Dear B—
You can’t imagine how a woman of substance has changed this house and all your boys, me included. Billy brought her, thinking she was his, but they’ve each found reasons to love her, features of you, I think, that they vaguely remember. They’re grown men now, and they wouldn’t like to hear it, but they’ve fallen in love with their mother. You’d have liked her. Oh, B—. I should never have brought you to this frontier, nor ever have thought the pitiless sky would shelter you, nor mountains embrace you. A man in love is thoughtless. I see it now in the boys and understand better where I went wrong. My only defense is your eyes. There, I’ve made you laugh. When I first saw you in that chipped-cup café at the table alone, when you were still in school and I had my first job and prospects to take me away, and my bag of blueprints to build a future far from home, any confidence I needed then to approach you as a stranger I took from those very eyes that did me in. You laughed without mercy. And when I told you anyway that you had an expressive face, I meant is as a warning, that I could tell from your eyes you would follow me anywhere, despite my sense of direction. I should have let you be. Sheltered in a town full of friends and married to the local— something, whatever you wanted, you could have been anyone, instead of slowly failing here on acres of nothing, raising boys and livestock and being the colonel’s wife. I wish you were here to see her, B—. The boys will have a hard time keeping her from me. I see it in her eyes.

Copyright © March 13, 2007 David Hodges