Tatters: a story

As she sat down to write the story, and as she put put more thought into it, she realised that the main character had started to change midway. He was no longer the youthful male who exchanged letters with her, letters which she treasured along with his photographs. She had never met him but that didn't matter one bit. She longed to meet him. And she hoped that he felt the same.

Early on, when they were incommunicado, she even called him long-distance and asked why he had stopped writing. He said he hadn't and that her letters to him were probably lost in the mail when they were forwarded to him when he was on his travels. It was he who thought that she had stopped writing and he "was mystified." How she enjoyed listening to his voice, youthful and had a certain Peter Pan quality, not at all the deep voice that she thought she would hear. He was a young man, after all, but his education and life's experiences -- which were so vastly different from hers -- somehow led her to believe that his manner and voice would be that of an older man. A little more formal, perhaps, and mature. But no, he sounded youthful. And she was so very glad that she took the risk and called.

He remembered her and he seemed pleased to be hearing from her. That was all she wanted.

But as time went on, her insecurities caused her to question and doubt. And she even wondered if such intimate correspondence was even right. She later received a most interesting letter from him, asking her to re-think. Maybe she was even slightly pleased that he felt that way, that he was eager to resume their friendship, even if it was only on paper and delivered by the friendly postman. In his letter, he signed it, "With broken wings, Mr. Tatters". She knew it was a play on a popular song at the time by the band, Mr. Mister. But it didn't matter. And so she resumed the correspondence, only to sever the ties once again some time in the future, when their situations changed.

And she wondered once again if she ever really knew him. She was, after all, the one who called him, not once, not twice, but at least a handful of times. But he never picked up the phone to call her. Perhaps he was being the sensible one, knowing only too well the cost of long-distance calls, from one country to another. Still, she wondered. And even though he resurfaced in her memories years later, she knew that she no longer knew who he was and what he was about. He was just someone she knew once upon a time, sharing with him the intimate details of her life. And she was just someone who flitted into his life, sharing something worthwhile for the time being, even going so far as to continue to share with her when he shouldn't have. That was all behind her now.

As she thought more and more about her story, the main character morphed into someone entirely different. He was older and more caring, a man who watched her back, ready to defend and protect. A man she once exchanged vows with, who promised to love and cherish her even during the bad times. A man who kept his word. A man who was true.

And it only made sense to end her story with,
"Thank you for your friendship and for all your words but it is also time to say good-bye, Mr. Tatters.

I know what truly matters and what holds real value. It is easy -- perhaps too easy -- to remember the past and long for what was or could have been. Human beings can be silly that way. Or perhaps we are just endearing that way.

I remember you. Sweet memories are also a treasure of sorts, for they give us pleasure. Contrary to popular belief, it is not always wise to follow your heart, no matter what they say. The heart can lead you to wondrous places and beautiful experiences that can change you forever. I know that for a fact. But the heart feels and can be fickle. And yes, it can even lead you astray.

And I know now never to forget the one who is the most important."

The central character in her story had changed. She was headed in one direction and somewhere along the way, was guided into another. And it was as it should be. And even though it wasn't jaw-dropping, it was still an illuminating discovery.

And about time too, her guardian angel noted with a smile. And she felt a comforting breeze as the angel's wings gently brushed against her face.

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