Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Letters (Part Ten)

(Letters is my series exploring a war-
time relationship across the miles.
Find the beginning here.)

Note: There have been letters from Hannah
updating Patrick's condition that have been
for story purposes; however, this is her
first letter
after receiving Elise's

Dear Mrs. Freeman,

Your husband's health is improved. Although too weak to write, he is managing some food, and his temperature is nearly normal. His color has revived and his heartbeat is stronger. The cough persists, but there is much less sputum produced. I believe I informed you, in a recent letter, that he was experiencing chest discomfort. This pleuritic pain is now quite reduced, and he rests comfortably at night.

The physician attending him sees no reason why he won’t be able to be discharged within the month, if the present rate of progress continues. Mr. Freeman was relieved to hear this news, as I’m sure you can imagine.

I have requested that another nurse take over my duties in caring for him. Although Mr. Freeman has appealed for my services, I believe this new arrangement to be best for all involved.

I hope this letter finds you well, and succeeds in quieting your fears.

Yours truly,

Hannah Abbott

p.s. Before I stopped attending to Mr. Freeman, he asked that I direct you to a poem. I believe it was a favorite of yours by E.E. Cummings, but I regret to say I have forgotten the name of the poem in question. You have my sincere apologies. Perhaps he can inform you soon enough by his own hand.


Part Eleven is here.


Karen said...

Oooooh! I didn't see this coming! I expected her to respond, explain, reason somehow. Her leaving speaks volumes about what we didn't get to see after she received the letter. I love the ending -- now I'm wondering, which ee cummings? I'm hooked.

Sarah Hina said...

Karen, I saw Hannah reacting with guilt to Elise's letter, and, subconsciously maybe, with some anger and resentment, too. A full retreat was her first instinct.

This was the least enjoyable letter to write, due to its stiff, dry nature, but I hoped it portrayed an honest, human response, too.

And I'm glad you're intrigued by the Cummings reference! Elise and I share a love for his work. :) Thank you, Karen!!

Catvibe said...

I'm smiling now. I can imagine now the depths of caring that Hannah had for Patrick, and now she is trying desperately to cool down her feelings.

a guess...somewhere i have never traveled...

because that one is my favorite poem of all time. so why shouldn't it be yours too? from one infp to another...;-)

and on another note entirely, an award for you on my blog.

Jennifer said...

"I hope this letter finds you well, and succeeds in quieting your fears."

I suspect it has quieted some and left others quite alive in Elise's mind.

I also think that Hannah's decision to include the fact that Patrick "appealed for her services" is quite revealing...

Sarah Hina said...

Cat, you're freaking me out!! :P

(actually, that would be technically impossible, due to the date of that poem...damn ;))

I'm glad you felt that way about Hannah, too. This letter is her attempt at an emotional cold shower, I think.

Thank you for the award!! :)

Jennifer, yes, you plucked out the most revealing part of the letter (not that I'm surprised). :) I don't think this is quite over yet.

I was going to wrap up the series in the next three posts. Oh, dear...

Jennifer said...

Sarah, just so you know how hard this is--I am totally a "put the kids to bed and read in one sitting even if that means I don't sleep at all" kind of a reader!!! I can't wait for your novel to come out so I can read and read... :)

Anonymous said...

Heartwrenching. You're tackling difficult emotions with this series.

I know your readers will be gripped by your novel. (Note to publisher: get those presses fired up!)

Vesper said...

Hmmm... so very interesting and unexpected, although quite understandable from Hannah's point of view.
Now, as you said, Elise has new fears and doubts to face. I dread this feeling of powerlessness when you're far away from someone you love and there's nothing you can do to help them, there's nothing for you to do but wait, and worry, and hope...

Sarah Hina said...

Jennifer, thank you!! You gave me a big, big smile reading that. :) :) :)

It's still a year away from being published, but I'll send you one of the first copies! :D

Jason, I'm enjoying writing this series, but I'm also feeling the pinch of trying to tie it together in a satisfying way. Maybe it's time for a deux ex machina! Or not. ;)

And thank you about my novel (ahem, you know something about making books gripping...). :)

Vesper, I'm glad you found this letter to be somewhat realistic. Like I said, it was my least favorite to write, but I saw Hannah in a lockdown following the initial panic.

And yes, Elise will likely try to glean whatever she can from this note, and endlessly obsess. But she can at least find relief in Patrick's returning strength.

Thank you for the comment, Vesper! :)

Charles Gramlich said...

complication on complication. Why is the nurse leaving? very interesting. You've done an amazing job working under the constraints of this format.

Aine said...

My heart bleeds for Elise. I hope she finds some strength. So much can be read between the lines...

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Is that really the last we (or Patrick) will see of Hannah?? mmmm?
I found no apologetic undertones, no traces of culpability in Hannah's letter. Just hints of resentment.

"Although Mr. Freeman has appealed for my services .... "
That was callous!

"..and succeeds in quieting your fears."
mmmm???? Can she be trusted??

I'll be interested in finding out which poem...and that's another thing...why couldn't Hanna remember the name of the poem. Is there a reason??

Really great, Sarah!

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, I appreciate that. :) This really is a tough format I've chosen. As for Hannah, we'll see if she truly leaves, or if this was just a blip...

Aine, this was a rather poor attempt by Hannah to regain control. But yeah, the signs were there, and I'm sure Elise will pick up on them. Oh, what a tangled web. ;)

Thank you for sticking with this series! :) Almost...there...

K, I think Hannah wants to be the portrait of chiseled professionalism here, but the cracks are too apparent. Maybe not to herself, though. I don't see her as intentionally cruel. Pressures and internal chaos can twist people's words and intent around so much that it can be difficult to touch that precious strain of truth.

I'm guessing that strain will become more apparent soon...

And yes, that's my big tease! :P

Thank you for the wonderful discussion, K. Once again, I love how invested you are in these characters! :)

ilesh said...

Gr8 one....nice to read....

Chris Eldin said...

deux ex machina NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, this totally took me off guard. How many will leave with a broken heart? Sarah, what are you doing to them? To us?

When will you reveal the poem?

David Cranmer said...

Everyone has beaten me in leaving comments so I will simply say OUTSTANDING!

Sarah Hina said...

Ilesh, thank you for stopping by. :)

Chris, this is the honest to God truth: I have no earthly idea what's going to happen. I think the question is, what are they doing to me? :P

This is why I need a deux ex machina!! Do you have one to spare? ;)

David, thank you so much! Outstanding works for me. :)

Aniket Thakkar said...

You are giving in to the dark side Sarah.... Don't be so evil...!

Listen to White one... who has the shiny gold ring over his head... the red one with pointy horns always leads to trouble!