For Evelyn’s eyes only

May 14th, 1966

Dear Katie,

It’s funny to think how a little thing like eye color could change everything. Alright, maybe it isn’t so funny.

I hope it doesn’t say anything bad about me, but if things had turned out differently, I wouldn’t be writing this letter. I hoped I would never have to, but you’re a girl now and nearly a woman. I’m doing it knowing full well that Joshua just doesn’t have the stomach. I don’t blame him. I’m only doing it because even though the truth can hurt, you still deserve to know it.

Like I said, I planned to give you this letter when you’re a girl, nearly a woman. My cowardice might make me wait longer, but the reason I’m writing it in a letter is so that it’s at least never too late for you to hear it straight from me, in case something should happen to me before I decide to tell you in person.

I’m going to hide this in the very bottom of the pantry, attached to my Olivetti typewriter, the same colors as your eyes. It’ll be where Joshua can’t reach, but you can. I like to think about you finding it some night when you’re helping him make dinner.

When I was 15, I ran away from home to live in the city. Joshua was 15 too and working for his parents in a musical instrument repair shop. I was heartbroken before I met him, and sometimes people stay heartbroken forever, but God smiled down on me, and I didn’t have to. I knew right away he was the only one for me.

The reason I ran away from home was because my parents wanted to send me away. You were conceived the moment I lost my virginity, and they thought I should be put into a convent. I loved your father very much, but when his parents found out, they moved him across the country, and I would never see him again.

It killed me when your father moved away, and when my parents said they wanted to send me away too, that’s when I ran off to the city. That’s when I met Joshua, the very next day. He could clearly see I was pregnant, but it didn’t stop him from falling in love with me. He said he would always be there, and he would raise you like you were his own. He said he would protect you, teach you, and do the best he could to provide for you. I knew then that nothing could separate us.

My mother almost didn’t let us get married, but Joshua’s father happened to agree with it, and he’s a very persuasive man. Joshua worked for enough money to open up an auto repair shop, I had you, and we made the apartment above the garage a nice place for you to grow up.

When you were a baby, I thought if your eyes turned brown, we’d never have to tell you he wasn’t your father by blood. For weeks after you were born, I watched the storm clouds of your infant eyes clear up to something clear as glass and blue like ice. You had your father’s eyes, and if you were ever wondering why, now you know.

I knew nothing could separate us, but I just realized that if you’re reading this, it means something has. Joshua was the love of my life, but now that I’m gone, he’s going to be the love of yours. I know you’ll take good care of him, as I know he’s taken such good care of you.

All this may come as a surprise or maybe you were clever enough to guess something was off. Whatever the case, as my last piece of advice- Don’t let the surprises of life make you love it any less.

Love always,

Mom

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