Flash Fiction

Letting Go

Anna sat starting at the three envelopes and several pieces of blank paper. “Make a mental note to fire yoga instructor,” her brain said to herself. Sighing, she grabbed a pen and a sheet of paper. Write with reckless abandonment she thought. “Easier to write with a shot down,” she said. Taking a deep breath, she could feel a battle of wills coming on. The one that wanted let go and the one that wanted to hold on. She was rooting for the one that wanted to let go even though the one who didn’t want to let go usually won. “It’s time. Do this for your own good.” But Anna couldn’t put pen to paper yet. She had to recount in her head why her yoga instructor said this would be good for her.  Closing her eyes, she could see her instructor.

“You need closure Anna. Do this and start fresh,” she heard him say. “Write these letters and let go.”
“And if they come back?”
“Know that you have said everything you want and then burn it. Let it go.
There was that pesky phrase again.
Let it go.
Why did she have to let go? She was perfectly content holding on and pondering reasons why. Sighing, Anna opened her eyes. Who was she kidding? She wasn’t perfectly content. She wanted to let go. She wanted to move on. She wrote the words Dear Brian and then stopped. Tapping the pen on the paper, she didn’t know if she could say what she wanted to say. Would it be too much? Would it be too little? Would it even be enough? By simply writing three letters, could she attain this so called closure? If she told any of her friends what she was about to do they’d laugh at her. Maybe even ask if she was on drugs. Writing a letter and expressing how you feel didn’t give closure. It gave you an unwanted paper trail of how you felt for a person. It was hard evidence that you once cared for even loved someone. Anna knew this was her out though. She knew that she had so much emotion left over from her past that it was affecting her present and her future. She just wanted to be in the present. In the moment. She knew that by writing these letters that she would finally be able to let go of all the crazy hopes and dreams that you get when you fall for someone. That she would finally be back to reality and herself. Sighing, she balled the piece of paper up and tossed it across the room. She could feel herself procrastinating. It was something she did very well. It was something that she had promised herself that would stop. Closing her eyes, she inhaled slowly and found herself in the moment.  You can do it a voice said from somewhere inside of her. Believe that you can do it. It’s time to let go. Knowing what she had to do, Anna put pen to paper and begin to write.
Dear Brian,
It’s been a while I know. Okay, so it’s been like six years really. My yoga instructor seems to think by writing you this letter, I’ll get closure. I can hear you in my mind already…yoga instructor, are you nuts? Not that I really need any closure, you did dump me. I’ve moved on from that. Doesn’t seem like it, but I have moved on. I am actually writing to say thank you. So thank you. For what you ask? For making me stand up for myself. For making me realize that I can have what I want and what I need. For making me believe in myself and giving me the courage to be who I am. Thank you for stifling my creativity because it only grew stronger. Thank you for always saying that I couldn’t do things because it made me realize I could do whatever I wanted to do. Thank you for being a negative person and letting me see that people aren’t as disgusting as you thought they were. Thank you for being jealous of my niece and my godson because I loved them more for it. Thank you for creating a love and creativity in me through your negativity. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Anna.
Anna folded the letter and placed it in the envelope as relief washed over her. She had forgotten that she held hostility towards Brian. She had been ignoring it for so long because she was angry that she had spent her heart on him only to realize that he sucked the life out of her in the end. She remembered the feelings now and she let them know that they were no longer needed. Pulling it back out, she read it to herself. It felt good and felt right to say those things. She looked at the letter one last time, put it in the envelope again, and sealed it shut. Addressing the envelope, she felt herself smile. Putting a stamp on the envelope, she set it aside. “There.  I let you go.” Looking at the envelope, Anna drew a smiley face where the return address would have gone. Lighting the candle on her desk, she held the piece of paper with Brian’s address in the flame until it burned into a black ember. “Now, I truly let you go.” Settling into her chair, Anna nodded in satisfaction. “One down, two to go.” The next two letters would be her hardest. She was positive they would be emotionally draining and would bring emotions that she didn’t want to know still existed inside her. She had perfected ignoring those emotions and the others that crept and lived around her heart. It kept the pain away but sometimes made her feel alone. Standing, she walked into her kitchen and poured a glass of red wine. Looking around her apartment, she sighed. Not only was she getting closure on her emotional life, she was going to finally be getting closure on moving into her brand new house. Packing was not something Anna had enjoyed, but she had enjoyed tossing things that were old and reminded her of her past. She guessed it was the yoga class she had started that kicked her mental awareness into high gear, but whatever it was, she sorted of liked the new feeling that was awakening in her and that was the feeling of happiness. Inhaling the bitter aroma, Anna could feel her courage balancing on a fine line of being a complete chicken and heroic bravery. She hoped with the wine that heroic bravery was near even though she highly doubted it. Taking a drink of the wine, she let the warm and bitter liquid burn her throat as it slid down. Raising the glass to her lips again, she downed half the glass. She could hear all the wine connoisseurs in the world collectively gasp in horror at what she did. Pouring herself another glass, she took it and the bottle back to her desk. “Here we go,” she said to herself. Once again, she put pen to paper and began to write with reckless abandonment brought on by the liquid courage of wine.
