Thursday, June 23, 2011

Red Writing Hood: The Letter

      This week's assignment from the Red Dress Club was to write a piece of "flash fiction"--300 words or less using the word LIFE for inspiration. I'm revisiting the story of Michaela, a young widow I've been writing about. You can read previous pieces by clicking on the page above marked The Story of Michaela.

 The Letter

 Michaela tossed the bills on the desk, dropped the junk mail in the recycling bin, and opened the last piece of mail. It was a handwritten letter on inexpensive stationary with a return address she didn’t recognize. A baby picture fell out when she opened the envelope.

Dear Mrs. Russell,

            I was sad to hear about Mr. Russell’s passing last year. I wanted to write back then but I didn’t know what to say. He was the best teacher I ever had. Most teachers passed me along from one grade to the next—whether I deserved it or not. I was one of those kids who always did just enough to get by. My parents worked two jobs so they were too busy and tired to make sure I was doing my work.
            Mr. Russell was different. He wouldn’t accept second-rate work. He knew I could do better. He made me believe if I worked harder I could make something of myself. I was a c-minus student as a freshman. By senior year I had a b-plus average. That wouldn’t have happened without Mr. Russell pushing me.
            Three years ago I earned my teaching license and a classroom of my own. Once in a while I hear Mr. Russell’s words coming out of my mouth and I know I’m doing something right.
Last week my wife and I had our first child. I thought about giving him the middle name Peter. But it just didn’t sound right since your husband was always Mr. Russell to me. We named our son Joseph Russell Alves. I hope you don’t mind.

Joe Alves