Four. We hid four angry letters. She and I did. Under a rock. Safe from anyone’s eyes. Our secret. Safe between us.
Pain gouged deep in the spaces between words, squeezed between final words and exclamation points. Boils pussing out of each strike of the typewriter key.
Bitter held decades long. Back to baby years and “I heard you say it! Don’t deny!” That sort of thing. “She heard too.” Naming witnesses and children’s children. Lineage of pain.
She and I, our eyes, shock-filled. Surprised and sad at ugly pain written back and forth. Neither relenting their position. Firm in their choler, a plague of hatred.
“No one ever sees these.”
“Do we burn them?”
“Hide them. Keep them.” Wisdom, 40 years younger.
“Yes. Of course.” Agreeing to recording a history of some familial significance. But what purpose? As leverage? So we never forget?
The latter. To learn.
How not to treat family.