Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the letter (not the one from IMU!)

Anne looked at the unopened letter in her hands. The name on it, slightly familiar yet so strange, seemed to stare at her back in her face, as if challenging her to open it. It wasn't that she didn't want to, but she feared what might be contained in the letter.

It wasn't that long ago, was it?...
The event seemed to have happened just yesterday.
But it felt like an eternity.

She had wanted to forget, but the memories kept flooding back.

Many years ago...

Anne and Jenny were the best of friends. They met in primary school, and cliched as it may sound, they hit it off instantly, did everything together, shared all their secrets, and they lived blissfully in their own world, no one else could join in. Their personalities were by no mean alike. Jenny was the gregarious one, Anne, the quieter of the two. Perhaps it was because they complemented each other so well, the girls got along like a house on fire despite their differences. They even got into the same college in KL, which cemented their friendship further.

It was also at Jenny's 18th birthday party that Anne met Jake.

As a matter of fact, Anne had already known all about Jake long before she met him. Jake was Jenny's latest crush, and Jenny had spared no details telling Anne all about 'her wonderful Jake'. He was a transfer student, had came back to Malaysia after spending his teenage years in Melbourne, spoke with an Aussie twang, was captain of his basketball team back in high school. Jenny invited him to her party via a mutual friend, and Anne could see that she was certainly dressed to impress that night. And Anne could see that Jake was exactly what Jenny liked in a guy: tall, slightly tanned, sporty, outgoing, and absolutely cute to boot! However when she was introduced to him by Jenny, Anne felt that his reaction to Jenny was less than lukewarm. He even seemed to be a little embarrased by all her attentions. And it was Jenny who suggested that Anne take Jake to the garden for 'a little fresh air' while she attend to the other guests.

Somehow, Anne seemed to have made an impression on Jake that night, because the next day, he asked her out for a study date at the library. At first she didn't want to, fearing that Jenny might be mad at her, but surprisingly Jenny seemed to be okay with it. She even asked Anne to sing her praises more in front of Jake. Anne remembered thinking, how nice it must to be Jenny: rich, pretty, gorgeous body...everything was the opposite of herself. Not that Anne was ugly, the truth was far from that, but people would always notice Jenny before herself. Anne decided to play along, she thought she could talk about Jenny the whole time with Jake and he'll see what a great girl Jenny is, and perhaps he'll change his mind...

But surprisingly Anne and Jake 'clicked' together immediately. He loved classical works from Jane Austen, just like her, and he too preferred to relax with a good book instead of partying or clubbing the night away. And there was definitely chemistry. Anne felt herself falling in love with Jake, though the niggling voice at the back of her mind told her not to. And she was pretty sure Jake felt the same way about her. It wasn't long before they became a couple, much to the chagrin of Jenny, but she seemed to come around relatively quickly, and her friendship with Anne suffered no damage. Jenny gave her blessings to the couple, and Anne and Jake were blissfully happy together then.....

It was 6 months into the relationship when Anne got a call from Jake, asking to break up with her.

And the reason?
Jenny was pregnant with his child.
And they were going to marry in 2 weeks' time.

Anne remembered she had responded to the call very calmly. She didn't shout, she didn't cry, she just hung up, softly.

The first thing she did was to talk to her father.
She wanted a transfer.
And she got it.
Ironically, it was to a college in Melbourne, the exact same place Jake had stayed in for years.

She never contacted Jenny nor Jake since that day onwards. The betrayal was too deep for her to maintain any contact with them. She couldn't imagine how they got together. Perhaps Jake had been eyeing Jenny when he and Anne were still a couple? She didn't know. What she knew was, she had to get away. ASAP.

And got away she did.

Perhaps it was for the better that Jake left Anne, for 2 years later she met her future husband, the heir to an international logistics company. He was rich, no doubt, but he was also perfectly sweet, grounded, and responsible. And they loved each other for a year before they got married.

Anne was very happy in her marriage. She and her husband had 2 beautiful kids, and she even had her own fashion label, which enjoyed moderately successful sales from its launch. But she missed Jenny terribly all the time. They had been best of friends for years!

So why was she so afraid of them now? Of her memories?

And why was she so afraid of this letter?

She knew that her best friend had wronged her, but at the back of her mind, she knew she wanted to see her again in this lifetime. She was her best friend, after all.

So Anne opened the letter.

Dear Anne,

I can imagine your surprise when you receive this letter. It was by no easy means that I finally got your address. I know you have deliberately avoided me all these years, and I don't blame you. But Anne, today I must tell you the truth, or I will have no peace of mind.

Anne, do you remember why Jake and I married? He told you I was pregnant with his child, didn't he? My dearest Anne, I know how much that must have pained you. But I had no choice. Anne, the baby I was carrying wasn't Jake's at all. Until today I don't know who my son Tom's biological father is. It happened when I was walking back home from a party near my house. I thought I didn't have to take a cab, it was just a few streets away. But that was the biggest mistake in my life, and I regret it until this day.

Anne, I was raped on my way home.

It was Jake who found me in the small alleyway after the horrible incident. I begged him not to tell anyone, and he promised. But soon after that fateful day I realised I was pregnant. I told Jake, and for some reason he insisted on being 'responsible' for me. He wanted us to get married, and he promised he'll take care of the baby until it grows up. Until today I don't know why he decided to do as he did. Perhaps he felt responsible for not coming across me earlier that terrible day, perhaps he thought he himself could have prevented it. I don't know. But I was scared then, and besides I had always liked him, you know I did, Anne. So I succumbed. We decided to lie to you, I didn't want you to know what I had been through. I know you must have been devastated at that time. Believe me, I was almost torn apart by what I did to you. But I was young and scared then, Anne, I didn't know what else I could do.

The reason I'm writing this to you is because I have been diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. The doctors say there is still hope, and Jake and I have been doing our very best to deal with the illness. But if anything were to happen, Anne, I just want you to know that we're very sorry for how things turned out. I hope you are well. God bless.


Anne stared at the letter for a long while.
The fluttering in her heart began to intensify to a consistent throb.
And slowly, the tears which she couldn't shed 20 years ago, finally fell.


flowerspirit said...

why the story suddenly?

sivaraj R said...


GREAT, i would say.
keep on writing!!! want to see more of it.

take care, and see you soon.

cynthia said...

fspirit: cos the night before I couldn't sleep, i was afraid I'd fail my eos haha so I used the time to think of the plot for this story lo..

siva: thanks thanks! actually I wanted to retaliate after reading your stories and poems muahaha okay just joking, but honestly I prefer your story about the little girl and her lollipop, I felt it was more...artistic =)