I hold the postcard in my trembling hands. The white sands of a nameless beach smile up at me. The clear water there must be cool and calm. I see the palm trees that you always dreamt about. Part of me is glad that you found them.
"I have to get away from here. I need to breathe, Isabella."
"Where would you go?"
"A beach. Each night, I dream of towering palms. I know this will fix everything. You have to believe me."
I turn the card over slowly. The handwriting is sloppy. It seems so long since I have seen any of your writing. I wonder what happened to all of those letters you once wrote me. They were probably lost in the fire.
"A beach? How will a beach fix anything?"
"Ever since the fire, I can't stand this place. It is so dark and confining. I need open space. I need the ocean."
"And what about me? You can't just leave me here to clean up the rubble of our lives."
Your first words say that you love me. You say you miss me more than words can describe and that you wish I was there. It makes my heart leap with joy, but it confuses me, too. I would have come if you had asked. You know that.
"I don't want to leave you, honey. I love you so much."
"Then don't go."
"You know that's not an option. I will go insane if I stay."
You say that this break is more than you hoped for. Suddenly, everything feels right for you. I smile at this. Maybe I was wrong, after all.
"Do you think a stupid beach is going to fix this? You can't just lock away what happened and run to the other side of the world."
"I am dying, Isabella. I am dying slowly and you are still asking me to stay?"
"I'm not asking you to stay. I just want you to know that I am hurting, too."
You say that although you feel better, you desperately miss the little one. That ache in my heart that will never leave grows stronger. I miss her too, you know.
"I know you are hurting. I wish I could make things better, but all I can do is make them worse."
"You don't make anything worse! I need your support, now of all times."
"I can't. Don't you understand? I see her every time I look at your face. Our daughter smiles through your eyes and it makes me want to leave and be with her again."
You tell me that you think you are ready to come home. My heart races faster than ever. I have been waiting for this moment for five long years. I have never forgotten.
"Don't talk like that. If you need to go, you should go. I can't hold you here any more than I could save her from that fire."
"Thank you. I love you. You know that, don't you? I will send a postcard, darling. I will send it when I am ready to come back to you."
"I will never stop waiting for that card. Hurry back to me."
I smile to myself as I hold your card to my chest. I wonder where you have been all of these years. I decide to check for a postmark but catch sight of my address instead: Sherry Rollson, 492 West Market Street. My heart sinks faster than wood burns.
No, no, no. This isn't right at all. I live in house 494.
Prompt used: a postcard received by the wrong person
New prompt: breathing underwater for the first time