The Letter

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Your eyes stared down at the counter.

"Something wrong?" She asked as she sat down your tea in front of you

You chuckle, "Ah, no. I just used to know someone a long time ago who also went by the name mama."

Her eyebrow raised, "Oh? Another? Tell me about her?" She pointed to the bar stool

You stood for a second before taking her offer. You figured you'd had nothing to do anyway so you might as well just talk to the random woman until your friend came.

"She was... different. She'd probably be around your age." You say

"Oh and what is my age?"

You tense up not realizing your words.

She laughs, "I'm kidding. I'm 48 so yes, she's probably around my age."

You release a breath and smile to yourself

"Continue." She says

"She was sweet, funny. She lived beside my parents and I since—well before I was even born." You grin thinking of her

"She had deep-red hair and all the men with or without wives wanted her but she stayed to herself. I'll never forget when my mother stormed into her home and caused a fuss because she thought my father had eyes for someone other than herself. Thankfully that wasn't the case. Dad was and is friendly. She and my mother got along quite well after that."

You take a sip from the tea and notice the shock in the woman's eyes as you speak but you ignore it.

"When I was 6 she came home with these boys. Seven of them and they looked awful. Skinny, paled, sickly but, mama took care of them. She told my mom, they need a mother. And she was that. Mama was a great mother. " You smile to yourself, "I used to call them my protectors."

"Do you know her real name?" The woman asked

"I believe it was Elise." You say before continuing, "Anyway the bullying at school stopped and I didn't cry myself to sleep anymore." You eyes soon became sad and your smile faltered.

"Earlier you said you 'used to' call them your protectors. What do you mean?" She asks

"Mm. They did something really bad when I was around 12 years of age. Because of that I told them to never contact me ever again. The next morning I went out to walk my dog and the house was empty. Mama was gone and so were my protectors." You say softly

The woman only hums. You look up to see her starring at the ground before she excuses herself and walks into the back.

You sigh as you're back to being alone, sipping your tea.

Soon the woman came back only to say one thing, "Your friend is out front. Please be safe Ara and-and don't come back to this side of town." She finished before she gave a small smile and disappeared behind the door once more.

You took our your wallet and left five dollars, not sure how much the tea cost but you were sure that'd be enough.

You gathered your things and walked out of the diner to see your longtime friend sitting anxiously in her red Kia Soul.

You hurriedly got into the papa seat and she sped off before you could even fully close the door.

"The Jung district?! Yahhhhh Kim Ara! You're going to be the death of me." She whines

You smile softly but can't see to stop looking in the direction of the diner. Why shouldn't you come back? You'd love to visit with the woman. For some reason, she felt familiar.

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