Warm sunlight trickled through the small window at the top of the wall, dust motes floated through the sun’s rays as it slowly fell on a small pile of papers on top of a desk. Nora sat there with a glass of water in hand, flipping, not caring, through her mail pile. Most of it was junk, but she was hoping that Christine would have written. She hadn’t heard from here in a month or so, and was craving some old company, that understood.
Finally! Nora thought, as soon as she got to the last letter was on the very bottom of the pile, but Nora’s heart lifted as she saw the familiar, friendly, scratchy writing of Christine Krogstad.
It had been two years since she walked out that door, leaving Him, and a lot had happened since then. First of all she had to learn how to support herself, in which Christine and her new husband Krogstad had been a huge help. While learning how to cook, clean, and do daily chores, Nora rejoiced, through tears, as she saw Christine smiling about her marriage with Krogstad, and grieved through her tears at Dr. Rank’s death, shortly after That Night. Christine then became a life saver, and a better friend as she learned the fine tuning of leading a daily life without a maid, and getting a job. She found that she was a wonderful cook, if she didn’t get distracted. Changing from embroidery to knitting and other useful clothe products wasn’t that hard, and it was agreed that her work always had a certain elegance to it that was usually reserved for silk and high clothing. That success had brought a thrill that she rarely felt before. Nora was taking control of her life.
The next step was to get a job, which was the hardest part. But Nora had a single minded intensity that proved she wouldn’t give up easily. Her biggest obstacle probably was the fact that technically, she wasn’t a widower and employers that learned her history very shortly kicked her out back onto the streets. Very soon, Nora learned to answer the question, ‘Are you a widower?’ with, ‘Yes, my husband has left me.’ Eventually she got a job, but nothing satisfied her. She was a good strategist, and liked working with money.
When she had gotten a steady income she worked up the courage to move away from the painful town, of which every street, every house, every everything reminded her of the broken promise. Nora moved back to her childhood town, on the seacoast. The sea air did her good, and friendly neighbors remembered her as a delightful child of her father. She became a school teacher, since she couldn’t raise her own children. Yes, the small town school teacher, sounded good to her. Christine remained in touch with her, and it felt as if her life had taken a huge upward movement.
She found that as she moved from Him, she loved created messes, not complete chaos, but a few things out of order here and her made her feel better. She also found that she loved solving problems and making important decisions. Before That Night, the only big decision was the one that had saved His ungrateful life, and Nora had carried it proudly, but now Nora was her own free person, and she was never going to look back.
No, I’m never going to look back, Nora repeated as she opened Christine’s letter, quickly reading what it said.
How are you doing? I still can’t believe that YOU decided to move all the way to the coast. It seems so far from here. How are you doing? Did you find that perfect job for you? More importantly, anything you need?
The letter continued on, in a friendly manner, with details about Christine’s family and life, and a spattering of question about Nora, Christine’s letter finally ended with;
Nora, honey, I know you hate it when I repeat this message, but He’s really asking about you. It seems that He just can’t live without you. Your kids seem to miss you too. Please at least acknowledge Him. He’s really seems like He’s sorry, and would like to tell you so.
Nora slowly sat back at that last sentence, wishing with all her heart it was completely true. Unfortunately she had no real way of knowing, nothing but her intuition, which was telling her, it was true, He was sorry. With a sigh of resignation she picked up her pen. She started writing her response to Christine, replying first to the easier questions. She then was stumped about what to do at the end, yes or no, should He be allowed in or not? What to do.
Two years was a really long time, should she forgive him? With another sigh of resignation, she slowly started writing down the last of her letter.
Christine…could you please tell Him, Helmer, I would like to start writing to each other, again. Tell him that it would only be as friends, and that I would like to see the children again. I miss them terribly. Yes, please tell Helmer that I’ll be friends, nothing more, with him again. Thank you Christine. Thank you for everything you’ve done.