The Letter - a fiction short story
Michael Kingston, Esquire, walked into the foyer of his Park Avenue apartment and saw the mail laying on the hall table. On top was a pale pink envelope with a post-it note marked "importante" in his housekeeper, Maria's writing.
He shuffled through the mail and came back to the pink envelope with "importante" posted on it. "Attorney Michael Kingston" was written across the pale pink envelope. Nothing more, just his name and title were written, no address, no stamp. Must have been hand delivered he mused. The handwriting was vaguely familiar but he couldn't place it. He put the pink envelope on top of the other mail and walked into the library.
He tossed the mail on his favorite chair and walked over to the bar. He needed a quick drink of bourbon before he read his mail. This had become his habit each night when he returned home from the firm.
The pale pink envelope interested and intrigued him. That handwriting - somewhat familiar - oh well, and he drained the glass of bourbon and poured himself another.
What a day it had been he thought. It started at five am when he awoke and here it was ten pm.
He had worked out as usual in his private gym across the hall from the apartment. He had put that in the empty apartment across from him when he moved here making the entire floor private to him. After working out he had showered and met the firm's car which drove him to the office. He barely had time for a cup of coffee. He had arrived at the law firm around seven am and had gotten some work done before all hell had broke loose around eight am at Kingston, Kingston, & Mitchell.
One of their most prominent and wealthy clients had been murdered during the night and the office had been in an uproar. Michael, next, was in the firm's car on his way to console the new widow. The police and FBI had been there wanting to question the widow. Michael was trying to run interference to delay the questioning until the firm knew what had happened. Who had killed him? Why had the man been killed?
Then, Michael had contacted some PI's to do some nosing around in the man's life and business dealings. He had smoothly headed off the police's questioning of the widow until the next day or two.
When he had returned to the office he went through the man's client file to see what he could discover there. The media was calling with questions which he ordered his assistant to deflect. There was no way he could talk to the media without knowing more . . .
His thoughts were interrupted by a soft knock on the door and saw his latest girlfriend, Marilyn, in a beautiful, short and revealing nightie walk in. She passionately kissed him on the lips.
"You're exceptionally late tonight, love." she said quietly and coyly.
"Really bad day at the office," said Michael as he drew her close and kissed her back. Then, he drank the last bit of bourbon in his glass. Marilyn took his glass and returned it to the bar.
"Mmm, coming to bed? Perhaps I can do something about that bad day you've had," said Marilyn in her throaty voice that promised more than just a massage.
God, she was beautiful, thought Michael. "I'll be in shortly. I have to go through the mail. You go along and warm the bed for me," said Michael as he winked at her.
Marilyn gave a little pout and flounced out of the room closing the door behind her. She knew Michael liked his privacy when he first returned home from work. Michael chuckled - he'd warm her up as soon as he finished with the mail.
Michael picked up the pale pink envelope and ran it by his nose - hmm scented - the wisp of a scent was familiar too. He looked at the handwriting again and then slid the opener along the top edge of the envelope. He took out a two page letter on the same scented pale pink paper. He unfolded it and began to read.
It has been ten years since we last spoke and saw one another. I wouldn't write to you now if it wasn't important or I wasn't desperate for help.
Yes, I need your help, Michael, and so does someone else - our son, Matthew. Yes, we have a son together Michael. When we had that last disagreement that finally broke us up, I was there to tell you I was pregnant with our child. But, after your chilling words, "I have an important career to look forward to in law, and I can't have you clinging to me - I can't have an albatross around my neck . . ." I decided to walk away and not tell you about the baby. I would raise our child alone. I would not be an albatross around your neck and neither would our baby.
And, I have done that for the last ten years. Yes, Matthew is ten years old today. I have enclosed a photo - he looks like you - same dark hair and warm brown eyes. He has your lips.
The last ten years with Matthew have been a delight and I've known love like I never dreamed I ever would. He is the light of my life; the center of my heart and soul.
And, he does know about you and that you are his father. I felt it necessary to tell him when I found out my medical diagnosis. I have liver cancer and I am not expected to live much longer. We have tried everything - radiation, chemo, surgery, and diet, but it seems this cancer is not going to give up.
And, so, Matthew needs you now, Michael. He needs his father. How much time do I have left? A few weeks to maybe two months. Both my parents are gone and as you know, I was an only child. Matthew is going to need you now - he has no one else to care for him or take him in.
Perhaps I should have told you long ago that you had a son, but I didn't want to bother you. You had made yourself clear how you felt about me and I suppose I wanted to keep Matthew to myself and have my own love in my life. I never thought I could or would die so soon when Matthew was still a child. I know now how selfish I have been towards you and most of all to Matthew. I should have contacted you long ago with the news you had a son.
