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Friday, 27 August 2010

'The Letter' #fridayflash

Something quite different to my usual contributions, an ultra-short piece of writing inspired by a Leeds Savages ( writers group task.

As she recoiled at the acrid taste of the glue, she reflected on how the letter, in its physical form, was a sadly dying breed. A generation of young lovers were now exchanging ‘billet doux’ instantly through the air, the romance historically borne of distance and separation lost now that constant, instant communication was available to all. In this digital age poetic expression had been replaced with acronyms unintelligible to anyone over the age of 30, and the missive was sealed not with a kiss but with a smiley emoticon.

She folded over the flap and ran her finger along it firmly. The words within this envelope were not for sharing on a blog or tweeting to the world. They were not words to be read on a screen in impersonal Times new roman, size 12 print, but thoughts brought to life on paper, their meaning conveyed not just through the juxtaposition of characters and spaces but through the smudged imperfection of a manuscript speckled with tears.

She carefully placed the envelope in the middle of the open hearth. For a few seconds it sat there untouched, flames dancing around it but making no mark. Then the crackling tongues of fire wrapped themselves around the corner of the envelope, consuming the paper with ravenous hunger. She watched as the name that she had lovingly inscribed disappeared, sucked up the chimney with the other fragments, a memory to be carried on the wind.


  1. Beautiful. When I was young, my first boyfriend used to write me long, handwritten letters. I worry that todays young people will never experience the thrill of walking to the mailbox and finding one there.

  2. Lovely. I often tell people to write letters to departed loved ones and then burn it. Flames cleanse and carry the message of what we need to say on the wind.