I did a little flashy fiction on Sunday. I’ve included the prompt so you can keep up with the idea.
You’re browsing through the shelves of the poetry section at the library. As you select an ancient book of love poems, a note falls to the floor. It is folded into fourths, and yellowed with age. You uncrease it carefully, and settle in to read, discovering it’s an old love letter.
What does it say? Was it ever sent? Tell the story behind the letter.
You find a letter in a book of poetry by William Blake. It is next to the poem,
Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
Ah! she did depart!
Soon after she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
He took her with a sigh. –
The letter reads:
I know you love Blake, and my hope is that you will eventually get to this volume. His words are sweet, but not as sweet as the love I feel for you. I placed it in this volume beside “Love’s Secret.” You understand.
You may never get this, but I can hope, because this is the only explanation I have been able to improvise. I know you must wonder why I disappeared the way I did. Family pressures have become unendurable. I was made to live with my grandparents for some months. I went half mad with worry for you, but I was kept from the telephone and am watched continually. I was only able to contrive this letter because they allow me books from the library, though I am never allowed to go choose them myself. I have been asking for William Blake, though, and this was the best I could do to try and explain.
I am a virtual prisoner. But my heart still aches for you. I fear a marriage is being arranged, and soon I will be sent across the country to live with my new husband, probably in some town on the frontier, rife with danger and far, too far, from you. I am desolate. If only I could see you just one more time, and kiss you goodbye at the very least. But my parents will never understand our love.
Just remember I love you, and always have.
[In a different hand, this addition follows the original letter.]
I have been in an unendurable state since your disappearance. I have shunned all my usual habits; even my reading has fallen away. It has been some years since last we met. I only lately discovered this letter, and my heart again is broken. I have read and reread your words, so fondly I remember you that I can hear your very voice.
Your family has refused to even speak to me, let alone tell me where you have gone or what your name is now.
Perhaps, one day, my dear, you will see this addendum. I live in hope that the fates will once more bring us two together; but if not this life, perhaps the next.
Always your loving
(For more about William Blake, see http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19961#sthash.czEbQSbE.dpuf )