As if the body of The Letter wasn’t hard enough, just when I’d breathed the big sigh at having made it through and developed an acceptable draft, the closing leapt up, a final ring of fire through which to jump. What word or phrase should precede the signature? It seemed like a huge choice. That word or phrase gets a clear view on the page; could catch the reader’s eye straight away. So what to use?

Cheers? Sounded too much like what I say to my drinking buddies or the guy at the corner shop or any damn stranger, which my father was in a way, only he’s also related to me, so cheers didn’t seem right — somehow too distant and too comfortable. Best? As in All the Best. But doesn’t everyone get that? And didn’t I want this letter to seem more special? Love? My mother signed her first letter to me, “With love and best wishes.” I thought that might be too much? Could I actually say, “with love,” to a man I’d never met? I didn’t even know if he put his hand on my mother’s tummy and felt me kick before he walked away.

I settled on Best Wishes, signed and folded The Letter and hoped for the best.


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