A Letter, Delayed

© 2001 Rogue

My Dear Son:

I was pleased to receive your letter, and thank you for your gift of the little bell. I do not understand why they do not fix it if it is cracked. Things that are broken should be mended quickly or else they are wasted. That is actually the reason why I need to write to you now. You know that your father is old and that he is not as strong as he was when you were little, and I believe that it will soon be time for you to wear kaniki 1. I hope that I can see you one more time before then but if I cannot, I want to tell you some things now that even your strong father did not have the courage to say before.

In your last two letters you have told me about your man-friend Shan. You speak of him many times. I cannot see well these days, but your old father is not yet so blind that he cannot see what his son is trying not to say to him. It hurts me deeply that you can not tell me, even though I know very well that it is my own doing. When your sister told me that she had fallen in love with a human man I was enraged. I know that you heard me roar and saw the gestures I made. It must have been a terrifying sight. I said that my heart was broken, but it was not Lyell's choice of mate, as I said. My heart broke when I saw the sorrow in her eyes. It has never healed because I cannot forget the pain I caused her to feel. I was thinking only of cubs and of my lineage. These things are important, as I have always taught you, but now that I am old and I will see not many more days, I often think, are they so important that my daughter must be forbidden to have a happy life?

Remember, things that are broken should be quickly mended. My heart has been broken for too long and it has caused me much suffering. I want to mend it now. This Shan of yours, this man. Your father knows. I do not approve fully, but if he is a good man and your heart is true, then I will not be angry. It is important for you to know that you are my strong and brave son. You are in America and receiving a fine education, and your father is very proud of you. If I do not see you again, then these thoughts will be mine when I close my eyes for the last time. Please be happy with your man-friend.

Tell them they should fix their bell.

With my love,


1 kaniki refers to a dark blue cloth symbolizing mourning. The term is a euphemism among Nekobe's people. (back)

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