent her days and nights drinking. Her absence had caused her being fired from her job. Richard sympathized with Sarah but he never made sure that she overcame her grief. He was too much involved with his own life. Sarah felt horrified over the story. Even more horrified. How could someone kill off her child like that, even in words. Her Dennis. The star of her life. She folded the paper and placed it again in the box and tried to sleep.
Years had been passed away since Richard and Sarah’s marriage. They celebrated their tenth anniversary with friends and family. Later at night, they both sat to remember the times they had gone through. Sarah had gone through a difficult phase in life. But when she got pregnant again, she felt like her old self. She gave birth to a beautiful girl, Emily who was now four years old. Sarah felt like the empty whole in her heart was filled now. Sarah sighed as she snuggled closer to Richard who had a beer in one hand and the other arm around Sarah’s waist. But at night when everyone in the house fell asleep, Sarah woke up from a nightmare. As she sat up to sit on the bed, she suddenly remembered the letter. Sarah rushed to find that old jewellery box, and took the letter out quickly. Under the lamp light she read the new update on the false ugly account of Sarah.
The Sarah in the letter was now happy despite her mental turmoil still not rested. After years of therapy she was able to be normal again. She had gone to community college to study Biology and now was a high-school teacher. The other Sarah was happy with her life. Two kids and husband. Richard had always been content with Sarah and tolerated her during her rough times only because he had been able to carry off a couple of affairs to keep himself sane. The letter seemed a bit less cruel but still not true. How did the letter get changed? She contemplated that for a few days until she got busy as the school year came to an end.
Sarah had decided to not dye her grey hair and soon her head was a shimmering white in the sunlight. All her children had gone away, living their lives. She lived alone with Richard in the same house that they had bought at their marriage thirty years ago. Many people at her age had a life full of regrets and a bucket full of broken dreams. Sarah lived her life content as a high-school teacher. She was now happier than ever because Richard had decided to retire from his job to spend time at home. They would spend every moment together except when Sarah went to school to teach. On a whim, she decided to read that wretched letter again. She took the letter and went to sit in the easy chair in the garden with Richard, she smiled at the empty chair next to her as she started to read. Sarah in the letter was an old lady now; in ohysical looks she had aged gracefully and in seldom days when she felt happy, she tried her best to do her share of good deeds to contribute positively in the society. Sarah loved her children and grandchildren and cherished those moments when they visited her, who had pity in their eyes and sympathy for her. Richard had passed away in the letter, leaving Sarah alone, miserable and deluded at their home.
After reading the letter, Sarah was puzzled. She shook her head as she drank her coffee, listening absentmindedly to Richard talking and thought, why would the letter be so right yet so wrong about her life? And why would someone persist in writing something like this all these years?