Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

A short story I wrote at school
For the Valentine's competition :)


1. Parting is such sweet sorrow


I sat in the bitterly cold room alongside my family. We huddled round the fire; desperate for warmth. The flames rolled lethargically over the thick, solid logs, englufing them in it’s warmth. The oil lamps flickered, making our shadow’s dance, distorting them. A silhouette walked past the window; the dark of the night making them unrecognisable.  My head snapped round, like a meerkat looking for danger. The letterbox flew open. The metal lid clattered against it’s frame as four rectangular shapes were thrusted through. They landed on the dusty floor with a slight thump. I slowly rose from my chair beside the door. I crept towards the hallway; my eyes not leaving my family. My footsteps were slight, not attracting the attention of my family, who were too busy chattering about Christmas to notice me. I snuck towards the door; the letters lay there, two white shapes standing out in the gloom of the hallway. I scooped them up, barely making a sound. I shuffled through them, my breath catching in my throat. I found it. The thing that I had anticipated for so long now lay in my hand. The envelope was slightly open, as if the letter was bursting out. The letter from my love. It had been so long since I’d heard from him. I could see the date, printed in thick black ink, shining through the thin envelope. 8th December 1987. It was four days late. Four painfully long days. I breathed a sigh of relief, remembering how time dragged on sluggishly, as if it was taunting me. I remembered how I’d panicked during those four days. My mind was full of worry and heartbreak; I was worried he’d given up on me, found someone else. I was worried that his parents had discovered our secret; that they had punished him, rendering him unable to contact me. None of that mattered now. His letter lay in my hand, the thick envelope a token of his love.

I dropped the remaining letters. They lay in a messy pile. My letter seemed to have a lighter envelope than those, as if it were purer, and more important. I scurried up to my bedroom, tripping over myself in my haste. I flung myself onto my bed, the springs groaning slightly under my weight. My trembling fingers slid under the flap of the enveloping, carefully edging it open. The paper crumpled, ripping more in some places than others. It cut into my skin, but in my excitement I barely noticed the sting. At last, the letter was free. I slid it onto my pillow. I opened it up, my heart pounding like a war drum. My fingers trembled with emotion. I began to read, my eyes travelling over the page. His pulchritundinous handwriting - messy due to his rush to talk to me - spelled out his adoration for me. My eyes glided over the page, some words stood out. His soothing voice echoed in my head, emphasising them further.  His letter was full of love and anger. Love for me. Anger at our situation. Anger at how we can never be together.

Each new line I read brought a new wave of passion over me. Love, anger, desire, bliss. My heart raced and slowed in time with every new emotion. My mind zoomed, urgently trying to make sense of my feelings, but still making sense of the letter. I raked my fingers through my light brown hair; I was in shock at how much influence he has over my feelings.  I was at peace with the world.

As I read, his stunningly beautiful face filled my memory’s eye. His sky blue eyes glittered in the candle light. His chestnut hair shined shades of red and gold. His infectious laugh rang through my mind, his porcelain white skin contrasting brilliantly against his dark hair. He was absolutely perfect in every single way. From his straight jaw to the way he says my name. I had committed every little detail about him to memory; there it would remain forever.

My attention snapped back to the letter. There were ink drops on the page; evidence of his eagerness to express himself to me. This was unusual. He was normally so careful, he took time to get rid of excess ink, not wanting to ruin the appearance of the letter. I scrutinised his writing, hunting for the reason for this carelessness. His use of language got stronger, his words jumped out. His handwriting turned from a striking personal form of calligraphy to a messy scrawl. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. There must be something wrong.

I got off of my bed, taking the letter and envelope with me. I tiptoed over to my wardrobe, my eyes glued to the letter. I fumbled with the door, my fingertips searching for my secret compartment at the back. I unlatched it, taking care to stop the other letters falling out. A part of my mind wandered. It returned to it’s usual worry of my family coming across these letters and knowing my secret.

I froze. The final four words of the letter leapt off the page and into my heart. Four amazing words. Four life-changing words. Four words that had never been said to me; not even by my parents. These four words were the reason for his eagerness. These four words explained everything. These four words made up for the delay in his reply; made up for his messy letter. These four words made hiding things from my parents and the rest of the world worthwhile.

“I love you, Albert.”

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