Dear Mrs. Iason:
When I met my wife, she was the challenge and inspiration to leave my old life behind and start my life all over again, I was reborn the day I married her. That is why I am writing you this letter. I owe you an explanation.
Your son, Miles, was once a very good friend of my daughter. They ate lunch together every day while they were in high school. They went to parties together, to the movies together; Miles often came to my house for dinner. We saw him grow up right along with my precious daughter.
My past is not a clean one, I admit. I too, hurt other people. I was once a soldier of my hatred toward others who had more than me. It included beating other parent’s sons, stealing from the innocent to buy things for my friends, and myself. Since my marriage, everything about me changed. I was happy, motivated, and ashamed of my past actions; my wife seemed to have brought out the good in me.
When I came home from an extended trip to Malaysia, I found my daughter, Angelina, raped and beaten beyond recognition; she died in my wife’s arms later that day. I vowed to my wife and my daughter then, that I would find the man who scarred my daughter’s body and took her breath for the rest of my life. Beyond all requests from my wife, I left my love behind and began my search. The anger within me urged me forward with a blind soul, blind to all that could stand in my way.
At first, all I knew was that your son left our city to go to college in Vermont, to the School of International Study and I started there, but no one had seen or heard from him once he graduated. The only information I had was that he was planning to leave for England to study abroad.
When I arrived in London, I consulted a detective to try to find your son. As it turned out, your son decided against going to school. I hit a dead end. The detective was useless, he found out nothing I could use to apprehend your son, therefore, I resorted to the world of other dimensions. I consulted psychics, tea leave readers, tarot readers, astrologers, mystic channelers, palmistry, stichomancy, bibliomancy, handwriting analysts, Rune readers, and an I Ching expert. The most information I received from them was that your son was traveling all over Europe. They suggested I leave my quest behind. Maybe they saw more than what they revealed to me.
The last address your son lived at provided me the first real clue to finding your son. I learned he traveled to Spain, Greece, and Italy with a young woman. I then moved to Italy, and there I found he was teaching a class in business administration at the American School of Italy. He must have known I was coming because he suddenly moved. How was it that he knew of my shadow? How did he know I would look for him? Did you tell him yourself, I wondered, did you know? Nevertheless, that couldn’t be because I never told you how deeply my hatred had grown for your son. My wife promised never to mention to anyone what I was doing or where I was going. My wife felt as deeply as I, there was no need to question her loyalty to me. Understanding, the loyalty above mine was your loyalty to your son. That is why I never told you what I was going to do, even to cause you the pain of fear of what might happen.
Finally, after nine years of searching I found your son. He was waiting in his apartment overlooking the docks in France. A poor neighborhood, non–descript, dirty streets with clothes hanging on ropes from one tenement window to the next. Crowded and soiled, I knew this is where your son deserved to live.
I knocked on his door and when he answered, he let me in without question as to what I wanted from him. I explained to him that I was there to kill him. Miles, slowly walked back into the living room of his apartment, and sat down on a torn and worn sofa. He told me that what happened that night was the result of anger for someone he once felt only love. My daughter refused his love; she only loved him as a friend. He said that Angelina always welcomed him without question; she was a loyal friend, consistent in her support of him. That was why it was even more perplexing to me to understand your son’s motives. He said he didn’t mean to take away from us what he himself wanted so badly, but he was hurt when she turned him down for a relationship, He said. I use the word “he,” because his name does not deserve the respect to be uttered from my lips because a man without a name is a man without identity, without substance, without heart. He is just he. I don’t know who your son is anymore, who he was to our daughter and our family all those years before because why would he take what we all desired? We all wanted the same thing.
I proceeded to tell him that I had spent nine years of my life searching for him. He laughed, wondering why had I bothered, is his guilt not enough. I almost wanted to laugh when he said that, but it was not true, because if he had guilt he would have turned himself in rather than run away. He would have wanted to redeem himself.
I told him, my life changed when I met my wife and she delivered to me a perfect baby girl that deserved more than a thief for a father. So, I changed my life and for the 22 years of a beautiful and healthy family, I was never so happy. Until your son took everything I worked for, within myself and within my family, and destroyed it. Your son was not repentant in the way I thought my daughter deserved. He said, he knew that I would search for him because Angelina told him that He better kill her because “my father will search the ends of the earth for you.” Your son told her, “I will wait for that day.”
After visiting your son, I left him alone. I watched him day and night for another year. I watched your son take the metro; I followed him into public restrooms and used the urinal next to his without ever saying a word. I sat behind him in the theatre, I walked behind him when he walked through the park, I stood in line with him when he went to the supermarket or a store to buy clothing. I wanted him to feel my shadow, my aura, my hatred.
Then one day, I received a letter from him. He said he knew now, that he will never escape me, wondering what month, what week, what day, what hour will I choose to eliminate him from the fabric of life. I never responded to the letter until I received the second letter. Then I knew it was the right time.
He was waiting for me in his apartment. He cleaned it up and told me that he wanted his home to be clean when his body was found, “if you intend on letting anyone find my body.” I told him, yes. I was not a coward and I was willing to accept my fate for my decision. He tried to talk me out of it, at first. And I must admit, that after nine years, the thought of living with my wife again, to allow my daughter’s experience pass, was a thought I had considered during my search. But, when I thought about the last letter from my wife, imploring me to return to her because my wife was alone and needed me to return, and that she needed my support, I knew then what value of life will my wife and I have if I allow this man to continue living in this world.
I took out a beautifully balanced knife that I had bought in Spain, it had a silver eight inch blade with a leather handle. I walked over to your son, and as he closed his eyes and allowed me to gently pushed his neck backward, I sliced his neck from one ear to the other.
While your son’s blood dripped, I wrote my wife a letter of what I had just done. I told my lovely wife, that I would not return, because in killing your son, my search was over. My life will never recover. Therefore, I have decided for justice to come my way in whatever fashion fate determined.
I walked out of your son’s apartment feeling completed, as though a void within was finally filled with your son’s blood. Then I suddenly felt empty again, now that your son was gone, there was no point to my life. No longer was there a goal to achieve.
I write this letter to you, not to apologize, but for you to know why your son is dead. Making you suffer was not my intent. My daughter deserved more. My family deserved more. You deserved more.
As I could not forgive your son, there is no expectation or request that you forgive me.
Written by Jo.Ann Rodriquez
All rights reserved. No part of the short stories may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” and email to firstname.lastname@example.org