AUTHOR'S NOTE – This is quite an old piece. I wrote it in the year 2000. It was originally part of a short story. The story was actually quite awful, but I rather liked this part, so I decided to keep it. I think it works well on its own and could possibly be flash fiction.

My dear friend,

This - writing this letter to you - is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It is difficult because I know that when you read it, I will be gone. I don't want to leave you - I would stay with you forever if I could - but you and I both know that there must be an end to everything, and my little life can be no exception. I can ask only this of you. Read this and remember me, and know that every word I write here is true.

This is not my last will and testament. Even if it were, I would have nothing of worldly value to give you. I must take care of my children and Emily, and so everything of worldly worth is theirs. To you, I can only give some personal belongings. They are written in my will; I won't write them again here.

The leaves are all gone, now. I miss them. They were so beautiful the day before your anniversary, when we walked in the park, with all their shades of gold and red. They would have mad such beautiful pictures. Of course, even though autumn is beautiful, spring is still my favourite time. When you walk through the park this coming spring, let my memory walk with you.

Do you remember all our walks through the park? Sometimes we had a lot to say, and sometimes we said nothing at all. Some of those times were the sweetest and happiest for me. We never once dream, at times like those, that there will come a day when we will cease to be. It is in our quietest moments, alone, that we think of such things.

What will it be like, to die?

It is a natural question, I suppose, from one whose mind is struggling to grasp the reality of his physical state. I know I am dying, yet it is almost as if the fact is becoming less real to me. I no longer panic at the thought of it. I've fallen to speculation instead.

I don't know if there is anything after this life, or if there are any real gods, but I'm not frightened by the uncertainty. Perhaps, in the undiscovered country, it will be as your wonderful Shakespeare had it, "to sleep perhance to dream". If that is so, I will dream of you. I will dream of your faithful friendship to me. I'll dream of your smile. You always did have a pleasant smile. Seeing it in my mind now, helps me think less of the pain in my body, but no less of the ache in my heart at knowing what is coming.

What do I say to you now, Shannon? I want to tell you everything. If if were possible, I would will all my thoughts to you. If any other mind could understand them, I know it would be yours.

This, I suppose, should be the time to give some piece of great wisdom if only I had some great wisdom to share. Fifty short years is not enough time for me to have learned all I wanted to learn, or to have done everything I wanted to do. It is, though, the time I've been given, and so I will content myself with knowing that I've done and learned as much as I could. I've tried to live as if each day had something new to teach me. Learn something from every experience. I suppose that's my piece of wisdom.

Fifty, and dying, but who can know the next move of the hand of fate? To me, now, each day is even more valuable.

Fate. Destiny. It's a thing that none of us can understand or explain, no matter how hard we try. How could fate have kept us so close together, yet so far apart? Neither you nor I will ever know.

Had fate dealt differently with us, perhaps this letter would never need to be written. If you had been my wife, I would have told you every day how I loved you. If we had remained strangers, then I never would have known what true love is; I would have nothing to confess.

It's getting late, and I am tired. All that I want to say to you would take ages to write, and volumes to contain, so I will leave you with this: I love you. I have always loved you, and I always will, forever, for something so pure must also be eternal. Love, remember me.

Yours always,