Flash Fiction | Thank You
This was written in ten minutes. The prompt a newspaper article about an elderly lady who left a small sum of money to every person in her village. was how would someone respond to receiving an unexpected letter.
Thank You by Antoinette Brooks
The letter dropped onto the mat, hidden shyly behind the other mail which screamed for attention. It was easy to overlook, with its quaint old-fashioned handwriting, between those annoying red-letter bills that always seemed to be there, and glamorous fashion catalogues, so it had stayed on the dining table until evening-time, after Miranda had brushed the red letters aside, and finally decided to open it.
There was a greeting-card with one of those dreary-looking landscapes that Miranda so despised, and the words "For Your Kindness..." printed at the top. She opened it, and out fell a cheque...
"What kindness?" Miranda wondered. "What have I done to deserve this?"
"£10,000 to thank you... for the time you visited me in hospital - thank you," the letter began.
Hospital? Miranda thought. She vaguely remembered Mrs Lewis the widow two doors down had been hospitalised with a fall or something for around a month, but she hadn't had time to visit her.
"For feeding my darling Timorous when I was on holiday - thank you," the letter continued. Weeelll... Miranda had intended to feed Mrs Lewis' cat, and had even promised to, but then there had been that stressful period at work - when she hadn't got that promotion she'd been promised and... It wasn't her fault that Timorry or whatever his name was had been found half-starved. She shuddered. She still hated to think of it, and she thought that Mrs Lewis and that man from the RSPCA who popped in for a brief word, had quite overreacted to the whole affair.
"For popping by from time to time to have a chat with me - thank you," the letter said.
By now Miranda was feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps Mrs Lewis hadn't been quite in her right mind when she wrote this. After all, she was pretty ancient. Miranda had always been telling herself she must pop by and say hello, and if she ever saw Mrs Lewis in her front-garden she always waved a cheery hello as she breezed past - but always, always, there was so much to do!
Miranda could hardly bear to look at the end of the letter. It was beginning to dawn on her that Mrs Lewis must have mistaken her for someone else. But the name on the card said very clearly Miranda, in shaky but still clear handwriting. £10,000! She'd always been vaguely polite to Mrs Lewis. What could she buy with £10,000.
She felt a flush at her neck and determinedly pushed away the sense of uneasiness that inconveniently crossed her chest at that moment, but then the last words of the card caught her.
"I'm so sorry I didn't have a chance to sign this cheque, just as you didn't quite have time for me... but finally you made time, by reading this letter... so thank you.."