The Message

A short story about a girl dealing with the effects of world war two on her family. She tells the story of her brother's message to her.


3. Letter

As I was darning, I reached out and picked up the letter, the italic writing of my brother on the envelope. After checking that Mother or Irene weren’t around, I abandoned my stockings and got the letter out, just to read it again. However, as I pulled it out, another piece of paper fluttered to the ground. Picking it up, I saw it was Red’s writing, but less neat, as if he wrote it in haste. Intrigued, I threw my needle and thread to one side and read:



The reason I wrote this separately is so Mother & Father don’t read it.

I wanted to tell you that I will be coming home on leave soon to visit you. But don’t tell anyone as I want it to be a surprise!

Edi, I am going to be honest: Life is hard. I can’t promise when the war is over I will be unharmed. But if you get that telegram, move on, live your life, but don’t forget me. Love Red xx


I could hear Red so well in the words, like he sat next to me, chatting, laughing. I thought of the telegram and a tear rolled down my cheek as I clutched the letter. I had never felt close to Mother and Father; Mother is too shrill and Father is always on the farm. It’s not that we aren’t friends, it’s just that he prefers his animals and I prefer my books. Irene and I have never got on and my other sister, Deirdre, left home after she got married. I was always closest to my brother. I accept that, when the wars over, maybe he will meet a nice woman and probably move house.

It’s just the idea of that telegram.

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