E5 – Dear Laura

While reading this story, try to listen to Cigarettes after sex “Nothing’s gonna hurt you baby”.

Dear Laura,

I had written this letter so many times and so many times I burnt it. This time it will be different because this time I am finally free. He will not hurt me anymore. Nothing is going to hurt me anymore. Not even you.
Of course, you might argue that you have never hurt me, that you were always protecting me. Even when our father decided I am at the right age to get married, you offered him a good advice – Let her heart choose her future husband. So it did. I loved him and he loved me. My fiancé was perfect in every single way. He was my love and I was his little snowberry. One soul in two bodies. God, I used to giggle when I would hear something as tacky as this.
Something went wrong though and you knew it. What you didn’t know is that I saw you at the box stall door in a horse stable that evening. You were looking at us, looking at me, disapproving. My dress was lifted above my waist. You saw my tears but you didn’t stop him.  You may say it was dark so tears weren’t visible. You may even say you heard moans so you thought I wanted it. My sweet Laura, you also heard I said “No!” and you knew only one person there was moaning. All I could hear was his moaning and horses’ laughing. You did nothing. When he was done, I smiled, kissed him goodnight and went to my room.
I saw you talking to him a week after the stable. He was upset, his body language at first seemed as if he was defending and justifying himself, but then it turned into attack. You calmed him down and left. What did you tell him Laura? Did you tell him to be more thoughtful? To be more gentle? To treat me like a woman? Did you tell him that my sweet sister? Because, if you did, he didn’t hear you.
Soon enough he took me to the box stall again. Somehow you were there too, hidden, observing if he was behaving this time. Lifting my dress above my waist, revealing the part of me that was giving him pleasure. He was more thoughtful this time, like you told him to be – he spat! I felt my skin rupture. The pain my body felt was nothing compared to the pain my soul was feeling. He loved me more than any man can love a woman but he didn’t see me, he didn’t see what he was doing to me. You saw it though, you did and you cannot pretend anymore that you didn’t.
I saw you talking to him again, a month after the stable. He was now even more angry with you and when he met with me, he was sulking. Somehow this was all my fault. I was in dire need for help, seeking anyone I can talk to, no one was there for me. I felt alone and abandoned.
Two more times it happened and the last time, the last time, my sweet sweet Laura, he took me from behind. Both times you were there, I didn’t see you but I felt your presence. I remember thinking, “Can’t he see what he is doing to me? How can he be gentle and thoughtful in all other situations except in this one? This one should be the most intimate and the most gentle expression of love. This shouldn’t be THIS!” My mind was screaming, he was raping me but my lips were sealed. I was quiet, not moving. By that time I was dead inside for a very long time. Even when he was gentle and caring towards me, I was dead. When he stopped seeing me, the real me, I stopped living.
That evening when the stable was burning, the horses got trapped behind the locked door. They weren’t laughing anymore, they were burning alive. Every single one of them. That box stall was burning too and I was alive inside. Did you see my inner smile, my sweet sister, or you were too focused on my tears? You were comforting me, telling me the stable will be rebuilt and new horses will be bought again. Imagine, comforting me over the stable and letting me go through all the rape pain by myself.

A week after the stable burnt you finally confronted him, I heard you using the word rape. He was sulking again. You used the same word again, he was insulted and hurt. After you left, he took a walk in the garden and then came to me. He broke off the engagement. Our father was shocked and outraged. Luckily, next month I was proposed by no other than the Emperor himself. He came all the way from up there to ask for my hand. Our father’s rage turned into happiness, he became grateful to my former fiancé. The rest is history.
There is one thing I do not understand, my Laura. Why did you allow our siblings to bring him here? You knew what he did, how could you allow them that? Why didn’t you warn me about it? Was it because you forgot what he did? Or it was because you thought the love we felt for each other was stronger than the pain he put me through? I don’t understand sweet Laura and I want to understand…

The empress stood up and lit the letter with a candle. She watched it burn. When it turned into ashes, she sat back again and started writing another letter, generically similar to other letters she wrote earlier today.

Dear Laura,

I am sorry I wasn’t able to see you immediately after I got punished for losing my temper at the ball. Our doctor advised me not to see anyone so my wounds don’t get infected. Thank you very much for your get well card, it made me feel loved and missed.
As you have heard, my husband has made a final agreement in our favor with our neighbors about the border of our empire. I knew negotiating skills of my husband were high but this agreement surpassed all my expectations. To celebrate this achievement, we are preparing a great ball a month from today. My husband and me would be delighted to see you and your family here. We want to share our happiness with the people we love the most.
Since there will be a lot of foreign officials, I am sure my niece will find a suitable suitor. I am sending you a material for a dress you were telling me about last time you were here. It is perfect for my niece.

She thought for a moment about how to sign the letter and then decided to be formal.

Looking forward to seeing you,

Empress

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