You are 15 years old and, while still living with your parents, you discover a secret room in your house. It is filled with all sorts of strange things, but one thing in particular catches your eye: It’s a love letter to your mom from someone who isn’t your dad. What’s more peculiar is that it is dated five years into the future. Write a scene where you confront your mom about the letter.
(500 words or fewer)
The scrolling penmanship was what caught Eva’s eye; people just didn’t write like that anymore. The words it contained were beautiful, if simple, expressions of devotion, and made Eva’s face grow warm. But it also referenced horrible things: war, death, and the sorrow of separation.
It was addressed to “Miss Izabel,” Eva’s mother, and signed “your dearest Misha,” who was most definitely not Eva’s father. But the most puzzling part of the letter was the date: 18 September, ’17.
Her mother was in the living room reading a magazine, and Eva sat down beside her. “Why is some man writing you love letters?”
Utterly astonished, her mother set the magazine down and stared at her. “I beg your pardon?”
“And why is it dated in the future?”
“What on earth are you talking about, Eva?”
Eva handed the letter over, pointing to the name. “That’s you.”
Her mother took it, carefully unfolding the old paper, and smiled. “This was your great-grandmother’s, dear. And it isn’t from the future, that’s nineteen-seventeen.”
“You have the same name?”
“I was named after her,” she said, putting her arm around Eva and drawing her in close.
“So that’s great-grandfather then?”
“It was. Grandpa Misha…” she closed her eyes and recalled his face. “I can still remember him, though I was only six when he died.”
“What is the war he’s writing about?”
“The Great War, dearest. The first World War. He was a soldier, signed up at fifteen.”
Being fifteen also, Eva was shocked. She would not expect anyone she knew to be going away to war. “So young? Didn’t they tell him no?”
“Things were different then, and many young men lied about their ages to enlist.”
“Oh, perhaps for duty, or country,” Izabel said. “Perhaps for the pay. He wanted to marry Grandma Izabel, but he was very poor, son of a farmer, and they had not the money to marry.”
“But he could read and write… very well, too.”
“Yes, he was sent to a monastery as a child, his family was too poor to care for him. He worked hard, but he learned many things from the monks there.”
Eva sat in awe of this amazing story. “Why haven’t you ever told me any of this?”
“It’s just never come up.” Her mother looked at the letter again and smiled. “Grandma Izabel kept all the letters he wrote to her while he was at war in a box, but most were lost in a fire years ago. She showed me them, once, and when she died, she left me a small trunk that had the few remaining letters in it.”
“People were so different back then.”
“Go on and fetch me the trunk you found this in, and I’ll tell you about the things inside, and your family history.”
“Alright!” Eva bolted back up to the attic for the rest as Izabel sat on the couch and smiled, and thought about things she hadn’t thought about in years.