Story A Day May: Day 22

Obviously, I’ve fallen behind (as it is the 27th and I’m posting my response to the 22nd’s prompt). But I am still working on things.

This prompt — to write a story in the voice that come most easily earlier in the month — seemed deceptively simple. I did persevere with my original idea for this (using what I wrote on May 4th), but I am not particularly happy with how it developed. It got stuck and not much happened.


I am sitting at the table and the envelope is in the middle and I am staring at it.

I know what it says. I am certain what it will say, but I can’t bring myself to open it.

Reaching out, I pick up the envelope and turn it over, and over again.

The return address is from the university I have applied to for grad school.
I really want to go.

But I don’t want to leave.

And I can’t stay here, live here, in this forever house and go to a university that is a seven hour drive away.

Maybe, I suggest to myself, it says no. It says that they are sorry but… I am not the type of candidate that they are looking for.

Then I won’t have to choose.

I turn the envelope over again. I ought to open it.

I am sitting at the dining table, in front of the broad window that looks out behind the house. It does not look much now like it used to. When I was a child, I have a vivid memory of the thicket of trees just beyond the open backyards and the constant rumble of construction equipment.

We were among the first to live here and a lot had changed since then.

I slip my finger under the flap of the envelope and immediately get a small paper-cut.

Sucking on the cut, I open the rest of the envelope.

What am I going to do?

My best friend when I was six went missing out there and I can’t leave. What kind of a thing is that? It sounds like a made-for-tv movie, doesn’t it? But it is my life.

These things happen and they have to happen to someone real.

Dear Ms Hampton, the letter begins.

I take a deep breath.

We are pleased to offer you…

The words are swimming in front of my eyes. They are pleased.

I scan the letter. They are offering a TAship. Money.


And I get up and I go to the window and I am looking out there, desperately searching, as I always do, for some sign of Tim.

Ever since that day, there has been nothing.

I look at the letter and see the unfolding of my life. The research, the work. The possibilities that will come after. There is a whole world opening in front of me and I can barely catch my breath.

A partner.


I let my eyes close and I begin to picture it in detail. Going to the university. The classes, the people.

Not like the local university I commuted to, so small. A proper, research-oriented place instead.

All the people, the ideas.

I don’t know how long I sit like that, picturing the whole thing. This life of mine.

This life that could be mine.

Or not.

My eyes snap open and I look at the letter and crumple it in my hand.


How can I possibly leave Tim?

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