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Equally Simple
By Corchen


There were only a few people who could have sent the card. Not even sent, for there was no postage stamp, but left, propped on her desk, a plain envelope with a single letter H scribed on its creamy front. She opened it curiously – Christmas cards had already been exchanged by the inhabitants of the boarding house, so she couldn't fathom where this one could have come from.

The card itself was almost stark in its simplicity. Off-white card-stock with a single skeleton leaf affixed to it, off-center. Seasonal, perhaps, but not exactly festive. She frowned slightly and opened it. There was no printing inside – that didn't surprise her because it was obviously not a commercial card – but the few lines written there were in familiar hand-writing.

I catch myself on the edge of you

And I wonder.

Would you be there to catch me

If I fell?

It wasn't signed, but she couldn't mistake that flowing handwriting. Besides, she had a recent example to compare it to, just in case her imagination was making her see only that which she wished to see. Reaching to the back of her desk she picked up a different card and flipped it open, comparing the handwriting. Yes, it was most definitely the same hand that had written both cards.

She sat slowly down on the end of her bed, the cards still in her hands, and stared across the room, not seeing the walls and pictures. What did it mean? Not the literal meaning of the words for seemed clear, even if only in allusion, but what did it mean?

If it was indeed a declaration of, if not love, then the possibility of love, what did that mean for them? She could simply ignore it. The lack of name on the card meant that she could at least pretend that she didn't know who had sent it, tuck it to the back of a drawer somewhere and try to forget about it. That wasn't really an option though. The moment it occurred to her she dismissed that idea as ridiculous – this was something she had hoped for, she wasn't going to pretend it hadn't happened.

No, the problem wasn't whether to respond. The problem was how.

She dropped back onto the bed, now staring up at the ceiling instead of the walls as if the change in orientation would help her to see things more clearly. The answer to the question the card posed was simple. 'Would you be there to catch me if I fell?'

She smiled.

It was indeed a simple answer – and what she should do was equally simple.

When she had finished, and it didn't take but a moment, she left her reply.

Propped on her desk was an envelope, with a single letter M written on its crisp surface. She bit her lip and reached for the envelope with fingers that shook only a little. She opened it and slid out the single folded sheet of paper. She took a deep breath and unfolded the paper, her lower lip caught between her teeth. Written in the middle of the page was a single word.


The End

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