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The postmaster plonked the mail into the slot in the door. Scooping…

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Watchful and worried.
The postmaster plonked the mail into the slot in the door. Scooping up his bag, he made his way to the rest of the houses.

At this last house, the mail had been rather normal -- credit card letters, random tickets for various concerts, and letters addressed to "Terry" from "Mum." In the very middle, however, laid an envelope that read: "To Terry." It had nothing else on it. No address, no return address. Only a name.

Dear Terry,

I know it’s been quite a while since we’ve talked due to, well, territorial issues, but I never got to properly say goodbye to you. Actually, I never got to properly say goodbye to anyone. I thought there would be so much time before now, but I suppose that just didn’t happen, did it?

I know that this letter sounds quite impossible, but I assure you, this is no joke at all. If you need proof, I know that your worst fear is of lobsters because you heard one screaming in a restaurant once. I am afraid of cockroaches and being alone. My middle name’s Hemangini, and it means “girl with the golden body.” Fair enough?

Before I go away forever, I want you to know that I love you. With all of my heart and soul that still lives on, I will always love you, in this world and in the next. Because I know that you’re the only one who would ever read any of my letters, I’d really like it if you told everyone else that we were ever close to. I know it’s a lot to ask, but Terry, if someone can keep our group together, it’s you.

Terry, I really am happy here. It’s for the best, and I want you to know that I am safe here. Everything is so careless. And you wouldn’t believe it, Terry, the stereotypes are right. Everything is so light. I feel uplifted just because of it. Even the tiniest bit of darkness can’t slip through. I don’t feel anything. …In a good way.

And because I may never get a chance to say another goodbye, I want to clarify that I really do love you. You were always my friend, and I will always consider you my best friend, through it all. I hope you know that I do have high hopes for you in the future, and I will always be watching over you. Know that even through the darkest of times, I’ll be with you, protecting you. Because that’s what friends do.

I can’t quite say what made me depart this world, but I do know that this was meant to happen. Everything will turn out all right because of this, and I know it. Keep calm. Be safe. Remember that in that little space of time between dreaming and awakening, that is where you will find me.

I love you, Terry Boot, and you will always be my best friend. Goodbye.

Padma Patil.
  • Terry walked aimlessly, losing track of time, completely unaware of where he was going. Eventually he forced himself to sit down on a street bench covered with graffitti. The streetlight above cast its eerie amber glow over him as he read the letter again. He didn't even realise he was crying, his face was wet with tears and the autumn rain and while his hair and clothes were drenched, the letter in his hands remained dry. He couldn’t explain where the letter had come from, or why, but he finally allowed himself to be convinced that it didn’t matter how it got to him, what mattered was that he had received it. That Padma had loved him and that she was right, he had to try and maintain the friendships they had formed over the past seven years. Getting up, he searched for a street sign and realised he was closer to Michael's house than Anthony's.

    The rain had finally stopped falling when he reached Michael's house. No one else was on the street as Terry rang the door bell. Michael’s dad eventually opened the door. From his dishevelled hair and the missing slipper, Terry realised how late it must have been.
    "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you" he said, realising how pathetic he must have sounded.
    "Terry? Are you alright?" said Mr Corner.
    "I need to see Mike" replied Terry.
    Mr Corner looked at him a moment as though he couldn't quite believe that Terry was standing in front of him. He finally spoke, "look at the state of you. How long have you been out there?" but before Terry could respond, Mr Corner had pulled him into the house and was saying "never mind that, come in and get yourself warmed up".
    He lead Terry to the living room, switiching on the light and turning on the heater. By now, Michael's step-mother had joined them and Terry began to apologise for disturbing her and the family.
    "Nonsense. I told Michael he should have invited you over after the funeral. You need to get out of those wet clothes. Fetch him some of Michael's clothes will you, dear?" she said, turning to her husband who nodded and left the room.
    "Sit down and get yourself warmed up, I'll get you something to eat"
    Terry did as he was told, feeling grateful that they hadn't asked him too many questions.
    He hadn't even realised how cold he had been until he pulled on the dry clothes and sat beside the heater, eating the lasagne Michael's step-mother had warmed for him.
    "I need to see Mike" he said as Mrs Corner cleared away the dishes.
    "He’s asleep, Terry. You can see him in the morning" she said.
    Terry got up and headed out of the living room.
    "Where are you going?" Mr Corner followed him out into the hallway.
    "Home. I'll come back tomorrow. I'm sorry, it was stupid to turn up like this, I didn't mean to disturb you. I just thought...I needed too..." Terry tried to explain but he couldn't get the words out.
    "You're staying here tonight" Mr Corner finally said.
    "I can't. I left the lights on" Terry said.
    "I'll go over and turn them off" before Terry could protest, Michael's father continued "and I'll call your sisters and your mother and let them know you’re staying here tonight"
    "Thank you" Terry smiled weakly.
    "You can sleep in Andrew’s room, he’s away at university. Go on up, you know where it is" Mr Corner said, pointing towards the stairs.
    Terry thanked him again and made his way upstairs. He hesitated outside Michael’s closed door and was about to knock but decided it would perhaps be better to wait until the morning. He continued towards Andrew's room and collapsed on to the bed. He turned on to his back and stared up at the ceiling before getting up and moving over to the window to look out at the street.
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