Emerging Writers. Historical Fiction by Mary Ann DiLorenzo
Journeying Back to What Used to Be. Part 22.
“That was a fine meal, Becky. Thanks for having me!” Johnny had told Becky as he got up to head for home.
“I second that, Becky!” Frankie had called out. “Next to Rachel’s I don’t think I have ever had any better!”
“Lucky for you, you said that!” his wife Rachel had chimed in, and they all had had a good laugh to finish the evening at Sam and Becky’s.
As Johnny sauntered home across the barren fields that he had such hope for this year, he remembered the envelope Miss Ames had handed him when he stopped in town earlier that day. And as he had done so many times once before with another letter, he felt for the envelope in his pocket. He took it out to glance at the writing, still visible in the shine of the setting sun. Emily’s writing. A part of his life he had put behind him, facing him again.
Before sitting down on the porch to read it, he walked the trail around his farm, remembering so long ago when he went off to war and left her standing there. Then he remembered how he felt when her letter told him that she had married someone else and how he had felt when he had finally let her go. He had found a piece of that letter the other day in the field way behind the barn, her letter, the one he had ripped to shreds letting the wind carry the pieces away. And now she was back again.
He turned toward the porch and thought out loud, “Best get this over with.” After lighting the lantern, he sat down and for a moment just listened to the early spring sounds of evening. Then he started to read.
March 7, 1866
Not sure if you are still in Georgia or out west by now like you said in your letter, but I wanted to write you again and had no other address but this one. I hope all is well with you Johnny, wherever you find yourself.
I was glad to hear you had found your father again, maybe you can now put that past behind you. I am doing my best at widowhood and am grateful for the friends I have here to help me begin living again. It’s funny, I didn’t want you to go to war because I didn’t want to lose you to it, but you returned and the man I married didn’t. However, in the end, I lost you both.
When you wrote me, you didn’t need to apologize for anything, we all do what we have to do to live our lives. I did understand then and I still do now. Becky had asked me to come for a visit, perhaps playing matchmaker, but I told her times have changed and so much has happened since those days before the war that I thought it best not to make the trip. From what Becky tells me, you seem to be settling in to a new life, as I am, and it would be best to leave things alone. Then you can put our past behind you too. I will always love you Johnny.
Johnny reread the letter, folded it up and put it back in his pocket. Right then, he didn’t know whether to breathe a sigh of relief or start to cry.
Journeying Back to What Used to Be. Original historical fiction that follows a Confederate soldier back from War. Delivered in brief vignettes, the series depicts this defining time in the history of our nation. Follow this Civil War Story About Going Home.
Journeying Back to What Used to Be, Part 22 (This one)