20 comments

Happy Speculative Friendship

This wasn’t Adam’s first-time opening Mr. Groff’s letter. At first, it had felt funny to open someone else’s mail, but the old man had requested with such a puppy face that Adam couldn’t refuse. Old man Groff often forgot his reading glasses at unexpected places. He also, always wanted to know what was in the letters urgently. As soon as Adam climbed up the porch stairs to deliver the letters, Mr. Groff asked, “Whom is it from?”. He seemed a little disappointed when he heard, it was from someone called Ron. This was a usual question form the old man, “Can you read the letter to me my boy?”


Adam opened the letter from Ron.

Dear Uncle Groff, it said. Hope you are doing well. I am getting married next Month and would like to invite you to the wedding ceremony. We plan to have a reception in the…


“You can stop!”, said the old man. Adam could see he was not interested. He had been waiting for a different letter.

“Would you like to write a reply Sir?”, Adam politely asked.

Mr. Groff just shook his head and said, “It’s OK. He won’t miss me.”. Adam could see, he didn’t like Ron much.


“Could you help me write another letter instead?”, asked the Old Man. “My Son Larry lives in California, and I needed to send him a note.” he said. “I forgot my reading glasses at the doctor’s office this time.”, he added with a sheepish smile.


Adam picked a paper from the old man’s box and prepared to write. He never minded writing letters for Mr. Groff. The old man composed himself and began the dictation.


Dear Larry,


Hope you are doing well. I am in good health. The doctor says I am still a young man. The only problem these days is that I keep forgetting my spectacles wherever I go, and then I have to make Adam here, read and write my letters.


It will be your thirty second birthday by the time this letter reaches you. I wish you a very happy birthday. Hope to hear back from you soon.


Love,

 Your Dad.


Adam knew this was not the first letter the old chap was sending Larry. He had written to Larry often over the last year. Adam offered to post the letter on getting back to the post-office and left. He couldn’t help but wonder about Mr. Groff’s son. Why hadn’t Larry written back to the previous letters? Had he forgotten his

Dad? Well, nevertheless he would make sure to send the letter to the address noted by Mr. Groff.


Days passed by, and there was no response from Larry. Adam always smiled and waved at Mr. Groff as he walked by the house, to deliver the other letters in his neighborhood. He even stopped by to see if the old man needed something that he could help with. Once in a while he would pick up letters form Mr. Groff to post. They were almost always addressed to Larry, who was yet to reply. Sometimes, Adam visited Mr. Groff to have tea together and they played a little chess.


Today was a particularly busy day for Adam. He had to sort through many letters, before he could make a delivery trip. He began going through the big pile allocated to his station. Half way through, he saw a letter addressed to Mr. Groff. As he picked up the envelope, he recognized his own handwriting on the back. The letter addressed to Larry had been returned to the sender.


Surprised, Adam stared at the letter. Had the old man been writing to a wrong address all along? Today for the first time, his curiosity took over him. He decided to find out from the postal database if the address was indeed correct. He asked his friend to lookup if the address was registered in the Postal database to a Larry Groff. The reply came soon. The address was not registered to Larry. The person who lived there had setup a mail forwarding request that had expired, and so this letter had returned. Now everything made sense. Either Larry had moved to a new address and had indeed forgotten about his Dad; or Larry only lived in Mr. Groff's imagination.


Adam did not have the heart to tell the old man of this occurrence. He had to do something to make things seem better.

The next evening, Adam showed up at Mr. Groff’s door step. “I have a letter for you!” he said with a smile, as he handed over the letter from Larry.


Mr. Groff’s eyes widened in disbelief, as he saw the name on the envelope. He looked at the letter and then at Adam. Finally, with shaking hands he tore open the envelope. His eyes watered a little as he read the letter, he had been waiting for.


Dear Dad,


I am great. I am sure you must be well.

I was travelling a lot, and so took me longer to reply to your letters.


I am also enclosing with this letter, a string that can help you keep your spectacles safe and around your neck. Hopefully you will lose it fewer times than before.


Love,

Larry


After a long time, Adam saw the old man smile. Still looking at the letter, he picked up the string and removed his glasses to put the string on the ear pieces. “May I leave Sir?”, Adam asked, as Mr. Groff looked up from his letter. There was no response. The man just sat in his chair and stared at him. Had he recognized, that this wasn’t Larry’s handwriting?


