Dearest,

Yes, please do come. The doctor says I’m up to it. I have slept peacefully each night for several weeks now. No nightmares, no screaming, no bouts of amnesia. You can’t imagine how much better I am!

The villa is small by local standards but just right for me. Great room and dining room with huge windows and wide balconies overlooking the ocean. Dream kitchen, complete with a highly-trained “capocuoco”, a culinary genius. Last night I ate creamy polenta, vegetables roasted with herbs, and sauteed spinach. Mediterranean food! Sumptuous bath and two light-filled rooms upstairs – master bedroom and guest room, where the doctor sleeps. A perfect place for you and me. No empty spaces to fill, no shadows to banish. No nursery.

Yesterday I ventured out to the seaside. It was my first time out of the villa, my first time exploring the world on my own for a very long time. Young children were playing – building sandcastles, laughing, chasing one another. I was finally able to look at them – another first. I actually smiled at a little girl who looked so much like – I still can’t say her name, but the doctor says someday I’ll be able to remember her with love, not guilt. He assures me the accident wasn’t my fault.

Oh my dear, I have been such a burden to you. I see now that neither of us should have had to bear this pain alone. I wish I could have reached out to you, held you close. I am so sorry for disappearing into darkness.

I have an idea, Charles. We can sell our home and buy this villa. I know you’ll miss the cool, misty mornings, the soft rains, our garden, afternoon tea. But those garden paths are imprinted with her footsteps, that house echoes her laughter. There is no comfort there, no sunshine. Please, dear Charlie – I can’t come back.

But you can come here. You’ll learn to love olive oil and pesto and shimmering sunlight. We can start over.

The doctor says I’m ready to live again. Please come soon.

Your Louisa

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Voice-Team
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Voice-Team (@voice-team)
24 days ago

Love and sorrow and hope are mixed beautifully in this story. The good news is muted, but hope-filled. The detailed description gives us a sense not only of the letter-writer’s surroundings, but her state of mind and heart. Every word is crucial! 

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
20 days ago
Reply to  Juma

Congratulations on a well-deserved win, Juma!

Last edited 20 days ago by Melissa Taggart
Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

A beautifully written, bittersweet tale, Juma. You always write with such great sensitivity. Nicely done.

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Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
1 month ago

This is a beautiful story, Juma. Pain and desperation is a shared experience between the reader and protagonist–I think this takes a great deal of skill to accomplish as a writer. There is also an aftertaste of hope here. I hope Charles goes there. I hope your protagonist is able to live a well-rounded and happy life moving forward. Fantastic work!

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
1 month ago

Juma, while reading this I was hoping Charles would accept the offer and go to Louisa. Such a heart-breaking experience they had. You portrayed the heartache and the slow healing process so well.

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
29 days ago
Reply to  Juma

Juma, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head!

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 month ago

I loved reading this letter, Juma. It’s perfectly written in the way your words take us inside the mind of a woman who has suffered deeply but seems to be recovering. We can only guess what has happened, but you let us understand that it is something very serious and with life-changing consequences. This is very impressive writing, Juma!

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei (@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

What a lovely moving story, Juma.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
1 month ago

Juma, what an exceptional talent you have. The letter reveals to us the pain and suffering Louisa has endured but, in turn, there is such hope for the future. And Italy is so well described that I longed to be there! Beautifully written.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
29 days ago

It is so touching and moving. The pain and suffering is well-expressed and well portrayed. Well done on a very sensitive story, Juma. 

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
24 days ago

Congratulations on your win, Juma. A letter that I could read over and over again.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
23 days ago

Congratulations, Juma! A wonderful piece of writing, well worth the first prize.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
23 days ago

Congratulations Juma, a well earned win 🙂

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
23 days ago

Congratulations on a well deserved win, Juma.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
21 days ago
Reply to  Juma

You are welcome, Juma.

Joseph Daunt
Joseph Daunt (@joseph-daunt)
21 days ago

What a beautiful story! Congratulations and very well deserved 🙂 I love the description of the change of life, and how new beginnings can help to recover from trauma.

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