by Caroline

The Letter

Becky sat in the small office of one of the teachers at the orphanage, silently staring down at a blank piece of paper and tapping a pen on the edge of the desk. She was so close to them that she could almost imagine herself just teleporting back home, running to Toby, wrapping her arms around him and just hiding her face in his chest until none of it mattered anymore and everything was okay again. But it wasn't okay. No matter how fine it all seemed so long as there weren't any problems in the area, it always ended up in them arguing when there were. Why couldn't she fix it? Why couldn't she change it? Why couldn't she make it all better?
Did he think that not wanting to change time for Daniel's sake meant that she didn't care about him? A part of her wondered if he did. But he couldn't understand how much it tore her apart knowing that Daniel was ill and that she could do something about it but wouldn't. Shouldn't. She had made a promise to herself and she hoped that one day Daniel could understand that. She hoped that one day Toby could.
With a sigh, she lifted the pen and slowly started to write:

"I know you're not going to understand why I have to go and I can't even tell you how long I'll be gone or when I'll come back. I love you, Toby, but I'm so tired of justifying myself to you whenever something like this comes up. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when you got ill ­ I should have been, just like I should have been there for Dan. Maybe I'm just not as good a friend, girlfriend, as I should be. Never mind, I know I'm not ­ what sort of friend runs off like this?
Tell Libby and Maeve I'm sorry too. I know I should say good-bye in person; I know Libby'll be hurt that I haven't but I need to do this and I know that if I see anyone, if I talk to anyone, I won't be able to let them go. And how do I explain it anyway? I don't think I can even really explain to myself why I need to do this. But I do.
I just need time to think. I need to get away from all the problems and arguments and worries. I need time by myself. I need time. Maybe I'll find something out there and I'll come back and everything'll be okay. Maybe I'll come back one day to find none of you even want to talk to me anymore. It's funny ­ three years ago, I was so afraid of having to do exactly this ­ leave all the people I cared about and go back to being on my own like I always was ­ but now it feels like this is exactly what I need. And ­ "

She paused for a long moment and then, wiping a tear from her eye, crossed out the beginning of what she was sure would have turned into a long sentence saying how much she loved him and didn't want to lose him ­ she was running away from him after all, what right did she have to try and hold onto what they had?

"I guess there's not much else to say really. I wish so much that I had never told you about my time-travelling ability ­ it might well have avoided this moment...but I guess that's just burying my head in the sand ­ it would have come out eventually. And I think this is for the best anyway ­ I need to deal with what I can do ­ I thought I had but if that were true then it wouldn't hurt so much when I kept to the decision I'd made not to influence anything. If it were true then everything that happened to you and Maeve and Dan and wouldn't make me feel so torn apart.
Good-bye, Toby. I will come back one day although whether that reassures you or just makes you even madder or more upset than you already are, I don't know. I'm writing another letter for Dan to have, I know how upset he must be and I regret that just as much as I hate doing this to you. Please make sure he's alright while I'm gone.

Becky x"

Her letter to Daniel was much easier to write in a lot of ways ­ she said how sorry she was and how much she'd miss him and that she'd be back as soon as she could. She told him to behave in school and not to make any trouble while she was gone. She didn't tell him why she was leaving, except to say that she needed some time away like that time three years before when she had left and first learnt Buddhism. She had taken him with her that time so she wasn't sure if that was the best example but she hoped he would understand that she just needed some time on her own. She finished the letter saying how much she loved him and then silently folded both sheets of paper into one envelope.
She had already talked to her boss at the orphanage, telling her that she was going away and wouldn't be able to work there anymore, so everything there was sorted, although she was going to miss all of the children she had grown to care about there. That meant that all she had to do was deliver her letter.
With a weary sigh, she teleported out of the orphanage only to reappear in Toby's bedroom. The guard she had asked about him had said that he had been holed up in her house with Daniel while he was ill and she could tell that he probably hadn't slept in his own bed much at all since she had left. She had been nervous talking to that guard because she was sure that it would eventually get back to Toby that she was asking about him ­ it can't exactly have seemed normal to the guy that she was asking him about her own boyfriend. But she had needed to know that he and Daniel and Libby and Maeve were all okay. She had been so relieved when the guard had told her that the flu virus had gone.
For a moment, she hesitated as she moved to place the letter on Toby's bedside cabinet. She dropped to her knees and pressed her head into his pillow, trying to pick up what was left of his scent on the material. Her chest ached with the thought of never waking up with him beside her again. With the thought of never seeing him smile at her. With never being a part of his life.
The ache in her chest moved to her throat and she started to cry, her tears soaking into his pillow as her body was wracked with sobs.

"God, why do I do this to myself?" she groaned through her tears.

But then suddenly she heard a sound coming from downstairs and she jumped to her feet, knocking a photo of herself and Toby to the ground and accidentally standing on it as she stumbled away from the door. She looked down at the shattered glass obscuring hers and Toby's smiles with a look that could almost be seen as terror ­ her misery tinted eyes seeing nothing but a cruel, cold omen for the future. She dropped the tear-stained pillow to the ground and the letter along with it and then she did what she was sure Toby felt that she was an expert at by now ­ she ran away.

On to Tuesday, May 19, 1931 (AIM two-player)
On to Wednesday, May 20, 1931

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