All the Postcards Never Sent

He wrote the postcard without thinking very much. It said, “Mary, now I am away from you, I know I want to be with you when I am home. I am on one knee and I am asking you to be my wife. Tell me your answer when I come home. Love always, Derek.”

He posted it into the yellow post box and went into the cafe. He had a stiff drink and it was then that he started to think about love. Was his love good enough for her? Would he be the best husband? He was no good at catching spiders, he knew that. No…he was no good with spiders. It simply would not do.

He went back to the post box and waited. When the postman came, he gesticulated wildly until the postcard was safely back in his pocket and he went back to the cheap hotel alone. He kept the card in his bag and carried it across France, Italy, Greece and all the way home, where he watched Mary marry Bernard. He helped Bernard choose the ring. He was the best man, but Bernard was better; he was good with spiders.

Derek framed the postcard and kept it on his mantelpiece; his trophy of loss, of all the letters never sent. When Mary died she smiled and thought only of Derek. When Mary died he posted the postcard.

© 2014 Rosie Escott