Epistles of Endearment

“Charlotte, clean up the shelf fast. I can’t wait till evening” said Dolores. “Yes mom I will try my best to do it but I am getting late for my Zumba class” replies Charlotte. “No Zumba class for you today, clean up then go wherever you want to go” said Dolores angrily. Poor Charlotte, she had to clean up the bigger shelf or else she would miss the fun of her life i.e. Zumba. She was in hurry but somehow completed and the moment she was about to lock the shelf saw a beautifully sealed red envelop.

“Is it done?” asked Dolores.

“Yes mom, shall I go now?

“Yes, you can but come back soon. Your dad and I will visit Paul’s mother.”

Charlotte nodded her head, grab her bag and was about to leave but couldn’t step forward without the red envelop. She secretly kept it inside her bag and left. After ten minutes Charlotte reached her dance class but the trainer was not well thus no class for the day. What Charlotte would do then? She was sad so to quench her sad spirit she went to the local restaurant and ordered a chicken cheese burger with a large cold drink. The order was served. She gave a bite but red envelop ringed her mind. “What should be there in the envelop. It’s so nicely sealed. Let me open it and will seal it back if it’s required” said Charlotte to herself. She unsealed it and found many colorful papers. In her further enquiry she found that those were not just papers but letters. Charlotte couldn’t control her curiosity so started reading the first letter.

“Dear Doll,

                  Hope my letter will make you feel happy and keep your spirit fresh and free. Do you know that yesterday I received first prize in the Salsa competition. It was not that easy, the floor was not smooth and my partner, Rose was very sick. I must thank to our trainer. He taught us to master the rough surface and how to sway and move and be different from all. We just tried to follow his instructions and yes, we did it. I am dying to show you the trophy but can’t meet now as your examinations are going on. I hope during winner vacation you will come. I will show you the trophy and so many things to tell you. Come soon.

                                                                                                                       With love,

                                                                                                                          Antonio”

Charlotte read and felt very happy and thought that in this world there was someone like her who celebrated dancing and then she wondered who that person would be, why that letter was in the shelf? She didn’t know anyone of them. Her curiosity grew and she opened the second letter.

“Dear Doll,

                   How are you doing? I am not doing that good. Actually I was not willing to tell but I must tell you that I am suffering from Pox. Right now I am having high temperature. Mom told me to sleep but I find refuge in writing to you. I wait whole day to get that right time when I can express my feeling to you on the paper. But, I am angry why do you write so little? I wait for your letter every moment. I want you to write more. Hope you are not angry to read my words. I am always worried for you. Hope John is not disturbing you anymore. Next time he does please let me know. I am learning Taekwondo, Korean martial arts will apply on him. Hope Duke is fine. She must be two years old now. I am dying to see you and Duke. Pray for me that I must get healed as fast as possible. I don’t want to sleep all the time. Mom is getting over protective now days. I just want to break free and run away to you. Alright, let me wrap up the letter now as mom is coming this way. God bless you and Duke. Take care. Pray for my quick healing and hope to see you soon.

                                                                                                                        With love,

                                                                                                                          Antonio”

Charlotte truly enjoyed reading that letter and she felt sorry for Antonio as he was suffering from Pox. She could feel the innocent love of Antonio for Doll and at the same time felt happy to read his protective nature. “Antonio is a great guy, I wish I had met him but what does Doll reply to Antonio?” She whispered to herself.  

“Do you need anything else, girl?” asked the waiter. Charlotte replied ‘No’ and asked them if she could sit there at least for an hour more. She got the permission. Charlotte checked that three more letters were left unread and made a plan to read all the three back to back. She opened the third letter.

“Dear Doll,

                 Hope my letter will find you in great health and spirit. I am apologized for not writing to you in last two months as I went for a trip with my Missionary friends. I returned today morning and can’t wait to narrate the whole incident. First of all my parents didn’t allow me to go but after having words with Father Peter they allowed me. It was a memorable journey. I can call it a journey of my life time. We were total ten young people and our two guides. We visited many places and explored the entire areas. We visited slums and gave them food and cloths and also told them about Jesus. Do you know I helped twenty people to receive Jesus as their savior? They were so happy and pleased. They got a new life. We also enjoyed bon fire. We all danced together and had unlimited fun. But, believe me throughout the trip I missed you a lot. I wish you were there. Next time you will come with me. You will get to see many different people, different life style, different culture and their innocence. Doll, I have realized that there is eternal peace in sharing. We will meet soon. Be happy forever.

                                                                                                                         With love,

                                                                                                                         Antonio”

Charlotte spoke to herself ‘I want to meet Antonio. He is not only a great dancer but also a spiritual man.’ Plenty of questions knocked her mind and she was absolutely clueless as she didn’t know who that man was. Her parents never talked about Antonio or Doll. She desperately wished to meet her new found story teller. ‘Doll is so lucky to get such a loving friend, he must be her boyfriend. God, when will you send my Antonio?’ She was actually lamenting then her phone rang  and it was Dolores, her mom. ‘Where are you?