I know you have a large, important life with the prestigious Kingston, Kingston & Mitchell law firm. I've followed your career in the papers and news reports all through the years. We can do a DNA test to confirm paternity if you wish, but Matthew is your son. You know you were the only man I was with.
I don't know about your personal life now or how a ten year old boy would suddenly fit into it. I don't want to see Matthew in a foster home or an orphanage. He is bright, intelligent and with a great personality - he is loving and good, Michael. He needs his father now and for always.
I am slipping away - here is my phone number - 202-543-0101 - please, can we meet you in Central Park, by the lake on the west side? I want to introduce Matthew to you and you to him.
Please think about what I have written. I know it must be a shock to you. I ask nothing for me, but I ask you to take Matthew into your heart and into your life in this sad and difficult time. He needs you.
Michael sat in the library with tears in his eyes. Shocked he was - and stunned. He and Lisa had a son together. A ten year old son. Michael didn't know what to think. He read the letter again. He felt numb. He couldn't conceive the idea of a son. It was so foreign to him and to his lifestyle. And, Lisa, out of the blue writing to him. He had only thought of her once or twice over the years. He had certainly not been pining for her.
But, somewhere in the deep recesses of his heart, he suddenly realized Lisa was the love of his life. When they broke-up, there had been the tensions and stresses of law school. He had been trying to be named editor of the law review at Harvard at the time. And, he and Lisa had a great blow-up. After the break-up, he had meant to call her - to see her and explain and apologize for his cruel words. He hadn't really meant what he had said to her.
But,one thing lead to another - he made law review editor and his free time became less and less with the editorship, law school and a law internship. Lisa faded from his view and faded from his life in his all consuming ambition to be the best. But, she had been the one. He didn't realize that until now and a string of girlfriends later. No one filled the void, filled the empty hole in his heart.
Marilyn, too, was just another pretty girl in a long string of pretty girls he had dated. She was sweet and the sex was great, but as far as a fulfilling relationship - no - there was no real intimacy there. He had known subconsciously all along that he truly loved Lisa. He knew it was why he was still single.
Michael got up and poured himself another bourbon. He sipped it slowly as he thought and as he looked over the letter.
Lisa who had made him laugh, who had lifted his soul, who had loved him so completely, who was always there for him, who was so real, sincere and genuine - and he never had appreciated her. He had taken her for granted. He had taken it all for granted.
Why hadn't he looked her up after he graduated? joined the firm? His father was always pushing gorgeous models at him, hoping he'd pick one and marry. He, was, after all thirty-four years old. It was time to settle down with a woman and have some children, his father said. He had played the field long enough. How ironic to find out now that he had a son; a grandson for his father.
He was on the fast, successful tract and felt he had to continue on that course for the good of the firm. For the good of the family. What had the firm ever done for him besides give him a gargantuan work load.
And, Lisa, cute Lisa with the upturned nose and splashing of freckles across her cheeks and nose. Her beautiful green eyes that were so focused on him; always knowing just what she wanted. How could he have turned her away?
Now, here she was dying of liver cancer. And with a son - their son. Who would have thought all these years that Lisa had been raising their son. A son - I have son. Michael was amazed. He was amazed at the feelings that were rising to the surface. His long, lost feelings for Lisa and the good feeling he had in realizing that he had fathered a son. Someone that was a part of him, his flesh and blood. It sent wonderful tingles up his spine. But, he was devastated by Lisa's medical diagnosis. Life was so unfair. He'd have to check into her diagnosis and see what he could do for her. He was saddened at how things had turned out between them.
Michael drained his glass of bourbon and let the rest of the mail slip to the floor. Funny how one pale pink letter could change his entire life. He smelled the scent of the letter. Yes, it was Lisa's scent. He looked again at the photo of Matthew. He did look a bit like him, but the big smile was Lisa's. He had Lisa's smile.
Michael folded up the letter and locked it in the right hand drawer of his desk, turned out the light in the library and walked to the bedroom.
He took off his clothes and got into bed; Marilyn rolled over and kissed him on the cheek, "Hi, sweetie," she said half asleep. "Don't forget - lunch tomorrow at Gretna Green," she mumbled in her sleep.
"No, not tomorrow," said Michael. I have an important meeting in Central Park - I can't make our lunch date tomorrow," said Michael and he turned out the light.
Continuation of The Letter
- The Letter Part II - a fiction short story
And the changes continue in Michael and Matthew's lives.
© 2013 Suzette Walker