Hero of War (Part 23)

A/N: Almost at the end; just a few more parts to go! 😀

The weight of the paper in my hands immobilizes me. I look down at the envelope.

The world around me fades until only the beautiful lettering of my name remains. The curvature of the cursive a’s and d and m is flawless, as though it had been practiced– written and rewritten– countless times. I can almost feel the strokes of the pen moving across the paper, gripped tightly in her right hand.

The ink is smudged at the end of the address, probably from the side of her palm brushing against the rough textured surface of the clean white envelope.

My fingernail finds the flap on the back and hesitates before peeling it away. The corner lifts easily, slowly followed by the rest of the thick yet delicate paper.

Inside the envelope sits a single folded sheet of computer paper. It is saturated with black ink, visibly smudged in certain areas.

I pick it up as though it is the wing of a butterfly– so delicate it may disintegrate between my fingers. Unfolding it slowly, my ears listen to the crinkling of the paper, loud in the suddenly quiet recovery room.

My eyes read the words, listening to her voice in my head. I imagine her seated at a desk, writing each word as slowly and carefully as she had written my name.

The entire room disappears behind the stained paper. Her words flow in my veins, becoming as vital to my body as the pounding of my heart.

For the first time since her death, I don’t feel the gnawing grief in my chest. It feels as though the hole is being filled with the hope in her words.

For the first time since her death, the tears I cry are ones of joy.

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