The family gathered at her favorite Chinese buffet. A triple dozen kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, and their significant others.
Caitlin stood and clinked her glass to get their attention. Her voice trembled at first, but she breathed deep. “Thank you for being here.”
Throat aching, she pushed on. “You know how Mama loved her typewriter. It was her most cherished gift from Daddy. She asked me to share a letter with you, and a gift for everyone.”
Don set a clanking box on the table and withdrew a handful of gleaming metal. A typewriter key dangled from each keychain.
After he’d handed them out, Caitlin said, “Here’s the letter.”
Hello, dear ones,
Arnie wasn’t too good at talking about his feelings, but that man sure could write. We typed so many letters on our Underwood. It healed rifts, solved problems, and kept our marriage hot.
Caitlin waited out the laughter. Mama and Daddy had always been mad passionate about each other.
We were together 42 years. I can’t wait to see him again. We poured so much love over every key, I wanted to share that love with you.
You are such a blessing.
Silence fell. After a moment, Mindy raised her glass. “To Nana. She typed ninety words a minute but couldn’t text LOL.”
Laughter, tears, and more toasts followed.
Later, Caitlin let herself into her condo and flipped on the light. Merlin slept on top of a bunch of papers that had spilled from one of Mama’s boxes. “Merlin, bad cat,” she scolded. He meowed sleepily.
She picked up the stack and her eyes caught on the typed words “…how I love sucking your milk…”
What in the world? It was dated October 2, 1970. Face burning, she read:
My lovely Mary Alice,
You grow more beautiful with each child. I love your large breasts, your thick, rosy nipples. You know how I love sucking your milk. Such sweetness. Even the thought makes me hard.
I have planned a special evening Friday. Dinner from your favorite Chinese restaurant. Loraine will keep the children, so I’ll have you to myself. I’m ravenous, darling. Are you ready for me?
She flipped to the next page. It was from Mama, with phrases like, “…throb for you…” and “…take me hard…”
She skimmed a few more letters, stunned by their passion. She had always known they loved each other. But what child thinks of her parents as sexual creatures, as lovers?
She immersed herself in the strong current of their love, eventually reaching the final letter.
My lovely Mary Alice,
If the kids knew what dirty things we got up to. LOL! Wonder if anyone ever typed LOL on an Underwood?
I’ve loved you more with every day. The cancer is taking me away for now, but we’ll see each other soon, I know it.
You have blessed my life.
In her elegant script, Mama had written next to his name, “Good-bye, my beloved.”
Last Letter ©2016 by Devi Ansevi.
Posted for your enjoyment, the May bolt of Friday Flash. F. Leonora Solomon hosts and curates a monthly flash fiction collection. Stories are written using an image prompt, such as this month’s image of an Underwood typewriter.
Check out more delicious entries (and consider posting your own!) at the Friday Flash site.