Louise begins all her letters with Dear John, although he had begged her to call him anything else. "Say 'Dear Honey' or 'My Darling Husband'", he said, and she takes a perverse glee in forgetting.
It makes her feel like she's leaving him, and it's what gets her through the rest of the letter. He wasn't John when she'd met him, he'd been Trapper by then, and it was with Trapper she'd flirted shamelessly, Trapper she'd spent the most wonderful three months of her life with. It was John who'd ruined her life.
She writes about the children, knowing full well where her husband's priorities lay. Some days she thinks he did it on purpose. He'd been a medical student, nearly a doctor, she had trusted that he would know better than to get her pregnant, trusted that he would prevent the infestation of life.
He grinned and cheered when she told him, even through her sobs. Of course he'd done the right thing, and now there were two children. And she was a wife.
Sometimes she looks at them and wonder's whose children they are. Certainly not hers, she'd tell herself, she was too young. Had too many parties to attend and boys to date. This couldn't be her life.
Aside from his children, you'd never know he was married. He got his precious children and kept the life he'd wanted all along. Louise watched the drinking and the flirting and was bitter. But she had a husband, at least. Someone to take care of her.
But instead he was in another country, with other women. His letters made out like he was in some kind of war, but she read the papers. It was only a Police Action, not a war at all.
She wasn't supposed to do this on her own. Wasn't her husband supposed to be home to deal with the dogs fighting in the back yard, to deal with the flat tyre on the car and the million other things that the man was supposed to do?
And she was stuck here.
Alone with his children, with his life.
The children are missing you.
(The children are forgetting you.)
I'm glad you are doing well.
(Who is she this week, John?)
Eleanor from next door neighbours threw a party last week for her brother in law's promotion. It made me think of you.
(I've met someone else.)
I'll be waiting for you when you get home.
(I'll be leaving you when you get home.)
Come home soon.
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