Awaiting the nine o’clock mail delivery outside my house became my only source of excitement. Most kids my age were getting their last bit of summer debauchery in before the real world came knocking on their door. Their jobs would lickety-split replace do-nothingness. Graduation for most kids signified the beginning of adulthood and true independence but a childhood was something I never had the opportunity to experience. That was not for kids like me. My only life preserver now would be a sealed, addressed envelope from Northview Institute.

Just around the corner I saw the red and white mail truck inching closer. I clenched my eyes tightly and crossed my fingers behind my back for good measure. Bruce jumped out of the truck, onto the ground and gushed, “Looks like you got a letter today, Nancy!” Nonplussed I said nothing. It’s the safest choice in times like these…

“Well come and get it girl!” His impatient tone quickly snapped me out of my train of thought. “I got more deliveries today!” Grabbing the envelope, I looked and saw the Northview Institute insignia.

Bruce beamed as he crawled back into his truck. I held onto the letter. It couldn’t have gotten any closer to my chest.

Anticipation was quickly blackened by verity. Something I dreamt about since I was a little girl may now occur. It would mean leaving my kaylied mother to pickle alone in her insatiable addiction. What was in that packet could be my way out. Was I wrong to be excited about the prospect?

Entering my apartment, I saw my mother with a gash on her forehead. In a drunken stupor she had fallen once again. I threw my unopened letter on the table. I soberly realized she may be too troubled for me to leave just now. It’s an undesigned bridge, it’s one I can not cross. What is held within the envelope would have to remain a mystery. Because woe would surely overshadow any possible future held within the paper and glue. Some things are better left unopened. Are they not?

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Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
5 months ago

A sad, sad story, Melissa. Part of me is calling out and telling Nancy to open the letter and the mysterious contents will allow her to live a future she deserves, and yet, if she did she would be too consumed with guilt to enjoy it. Beautifully written and my heart goes out to her  ? 

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
5 months ago

Very sad and very powerful, Melissa. With Nancy, the reader was anxiously waiting for the letter to arrive to see if her dreams would be fulfilled. By making Nancy leave the letter unopened, and the story open-ended, you make us want to know what will happen to Nancy now. Will she stay and take care of her mother and forget about her dream? Will she join a meeting for co-dependent family members of alcoholics and get help to break out? After having missed out on her childhood, she certainly deserves something better than to stay and witness her mother’s self-destruction. You see that your story makes the reader feel involved and concerned, and this shows that your story is working, Melissa!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
5 months ago

This is a heartbreaking story Melissa. I want so much for your protagonist to break free, but their are many who can’t. Well written and nicely paced. Well done.

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