Thursday, December 1, 2011

Story from Nothing: Prison Letters

The catalyst from this one is obvious.

She, we'll call her Mindy, is walking along. A uni student, she's head home after a long day. She's just gotten her first letter from her man, we'll call him Joe, in a long time. He's in prison on some trumped up charges. You know the type. This one says that he never got her last letter so that's why he hasn't written in some time. They've been moving him around a lot. Why she had to write him again after a month without reply.

Maybe she's running home and a strong wind blows. She trips on a tree root. All of her papers are scattered around the sidewalk. Her letter from Joe flies up, caught in the wind, but she doesn't see it. Too busy picking up all of her other papers. She gathers them all, except Joe's letter, the one thing she wants. Was going to write back to him when she got home. She was so excited to see his carefully crafted hand-writing. The praise. Still enamored with the fact that he uses the lower case "i" when referring to himself. She's glad things are going better with his dad now. Joe should be up for parole soon. Maybe they'll finally get to hug.

After she gets home, she searches her bag for the letter. It's not there. She tears apart her room looking for it. She realises, then, what must have happened. It must still be in the street. She runs, runs faster than she ever has before. It's dark, now. Late evening. She finds the place roundabout where she fell down and starts looking. Looking and looking but she can't find it. She's on the grass, too near to the road. A possum jumps out from the tree's branches and spooks her. She falls over and hits her head. Someone finds her an hour late and takes her to hospital. As it pulls away, the letter flutters down from the branches to the ground.

Weeks go by, Joe doesn't hear from Mindy. This is unusual for her. Very unlike her. He's in a new prison and he's scared. Doesn't know what to do. Afraid and angry that his woman has left him, he's in the yard and takes a pot shot at the wrong person. Pile up. A shanking. Joe has to be taken to hospital. He only has half of his blood left.

Mindy, it turns out, ended up in a coma. The man who found her stays by her side. He feels some kind of obligation to her. His name is Rob. He's a software engineer who just moved out of his girlfriend's house. His ex-girlfriend he supposes now.

Just down the hall, Joe has been brought into the emergency room because of his severe wounds. The prison hospital couldn't handle it and he needed to be rushed out here.

Though it seems longer, Mindy wakes up after four days. She sees Rob sitting by her bed and they strike up a conversation. The feelings are instant. She has some memory loss but her doctor says that is normal. When she's asked why she was out on the road, she says she doesn't remember. She knows she was looking for something but she can't remember what. Deep within the recesses of her mind, she's forgotten everything about Joe.

Joe stabilizes and he is sent back to prison. Months go by. Joe tries to write Mindy but his letters are returned unopened. One has a note attached saying "right name, but wrong girl". Convinced that things are over between the two of them. Joe takes one last look at his favourite picture of Mindy and hangs himself in his cell.

His ashes were scattered by a friend at Mindy's old address.

Mindy and Rob move in together. She kept getting letters from someone she didn't know in prison but when she sent one with a note saying it was the wrong person, they stopped. Mindy and Rob got married after a year and a half.

They're buried together.

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