Dear Nick,
There are so many things that I have wanted to say to you. I just never found the courage until now. I’ll admit the wine helps. Don’t think less of me because I indulge myself on alcohol. You use to so you should be able to understand how sometimes you need that extra push. That extra little courage. It’s in you all along, but sometimes outside stimulants help you see it. Tonight, my outside stimulant is the wine, and knowing that tonight I am finally telling you that I love you. I fell in love with you through your poetry and your rhymes. It sparked creative juices in my soul. Made me want to be a better person. Made me want to be sitting there listening to your soul, your songs. The moment I realized my feelings was when I first laid eyes on you. I was so nervous I could barely walk much less breathe. Being with you I realized that I didn’t have to sacrifice what I wanted and what I needed for love. From you, I realized what I wanted. I learned that true chivalry exists and that being in the presence of creative and positive people brightens one’s soul. It drives into one’s soul. You taught me not to fear. You taught me who I was. You made me wish on a million stars and toss a million pennies into wells. You made me dream again and believe again. I will always love you for all that you have given me and I will always hold a special place in my heart for you. Love always, Anna.
Putting the pen down, Anna wiped her eyes. Damn the watershed that lived behind her tear ducts. Sniffling, she wiped her tear stained face with the back of her hand. She leaned back in her chair, pulled her knees to her chin, and rested her head on them. She remembered walking down a quiet street with Nick where a small waterway was ahead of them. They both had said it reminded them of Venice, even though neither of them had ever been there. The houses on the street were grand and the walk was perfect. Just the two of them walking side by side, sharing their feelings, thoughts, and dreams. It’s what movies hoped to capture on celluloid. It was one of her fondest memories of being with Nick. He made her walk on the inside of the sidewalk and when she asked why; he simply said that if a car came crashing towards them, it would hit him first.  t was at that moment Anna knew what it was like to be near a true gentleman. Sighing, she wiped her tears away and folded the letter. Addressing the envelope as she did before, she sealed it and then burned the piece of paper with the address on it. “One more to go,” her voice cracked. “Then it’ll be over.” Taking a drink of the wine, she closed her eyes and tried to picture the past, but al she could see was black. She took that as a sign that her yoga instructor wasn’t crazy and that this purging of the soul was actually working. Opening her eyes, she took one more drink of wine and poised herself to write the last letter.
Dear Scott,
Do you even remember me? The time we collectively spent together amounted to only a few hours. Short enough to be forgotten by most but just long enough to be seared into my memory forever. Oh the things I said to you. I’m sure if I were a cartoon character my head would turn into that of a jackass that would be neighing its little heart out. What can I say though? I had to tell you my feelings. My parents taught me courage and truth and through that I learned self-humiliation isn’t always bad. I remember the exact moment I saw you. You were wearing a black long sleeve shirt, dark denim jeans, and standing across the room and I was at the bar waiting for a much needed drink. When I saw you standing there, it felt like a light came out of the heavens and shined upon you. Then everything around me fell silent and the only two people standing in this darkness were you and I. And I was stone cold sober! I remember feeling this odd calm come over me and as the night went on all I cared about was knowing your name. When I asked my dad how he knew my mom was the only one for him, he answered, I just knew. When I saw you, I just knew you were my soul mate. You pierced into my heart and my mind. You invaded my dreams, snuck into my thoughts, bled into my heart, and became a part of my waking days and sleeping nights.   spent countless wishes and prayers hoping you felt the same way. Wondered if you felt the same. I wanted it to be like the movies. And all we shared were sentences that could be written on the back of an index card. When in your presence, I felt at peace and that I could be a blithering idiot or a poet laureate and you would like me either way. I created you over in stories and on paper. I tried to express what you made me feel, what you did to my heart and soul, but I couldn’t capture it. I have this mental picture of you and the few words we shared and that is all. And after all this time, I sometimes think it’s a false memory and that you didn’t exist. Would I recognize you if you bumped into me on the streets? All this for a man who only hugged me once. Maybe twice. All this for a man I don’t even know. You touched me deeply. Awakening my thoughts and dreams of love. Thank you for being the one…for being the one who made me feel alive…for being the one who made angels sing and golden lights rain down. Thank you for existing in my life if only for a few collective hours.  Love, Anna.
Folding the letter, she took a deep breath. She didn’t want to cry over that letter like the second one. It may have not seemed as emotional, but it hit Anna’s heart like a drum. She could see Scott’s smile in her memory and remember the way her heart ached for him. Now she was letting go of him. It hurt her to think that she wasted wishes and prayers on something she could never have. Sealing the envelope, she slowly wrote the address on it and burned the original piece of paper. Stamping the last two letters, she pushed them away from her. She had done it. She had spilled her heart and soul on paper. Maybe they would be read or maybe they would end up at the bottom of someone’s mail pile. Anna couldn’t guess anymore. She didn’t want to guess anymore. Letting go had won. She was moving on.

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