Gold day

Nov 21, 2008

Folded letters pressed between two pages:

Dear lady,

I fear I must be direct, as your husband does not wish me to be. I asked him seven days past if you would come and stay, though I did not make of it an order. I would have it in your own hand that you do not wish to come enjoy some of the protections and privileges that I can afford you. I suppose you must have seen, but there were riots in the city in very recent memory and it is not a good place for one I should not like to see us lose, or for children.

Say you will come.

Wishing you the very best,

Your friend

Dearest Mizuki,

Our mutual friend tells me I must not use names, but yours is a common one, so I think that is fine! I would have written sooner, but I thought for sure that you were hurt and would not wish to hear from me. I was quite paralyzed by it, but our friend assures me that you are in good spirits, high spirits, so nothing could please me more than to write to you. I miss you, my dear, we all do, everyone would definitely speak of you and be most unhappy about everything except that no one can, you know. Your husband’s brother has been most incensed, and his wife has not been seen in public in ages. Rumors are that she’s left him, though I do not know how much credence to give that, your family is so traditional.

Our other friend – this is so confusing without names – the one who recently became closer to her husband, the one who is going to have a baby soon? She is heartbroken, I think, and I barely see her anymore, though of course I am so busy now with everything. I miss you.

He tells me that you could come and stay with him, and the children too. It would be too good to see you, and my son would love it as well. You really must come.

Thinking of you fondly,

M.

I cannot decide which is worse, protestations that she misses me when she is the one avoiding me or heartfelt pleas that I not hate her even while she would never dream of apologizing for blackmail.

I liked her very dearly. I am not sure I remember why anymore. I must be polite, but having heard from her, my desire to hear from her is gone.

I asked Sev if he had read this set of letters and he said, “No, Duke Adri looks at me as if I were beating children whenever I read your letters.”

“Is his country this odd, or is it just him?”

“I could not tell you, never having fought there. Still, he is unusual.”

His tone at the last was more complementary than not. I offered him the letters to read, which he did.

“Well,” he said. “They are being very manipulative.”

“Dri did say he would be direct. He is very directly manipulative.”

“How are you?” he asked me.

I considered this.

“Angry.”

“You’ve been angry for a while,” he observed. “Are you angry with me?”

“I haven’t been angry for a while,” I contradicted.

“You just argued with me.”

I hesitated. I remember shock, and a little fear, and then feeling embarrassed by the fear. He is not my father.

“I like it when you argue with me,” he offered softly. “Remember?”

“I remember,” I said, and I sat down on the edge of our bed. He sat next to me, and we were together for a while, with no words and no need for them.

After that, I said, “Have I really been angry?”

“I think so.”

“I suppose perhaps I have. It’s hard for me to see, because I don’t shout or hit people.”

“Women are angry differently than men,” he observed. “Well, some men do it too. Duke Adri gets angry the same way you do, like a drop of water falling into a still pool and the ripples turning into tidal waves.”

I haven’t written back to our dear friends as yet. Now that I know I’m angry, I can set it aside and respond according to our best interests, not my feelings. Once I decide what those best interests are.

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