The letters you wrote are all gone. Daddy threw them into the fire today. I never memorized them, thought they would be mine forever. I wasn't prepared to lose my last piece of you. I know I shouldn't blame him, but didn't he love you? Doesn't he love me? Why would he do this to us?

It's moments like these where I need your letters, need to feel the paper you touched, need to study your handwriting, so similar to mine. I need to look at your words, to know you loved us both. I need to know that what I'm doing is right, that staying here with him is what you wanted, what he needs.

I know you needed the trip. You were going to write your great American novel about the plains of Africa, of the wild animals, the foods, and the different cultures. You needed an escape from the life that suffocated you and your freedom. Was life here really so bad? Was life with me really so bad?

I get it. In our tiny town, everyone knows your name, and your history. They know your reputation. I know your reputation. I don't believe a word of it. The people in town talk about you Mommy. My kindergarten teacher talked about you. I know Daddy wasn't your first love. She whispered to the parents, to the other teachers about how you were married to another man. How he was murdered. How everyone suspects you, even when that other man is in jail. I don't believe it.

You have too much love in your heart to ever be capable of such a thing. I used to see you come home from work, and just have to sit down and cry. I didn't quite understand why, but Daddy told me the other mommies bullied you. I will never understand how people can be so mean. They're just jealous of your perfection.

You don't understand how your departure affected us. Daddy and me. Holed up in our yellow house. The cracks in the wall grew, deeper, and longer, the shadows taking over whole rooms at a time. The only thing that kept us smiling was our countdown to your arrival. One day left was the happiest day of them all. You were so close. We went to the airport with our signs and our balloons. That year was the longest of them all, and we were ready for you to be with us again, our family complete again. The plane never arrived.

That night was awful. We heard the news over the loudspeaker, and the entire airport was still until Daddy collapsed on the ground, his expression despondent. All around us, similar reactions happened, families ripped at the seams, their friends and relatives crying out to those who would never hear them. Daddy and I sat on the floor of that airport for 12 hours, and the people affected by the tragedy gathered around us. All of us waiting for a plane that wouldn't come.