Today’s Writing 101 challenge is: You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter. We are supposed to be as brief as possible in this post.

Oh dear, me? Brief? I guess that’s why these are challenges.

Here goes…

“What’s this?” I say aloud to Scrappy, my dog, as if I expect him to answer. He doesn’t. He trots right by the crumpled, damp envelop simply addressed, Dad.

I pick it up and the once-sealed envelop opens easily revealing a single sheet of lined paper with rather sloppy printing peeking through the moist parchment.

“Scrappy, wait!” I call to him. He stops. “Come here, boy.” He comes. I give him a treat so that he stays near me while I carefully unfold the damp letter and read it.

Any letter that starts with “I’m sorry” spells trouble. I read on, not knowing if a son or daughter is apologizing–or even how old the child is. Then I get to the part that says, “I’ve known for a long time that I’m gay. I’m still the same boy you’ve always loved, don’t ever forget that.” I stop reading and start wondering.

Is the letter on this path because the son lost his courage to give it to his dad or because he gave it to his dad and things went horribly wrong.

Either way, the soggy letter is testimony to unimaginable suffering.

I carefully put the letter back in the envelop and gently rest it on the dewy grass. I’ll let the wise earth decide what to do with it because this pain is more than I can bear.