old run down home

Woman Ignores Letters from Man She Left 53 Years Ago, Visits Him Once and Finds a Ruined House — A Short Story

As you think, so you become… Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions, manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren’t there.” — Epictetus. 

Dayra’s life took a sharp turn when she caught her fiance cheating on her. She wanted nothing to do with him, ignoring the letters he sent her throughout the years. She was convinced there was nothing he could say to explain himself. However, she finally decided to open the letters and find him again. But her hasty judgment almost cost her chance to reunite. This story was inspired by a reader of AmoMama, where the incident was originally published. 

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Letters From Liam

Dayra’s husband Marky passed away soon after their 42nd anniversary. After months of crushing grief came the unrelenting loneliness. Seventy-year-old Dayra had two children but they have grown up and moved to other countries. Even so, Marky was her best friend and his passing left a void in Dayra.

At first, Dayra couldn’t look through old photos or storage items. But soon, that became her main source of comfort. She and Marky were nostalgic, which meant they didn’t throw any mementos away. Dayra had years of memories stored in shelves, boxes, and albums. That is how she found a stack of unopened letters. 

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Liam sent Dayra many letters throughout the years.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

She recognized the name of the sender immediately. Liam Jillson. The name sparked a horde of unpleasant memories. Liam was her first real love, and for a while, her fiance. They had met during their first year of college, and a couple of years later, he proposed to her during a picnic on a sunset-lit beach. At the time, she thought it was a romantic moment in her life until she saw Liam on a date at their favorite coffee shop. She had never seen the woman before but she seemed to know Liam, the way she kissed his cheek, smoothed his shirt, and held his hand. 

For a long time, Dayra thought her relationship with Liam was too good to be true, and here was the proof. She stormed out of the coffee shop and wrote him a letter, explaining what she saw and that she was moving back to her hometown. Enclosed was the engagement ring he had given her. Then she blocked his number; she didn’t care to hear from him again.

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Opening the Old Letters

Liam sent many letters afterward, but she never opened them. She didn’t want him to sweet-talk her back into a relationship. She just wanted to heal and move on. And she did, eventually meeting and falling in love with Marky. It took time for her to trust again but Marky’s easygoing and communicative nature put her mind at peace. Liam’s letters continued when she started dating Marky but they stopped after their engagement. Dayra assumed Liam heard the news and backed off. Good riddance. 

However, as Dayra examined these yellowed envelopes, she found one that was still fresh. It had arrived a few months after Marky had died from a heart attack, along with a few other condolence letters. Dayra barely gave the letter any glance; she already had a set routine for mail from Liam. Stuff it into the junk drawer and never give it a second thought. 

But now, Dayra was curious. She wondered what Liam had to say, and why he still wanted to say it, even after all of this time. It was no longer a betrayal to Marky to hear him out, and Dayra doubted she’d be taken in by Liam’s words. She was far from the innocent and optimistic young woman she once was. 

So she opened the most recent letter. In it, Liam wrote he heard of Marky’s death and expressed his condolences. He added that this will be the last letter since it’s clear she never wants to hear from him again. He said he still loved her and would like to see her but he has given up on that ever happening. So this was his final goodbye.

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Liam had written his side of the story in a letter.
Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava from Pexels

Liam’s Side of the Story

Dayra could hear his voice through his tender words but she remained cold. Loving her doesn’t excuse cheating on her. She moved on to another letter, one of the first he ever sent. This one was longer and more emotional. And it held his explanation.

He started by begging her forgiveness, saying that he didn’t actually cheat on her. He was at the coffee shop when a woman started talking with him as if they were dating. She quietly explained she was getting harassed by a stalker who was obsessively in love with her. He had just tried to corner her in the parking lot but she said she was meeting her boyfriend and ran into the coffee shop. So Liam played along, pretending they were on a date until the stalker finally drove away. Unfortunately, Dayra had seen them at that exact moment and Liam had no chance to explain. So he explained his side of the story in these letters but she had never responded. He expressed his love for Dayra and asked for her to meet up with him so they could work things out. 

Of course, Dayra never read this letter so she never met up with him to discuss this. She quickly read through his other mail, all full of his love for her. She felt guilty that she had never agreed to hear him out. Regretful and lonely, she found an address he had enclosed and decided to finally see him in person. 

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Creating New Memories

However, that address led to an old, empty house no one had lived at in a while. She asked the neighbors about Liam and finally one revealed he had moved into a nursing home years ago after a massive stroke. Dayra hurried to visit him but she found him sitting in the facility’s garden with a dead expression on his face. His youthful vibrancy was gone; he seemed like a husk of his former self. Dayra’s guilt magnified but she couldn’t back down now. 

She sat down next to him and said hello. Because of brain damage from the stroke, Liam had some trouble remembering her. She apologized and he couldn’t recall why. But Dayra didn’t give up. She began to visit him every day, bringing him gifts and telling him stories about her life and their time together. After several weeks, Liam began to remember her. He began sobbing and the two held hands and cried together for all of the lost years. 

After that, Liam moved in with Dayra and they began to live the life they had once dreamed of having together. Liam forgave her for ignoring him all these years; he was grateful they had a second chance. And Dayra was done with pouring over old memories. She was not able to create new, happy ones with Liam.

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Liam and Dayra move in together and live happily.
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

This story was inspired by an original piece of fiction that first appeared on AmoMama. Any similarities between this story and actual people are purely coincidental.

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Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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