There could be some truth in the saying that many invite dangers into their life early enough, to render the rest miserable. The sad story of Anita, the twenty-six year-old woman, a woman who was at sometime in the past men’s pride and now wasting away slowly at the corner of Benson and Lynch Streets was a telling evidence of a personal went wrong.
Yassa Johnson, one of the only friends who mustered courage to visit Anita at her difficult existence could not understand the trick that fate had played on her dear friend.
Anita was now a broken woman needed all the human comfort available from her friends, particularly those men who played major roles in her life.
Anita felt always comforted at her friend’s visit, and she used such occasions to remind her, “I know what you used to tell me that I did not listen.” Anita knew how miserable her life had become and she would tell her only friend not to let the last days of her miserable life go in vain without subtracting some lessons from it.
“Joe,” Anita now mentioned the name of the only man that had loved her so much, of which she had shunned. The mention of the name compelled Yassa to readjust her sitting position, with a smile.
Anita continued, “I think about the days gone by with Joe,” and pulled out an envelope, wiping the dirt from it and then handing it to Yassa, saying, “This is one of the letters that I received from Joe.” Yassa lifted her right hand and slowly received the letter. The letter bore the distinctive signature of Joe Young, the only man who had loved Anita; the only man that cared for her but the only man that Anita broke his heart and of which she did not care about his feelings, in a desperate irony of fate.
“Just read it,” Anita instructed her friend in a weak voice, “I read his letter very often.”
Yassa responded, “I heard Joe died of a broken heart,” of which her friend gave a grimace, and turned her head away from her. Yassa spread the letter on her right knee, and with her usual smile, read it. Anita then swung her head backward and with a smile of nonchalance, hung her head, waiting for her friend to get through with it.
The following is the content of the letter, possibly written during the period of personal anguish by the author, for his only love, Anita.
‘It’s been three weeks now since you left my house and I must confess that it had been three weeks of total pain for me. You are always in my heart especially during the evening hours when I see friends; or rather lovers hold each other’s hands and speak excitedly to each other.
‘Since you have shown that you don’t care about how much I care about you, I have decided to worry about my feelings and also be able to control them so that I must be able to think like a man.
‘I do not have to explain to you how much I love you and I am also aware your insistence of your love for me, but sometimes I feel that your part of love for me is not as strong as I have had for you.
“Dear friend, while I have found it difficult to understand the ways of love, I am not, please take note of this, so much as ready to play with your feelings as much as you have played with mine.
‘I know you know that in the affairs of love, the kind that is evergreen and blossoming, there must be a commitment to share one’s happiness with the other. Though being a sentimentalist, I do not subscribe to the idea that happiness is skin deep, for it has always been my position that errors can easily be forgiven when love is the most fundamental reason for our togetherness.
‘But, Anita, you have failed to identify with my feelings and though your friends, including Yassa may pretend not to know the game you are playing in our relationship, I shall always hold them, and even you, responsible for breaking the only heart that has been filled with the only love you shall ever have.
‘Others may be important to you, Anita, but remember that whatever that might happen, though a broken and rejected you and your friends may be sharers of my desolation.
“It’s like he is speaking from the grave,” Yassa said, lowering her head, and then said, “why do you keep his letter with you?” Yassa’s question unsettled her friend, who, drawing in a deep breath said, “It makes me uncomfortable about what I did to him and I also feel like I killed the only man who could have been here for me at this time.”
“It is perhaps too late now,” Yassa said. “But looking at it from another way, even if the dead could be of help, I believe Joe would wish you well, though he considered me, along with you as the cause of his unhappiness.”
Anita said, “You think so?”
“Yes,” she replied, “and while I’m surprised of this accusation, I’m not unmindful that being your friend I knew some of the things you did against him.”
“About how much I hurt him? I never thought life would be like this, Yassa.”
“He was good man,” Yassa said, “but you never were willing to listen and so being a friend he died believing that I was part of what killed.”
“I can accept everything now,” Anita said, still in tears, “people think my present suffering was because of the way I treated him.”
“I feel some guilt for what he said being your friend,” Yassa said, “but I could not have changed your mind for what happened between you.”
“I want to take it like that,” Anita’s soft voice whispered, “but I feel Joe’s pain all the time.”
“Can you bring him back from where he is?”
“Which means no matter your present condition,” Yassa said, “you need to move on with life. I feel ashamed for his experience but you must move on, Anita.”
“In this condition,” Anita replied, lifted her face to her friend, “one of my legs is gone; no one loves me anymore, particularly those whose love I followed blindly.”
At that statement, Anita could not control her emotions, for she knew that had Joe been around, he would have come to her. No, he would not have replaced her missing leg, but he could have brought her the deeper comfort that no one was prepared to give her.
As the two friends examined some of the torching situations in their lives, several people mostly women, gathered nearby with tears in their eyes.
Suddenly, Anita’s eyes brightened up, like an inspiration. Her smile was bigger than life, and when her friend Yassa turned to look at her, she began to pull herself together as if fear had made the final determination of her life. Frantically, Yassa shouted for help, as several bystanders rushed to the scene.