Mary Campisi
Mary Campisi
Mary Campisi

Charles’s Final Letter to Miriam

Dear Miriam:

I am writing this letter to you from the cabin. I needed clarity and if I were surrounded by you and Lily, I might never put pen to these words and they very much need to be written. You, of anyone, know the struggles I’ve battled for the past fourteen years. I should have acted on what lived in my heart years ago, but I couldn’t. Fear and duty kept me prisoner. And let us not forget the weakness that owned my soul and rendered me incapable of making the difficult choice.

We never spoke of it, because what good would it have done other than to remind us of my life in Chicago—a life without you and Lily? Do you know how much I missed you both when I was there? How I longed for Lily’s smile? Counted the days until we could spend a quiet evening together? Last month, Lily called me a king. “You are the king of our world,” she said. “You will never let anyone hurt us. Mr. King.” She’d smiled, so bright and pure, beaming with honesty and an admiration I did not deserve.

Lily’s words have given me the courage to write this letter. Our daughter will never be accepted into mainstream society as relevant or essential, but she possesses more wisdom than anyone I’ve ever met. You and I have spent the past fourteen years making a life out of four days a month. Imagine if that number were reversed—if I spent four days a month in Chicago and the rest in Magdalena with you and Lily? Could you tolerate me? I have dreamed this when I’ve permitted myself to do so, and what are dreams if we have no hope of turning them into reality? I want a life with you, Miriam, a real life, not a patchwork of days and “X’s” on a calendar and promises of “next time”. Nate won’t be happy about it. In fact, I expect he’ll try to interfere, but I’m hopeful he’ll change his mind about me when he realizes I’m here to stay. I don’t blame him for disliking me. He’s an honorable man who loves his family. Maybe one day he’ll find the right woman and start a family of his own.

I’ve written a letter to Gloria informing her of my plans. By the time I arrive in Chicago, she’ll have the news and knowing Gloria, the battle will have begun. What can she hope to win? 

More money? The house? She can have those. What she’s lost and what she’ll never have again is my heart. That belongs to you. I must go gently with Christine, and maybe one day she’ll understand and perhaps even accept my decision. 

Divorce is never easy on a child and it’s more difficult when other parties instill venom and lies in the telling with disregard for the child, concerning themselves only with retribution, no matter the cost. My brother will help me with Christine and watch over her when I am in Magdalena. Harry is a good man with a kind heart who loves Christine as though she were his own.

Next month we’ll have much to discuss! It will take some time to get everything in place, but I hope to have the new “schedule” set by Lily’s birthday. Won’t that be a great present? Not as much fun as a horse ride, but I think she’ll be happy.

Finally, we will move forward with the next chapter of our lives, and we’ll do it together. I can’t believe I’m actually writing this. I love you, Miriam, with every part of me, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you.

Love Always,


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