After a minute of silence, not knowing what to do next, Adam slowly stepped back and turned to leave. As he started walking towards the gate, there was a movement on the porch. “Would you like to stay over for dinner tonight, Son?”, said the old shaky voice.


Adam smiled, as he heard himself being called a Son, for the very first time. How could he say no, to an invitation from this Dad!

February 05, 2021 07:38

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20 comments

Mango Chutney
07:43 Feb 05, 2021

This is my first story on Reedsy. Please let me know what you think! Critiquing is welcome too.. In-fact I need it!

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22:16 Feb 11, 2021

Sometimes an author pays attention to the use of vocabulary (a "picky" selection of eloquent words) but the only thing you see in the story is that: a parade of "beautiful" words; sometimes a writer pays attention to the story itself but forgets about details, "decorating" it in order to create a good atmosphere to influence the reader. Your story has both, a good narration that affects the reader's mood (it moves the reader) and a great story line. I just wanted to say Congrats! since your short story got me... and that isn't an easy task! ...

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Mango Chutney
23:37 Feb 11, 2021

Thank you for such high praise Henry.. :) Glad to hear you liked the story and the writing style.

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Beth Connor
22:01 Feb 10, 2021

This was such a beautiful and touching debut story. You were able to draw out my feelings for the characters. I liked that we did not know what actually happened to Larry, or even if Mr. Groff knew, but that you focused on the relationship between Adam and him. Well done.

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Mango Chutney
22:40 Feb 10, 2021

Thank you :D Good to see you liked the story style ..!

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Nainika Gupta
22:42 Feb 07, 2021

Amazing first submission, I thought the title really did wonders for the story and you wrote your story with a strong style that I can't wait to see more of! -N

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Mango Chutney
22:46 Feb 07, 2021

Thank you :) Hope to write more.

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Nainika Gupta
22:52 Feb 07, 2021

yay! :)

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Alai Agadulin
04:29 Feb 13, 2021

This is a beautiful story. Congratulations! I love how steady and warm the characters feel. I don't even know why Mr. Groff disliked Ron, but I also felt dislike towards him. There were just minor mistakes that a quick proofreading wouldn't fix, but overall, it was beautifully written.

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Waverley Stark
16:46 Feb 11, 2021

Very clever! Your dialogue was funny with the use of exclamation points and 'whom.'

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Mango Chutney
20:58 Feb 11, 2021

Thank you. Glad you liked it :)

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Kay Wren
22:23 Feb 10, 2021

I enjoyed this story- great twist at the end! You had some problems with punctuation; just commas where they shouldn't be and such. I was slightly confused about the whole, 'I am your father' scenario, I feel like it wasn't as clear as you might have meant it to be. Also- if Adam was is son, then who was Larry? Overall a great story, though. (:

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Mango Chutney
22:44 Feb 10, 2021

Oh.. Yes I need to work on punctuation. Thank you for pointing out :) Larry is the Son who is no longer in contact with Mr. Groff. Adam is just the postman, who developed a relationship with Mr. Groff, by doing Son-like things with him :)

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Tessa Takzikab
15:56 Feb 10, 2021

It's a beautiful story. There are a few minor spelling errors, and one spot where you start a new paragraph in the middle, but it doesn't take away from the story. However, there are a few things that need an explanation. Why does Adam live at the post office? What happened to Adam's dad? You don't really mention much of Adam's backstory, but a sentence here and there could up the quality of the story by a lot. By the way, my general assumption (after the contest for that prompt is over and you can no longer edit the story) is that all sp...

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Mango Chutney
17:37 Feb 10, 2021

Thank you !! I appreciate your feedback :D In my head Adam was the postman. He didn't live at the post office :) Yes, you are right. Giving more background about Adam would give some depth to the character. I will definitely try to do that in future. Also feel free to go into details. I would appreciate that. I wasn't aware that we cannot edit after the contest. I can still see the 'Edit' button.. :D

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Tessa Takzikab
18:02 Feb 10, 2021

Oh. I guess that makes more sense... :) You can always change the title or update a couple of the settings, but once your story is approved, you can't edit anything within the actual story. Some Reeders keep another copy to edit for their own records, but not everyone.

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Mango Chutney
18:33 Feb 10, 2021

I see. I think, I will also start maintaining another copy.

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I loved this first story Shreya...it's amazing.

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Mango Chutney
19:49 Feb 06, 2021

Thank you :)

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Your welcome!

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