I feel like… something’s watching me--nothing malignant, but it’s brooding. The sun has been down for quite some time, and the closer dawn gets, the less noticeable that ominous presence feels… Could it be some vile demon come to devour me? My wandering mind could be drawing it close... Or, maybe it’s all in my head. Lewis, where are you?
September 21, 1840
Letters to Lewis
Lewis… Tell me that you still think of me, for I can’t keep my wandering mind from thinking so avidly of you. I feel as though I’m in a rut of some sort… You’ve only been gone for a few days, but I think I will go mad. Pastor Wilmont came by today. He had such a look in his eye that stirred my already rickety soul. I know that his heart aches for me, more than it does for any other woman in our small town. He knows how hard I love you, and in that, he believes that I am strong. But honestly, Lewis, without you I am weak. I shan’t live another day without knowing whether you are coming back. I fear that I have no self-restraint! I need to be near to you, Lewis… I love you.
July 24, 1840
I walked into town today. We--I ran out of food yesterday… Most women in this town send their sons to the shops for them, but Lewis and I have no children. So, I had to go for myself…
The women here pity me; what a wretch I must be! I pulled myself together, as best I could, and wore a still face, flooded with the uncertain lie that I was okay--I wasn’t. People stared at me, but I looked ahead and withstood the glaring eyes of the sympathetic persons who pitied me. I should never go back into town so vulnerable, if I could help it…
July 29, 1840
I feel that I am not getting any better. Something will not allow me to forget my ailment… Why does life have to be so unkind? Sorrow, spare me the rigor of your double-edged blade! Spare this wretched heart of mine from misery. I can’t live whilst feeling such pain… Death as an option seems sweet, for life without you is, itself, death.
August 3, 1840
The Longest Days of Summer
It rained today, but it didn’t add to my sadness. I stood at the window and watched the gray mist waft down from the sky. I touched my hand to the window, and despite the humid weather, the glass felt cool to the touch. I looked beyond my saddened reflection and saw, for once, that the world could and did live on without you… Maybe I should learn to do so as well--
The pastor has much faith in me, though I have very little faith in myself. It makes me question if he has ever endured such a thing as I…? If I knew that he has, maybe I could take his words more earnestly. For now, he is preaching to stone.
He comes by weekly, offering his services--words filled with redemption and jubilance. It is very simple, my problem and the services that I require… human touch and affection. But he could never know that I am struggling within myself with such a turbulent demon. I shall keep it secret.
With the passing of each week, I feel that I have been becoming more and more sickly. I’ve learned to deal with the absence of your touch, but something powerful still binds me to your painful memory. I haven’t even a clue whether you’re still alive… I had written you weeks ago, and still, no reply… I hunt down the letter carrier daily, as if I am some sort of rabid beast in pursuit of warm flesh! [I scoffed inside of myself at such a thing.] Dark humor keeps me sane.
August 15, 1840
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