The cursor sat, unmoving, in the unchanging sea of white page space that was his word processor. It sat there, waiting to move-- waiting to receive input of any kind.
Then the screen went dark. A red glob of stuff appeared on the monitor. It dropped to the bottom edge of the screen and abruptly bounced off to the far right corner. He sighed. His right hand flicked the mouse, dispersing the intrusive screen saver and bringing up his empty word document once again.
His fingertips rested against the smooth plastic of the keyboard. He could press anyone of those keys and send a message to the computer, prompting that little blinking line to print a letter on the screen. Another keystroke would create another letter. Those letters would join together to form words. Those words would make paragraphs. Those paragraphs would create the most important message of his life.
But the words would not come to him; without those words, there would be no letters. Without those letters, the could be no mailing letter.
He was a writer. Prose was his instrument and literature was his music. Fiction, short stories, and research articles: he had produced each one a thousand countless times. Yet, he found himself unable to craft one simple little message. It should be so simple. It was an informal little affair. It wasn't a business proposition. It was just some personal correspondence.
'Simple'? Ha! Self-delusion would help no one. This was one message that would change his life... that would change her life forever. The thought came to his mind unbidden and brought an old, unwelcome companion: doubt.
Who was he to do this? Did his own selfish desires give him the right to shatter her pristine world into a thousand small shards of confusion and hurt? Sending this message would destroy everything that she had ever known; everything that she had ever believed. Was his yearning for a relationship so strong that he could so callously interject himself into her life and her affairs? Were the benefits of his actions truly greater than the immeasurable cost?
Cost. That was a word with which he was well familiar.
His gaze traveled from the glowing computer screen to the thick oaken desk that supported his workstation. From there it moved to the right and settled upon the thick manila folder and the dozens of documents contained therein. The papers and receipts spoke of the investments, the time and capital, that he had spent to come this far. Was it madness to spend so much to reach this point and then refuse to take the final step? It very much felt so.
That was a bookkeeper's thinking. When you considered the problem from a strictly numerical standpoint, it was folly to spend so much for so little return. But he wasn't dealing with numbers. No. If this were strictly a numerical problem then he could solve it easily. His decision wouldn't impact unfeeling mathematical or financial equations. His decision would impact and alter the future of several emotional, living beings. Could he truly encroach his right to happiness upon them?
His hand took hold of the worn file. It's binding and pages folded open for his inspection. His eyes turned over the information. Its words entered his mind almost subconsciously. He had all but memorized its contents.
It had taken so much to find her after he had lost her.
No, not 'lost' her. He had never had her.
The shadows of the past overcame him. He had been a different man back then. Brash, foolish... and angry. A man who believed that the world owed him everything and angry that such warm ideology couldn't cohesively bond with the cold, indifference of reality. A man who sought to escape that reality at all cost.
Oh, it hadn't begun that way. It had started with just a few drinks to relax him. But that was the funny thing about self-destruction. You never set out intended to destroy yourself. It happens bit by bit, little by little. By the time you realize that your little escape from reality had become your reality, it's too late. You've crashed and burned.
Their fights had grown worse. Their love soured. He placed no blame at her feet; it was all his to bear. Had he realized what was transpiring earlier, he might have been able to spare them all this heartache. But such realization had not come early. It had not come until she had found herself pregnant and left him for the sake of the unborn.
She would insure that her child would never suffer as she had. The child was given over to an adoption. He had lost his firstborn before he even knew she existed.
Many years had passed since then. Some years were full of depression; other years were full of recovery. For a brief moment in recent history, there had been a few months of hope: hope for reconnection; hope for reconciliation.
But before he could reconcile with her, he would have to find her. The investigations to find her took time. The legal wrangling required to even approach her took still more time. He had tried to be patient. He had tried to endure, but it was difficult.
Finally, at long last, the path had been cleared before him. He knew where his old love and his child were. All he had to do now was to walk that path. It was a journey that would require still more time for discussion and, he hoped, healing. But it was a journey that had to be started before it could be made.
And the first step of that journey was to write this letter. This letter that would re-introduce himself into the life of his love and child. It was so simple. It was so practical... it was so difficult.
His head turned to stare at the computer monitor. The screen was blank, save for the little bouncing ball that traveled across its smooth surface. His left hand flicked the mouse. The screen cleared and displayed the word processor once again. He stared at it for several long moments. The constantly blinking cursor stared at him-- daring him to even so much as try to write.
He met its stare, unyielding and unmoving. His fingers posed over the keyboard, preparing to type. He focused his mind and tried valiantly to plumb the deepest recesses of his soul. To find that desire for reconciliation and to put its yearning into words. This was it. It must be done...
The screen went blank. A tiny red ball began bouncing across the screen.
His arm moved and his hand swept across the workstation. The manila folder tumbled off the side of the desk and splattered itself against the adjacent wastebasket.
He rose, resolute, and turned his back on the letter. Tears brimmed in his eyes.
He had already destroyed their lives once; he could not do so again.
Let them have their peace.