Letter Box | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 01, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:15 AM, February 01, 2020

Fiction

Letter Box

When I came here, to our new abode, I was quite surprised to see the letter box outside our flat. “Who writes letter these days?” I was wondering. After the death of my mother, my father decided to shift to this new flat. He wanted me to overcome the grief caused by the death of my mother as soon as possible. He was terribly worried about my well-being.

My mother was a patient of acute depression. She had been taking treatment since I was born. But things deteriorated as days passed. My father sometimes held himself responsible for my mother’s untimely demise. He was quite introvert; usually he could not express himself through words. So, after the death of my mother, he became very anxious about his 15-year-old daughter. I had always seen my mother being sick and unhappy.Her death did not hurt me the way my father thought it would.

It was my childhood which matured me ahead of time. Therefore, when my worried father decided to keep memories of my mother away from me, I wondered if it was really necessary. But I did not oppose as I thought it would not be bad at least to explore a new place without any past strings attached.

It was the time when I was preparing for my SSC exam. At that time, I was a not-so-good-not-so-bad-type student. Moreover, there was no pressure from my father for A+ or anything. We led our usual life in the new flat. We did not talk much, but it did not create any distance between us. Because we had been in that way since my early childhood. I was used to the silence.

Apart from my regular syllabus, one other thing that interested me was reading. We had a small library where I found everything from the great Bengali classics to Masud Rana. One day, I found a letter in one of the books. It was written by my mother to my father in their university days. Obviously, it was a love letter. Until that day I did not know that my parents had an affair before their marriage! I got literally shocked to discover the truth in the midst of silence. But I did not ask anything to my father.

After my SSC exam, I had nothing to do. Life seemed to be really boring. I asked my father to bring me some books. He brought loads of them. So, I sank into the black and white world of pages.

One day, I opened the door after hearing the bell ringing. There was no one, so I thought somebody might drop some bills into the letter box. I opened the box and found a blue envelope on which my name had been typed. In a rush, I opened the envelope and found someone writing to me so adorably that I fell in love with the person at first sight of that letter. The handwriting was so beautiful as well as familiar as if I had seen it before. The first letter was three pages long, and it was all about how the person came to know about me, how long he had to wait before writing this letter, and how beautiful I look in my blue school dress, etcetera and etcetera.

After that the letter began to come along with the bell every day. By this time, I also took the habit of writing to him. I usually kept my letters in my letter box as well, and he used to collect it from there. I was happy because at least I found a person to talk, to share, to hold. But for him, I was like a child he wanted to nurture. He used to motivate me to know my passion. He was actually helping me to have a view on life and the surroundings. I was used to ask him: how can he be so emotionally mature in this early stage of life, though he was used to be silent on his age, education or family background.

The person behind those letters became the most influential person in my life. His philosophy became my philosophy, his views became mine, I started to think and think apart from reading, I started to stand by the window more often and see an overcrowded world with all its diversity waiting for me to join the crowd. One day the result of my SSC exam came out. That day I received the last letter from him. He wrote me to drape the red sari of my mother which was kept in the closet.

...........

On that evening, I was out for a dinner with my father.

Tanni Saha completed her Masters from the Department of English, Chittagong University. Currently, she works at a private bank and writes at leisure.

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