‘I am returning home’ replied Charlotte.

‘Don’t say lies I just had words with your Zumba instructor. ‘

‘Mom, forgive and forget. I am returning now.’

‘Do you have keys?’

‘I do’

‘Great, come home and complete your English assignment. Don’t forget tomorrow is the deadline. Your dad has returned. We are going to Paul’s house.’

‘Okay mom, love you.’

‘Love you darling’

Charlotte returned home as her English assignment was still left to complete. She reached and settled down with her books and copy and switched on the system, wrote something but couldn’t concentrate for a fraction of second. Why? It was Antonio who was wandering in her wildest imaginations. Charlotte shut down the system and decided to read the fourth letter. She began to read.

“Dear Doll,

               How are you doing? Are you afraid? Don’t be, you are my inspiration and my strength. Whatever I am is only for you. I love you very much. I can do anything for you and you know this very well. So, I have taken this decision of elopement and I am glad that you said ‘yes’. Love you from the deepest core of my heart. I promise to protect you as you are the queen of my soul. Don’t worry what your parent will say or relatives. It’s our life so we will live in our own terms. No one can separate us because God is with us. Now listen Andrew knows everything he will visit you soon and will tell you the entire plan. All I need is your trust on me. Yes, there is good news. I have already hired a one room apartment for us. It’s small but peace prevails there. Do as Andrew tell you. See you very soon.

                                                                                                                With Love,

                                                                                                                  Antonio”

‘Antonio eloped with Doll, it’s just wow. He is so brave, courageous and chivalrous. I simple can’t hold my patience. I will talk to dad and mom about these awesome letters. I want to meet Antonio.’ Charlotte said to herself and opened the fifth and the last letter with utmost excitement.

“Dear Doll,

                 Hope you are absolutely fine in both health and spirit. How is our son? Hope he is not disturbing you? I miss you both. My office work is going well. Promising you that as soon as the project will get over I will run to you. I am away from you for a week but trust me I am feeling like a year. Don’t want to stay here for a second but the monster work is keeping us apart. Tomorrow is our son’s parent teacher’s meeting you have to go alone. I am sorry for this. I will return soon and we will go for a short vacation. We haven’t gone anywhere for long time. Okay dear, love you. Take care of yourself and give loads of love to our prince. I will return soon.

                                                                                                                        With Love,

                                                                                                                         Antonio”

Bell rang. ‘Now who is this?’ Charlotte said angrily. Her parents returned from Paul’s house. She was very excited to see her parents as she was getting madly excited to tell about all the letters and ask about Antonio and Doll.

‘Darling, I get so much peace to see you smiling’ said Jason to his daughter Charlotte. For the first time Charlotte felt her father just spoke like Antonio. She was about to ask him but her mom asked,’ have you completed your assignment?’ ‘It’s almost done mom, but I want to ask you both something. Do you…’ ‘No don’t want to hear anything else. Complete the assignment, take your dinner and go back to bed.’

‘But mom, please listen to me…’

‘No’

Jason interrupted, ‘let us hear her words first, Dolores.’

‘Okay, tell’ replied Charlotte’s mom.

‘Dad, who are Antonio and Doll? In the morning while cleaning the shelf I found a red sealed envelope. I sealed them and read all the letters. I am sorry but I couldn’t hold my excitement so I read. Please, mom, dad, tell me about Antonio, I want to meet him and his family too. He has a son too, who goes to school. ‘

Jason laughed and asked, ’Does the son still go to school?’

‘Yes’ replied Charlotte.

‘Show me the letters.’

Charlotte handed the red envelop to Jason. ‘Yes, this is the envelope which we couldn’t find out while shifting. Thank you, Charlotte. It’s your grandpa’s letter to your granny. She gave this envelope to us to keep it safe but we failed’ said Dolores.

‘Grandpa’s name was Richard then..’

‘Yes, but your granny called him Antonio and your Grandpa called her Doll.’

Charlotte became silent, her eyes were moist and with chocked voice she said, ‘ I have always treated Grandpa badly, never showed any respect to him and also wished when he will leave our house but his letters made me fall in love with him. I wish he was alive now then I would tell him how much sorry I am.’

‘It’s okay Charlotte, he is watching you and he loves you’ said Jason.  

Charlotte promised to herself that she would never disrespect anyone but will be helpful and loving. Jason gave those letters to Charlotte. Those were her treasures and stepping stones to be better person. She called Antonio her idol and returned to complete her English assignment.

__________________________________________

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Debanjana Ghatak

Debanjana Ghatak

Debanjana is a dreamer. She finds refuge in her dreams and dwells in her own dream world. Debanjana believes in God and spirituality. She is an ardent lover of nature and animals. She loves to compose poetry and loves to get lost in her own imaginations.
Debanjana Ghatak

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