Page 43 - WTP Vol. IX #7
P. 43

 every time, but, Frances, I know darn well you never came in my room just for that reason - even if other people did. Deep down, I always thought it was be- cause you were a friend, a good friend. I know that this year it helped me to tell you some of my problems and when I did tell you, you were always so ready to listen. Those were the times I was nicest to you. I know I was rather mean to you at other times, but it was because something hurt my feelings in some way or another (because I always take things the wrong way). Then I hurt your feelings - and I’m so sorry, Frances. Every- time I do something like that I go in my room and sulk because I liked you so much and I never want to hurt your feelings and then I try to excuse myself by saying I don’t really care about anything that happens at this school, but I really do care.
When you come up to talk to me for no reason at all, it always makes me so happy and then when you don’t talk to me and go away with your friends, I just feel sorry for myself. Then I sort of think of ways to be mean to you - not purposely, but maybe I’m just sort
of jealous because I always want you to talk to me all the time. So you see Frances, the problem lies within myself. None of it is your fault, and I’ve always realized this, but is isn’t very often that I can criticize myself
to people without trying to justify my actions. But I
do understand my faults and I just didn’t want you to think it was ever anything you had done because your a wonderful person, Frances, and I’ll never forget you. I truly love you. It’s really hard for me to say all this, but I have to because I have always considered you my very best friend and I want you to understand before you leave and I never see you again.
I know you will have a good time in New York, and I wish you the best of luck. And I know whoever you meet will think you are a wonderful person like I do and love you like I do. I mean this sincerely.
Love, Martha.”
Frances closes the book, opens it again and rereads the letter, touched and shocked by such an outpour- ing of love and grief, horrified she got the whole thing wrong. In all her life, she has never let herself be so vulnerable. Not with Peter or the children, not even with Jack, the only man who ever drove her crazy in bed. She has never been one to take risks with her heart. Jittery with shame, she shifts in her chair and straightens her back. Her inconstant memory is as fickle as an unfaithful lover. Are all her stories noth- ing but lies? She has no choice but to believe Martha whose words are undisturbed by time, but if Frances
“He’s right. The kids will be ruthless and unsen-
timental, willing to get rid of anything they don’t want. But her daughter is nosy. If she finds Frances’ old love letters or diaries, she’ll read them, and Frances doesn’t want that, even after she’s gone.”
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