Dear Lord, sis, how did you end up like that? What on earth happened to you? I always knew that you were a little bit different where pain was concerned when we were growing up, but never in my wildest imagination did I ever dream that it was pain that drove you sexually. How did that happen?
I’m not naïve; I know that there are people who enjoy either hurting someone else or being hurt, but my own dear sister? No, I could never have seen you in that role as a teenager. Yet, now that I come to think about it, that boy who daddy once threated to beat to a pulp, what was his name…? Jessie Something, wasn’t it? Ah, that’s it: Jessie Howard. I remember daddy throwing a blue fit when he saw your arms and legs covered in marks and bruises. I swear if that boy had been there that night daddy would have set the precedent for members of this family doing jail time.
I wish you could have talked to me about it, but you never really confided in me, did you? You never really confided in anyone, come to that. Mummy always said that you were a closed book; secretive and just a little bit crafty and sneaky. I used to hate to hear her talk about you like that. You were my sister and it was my job to stick up for you, wasn’t it? But, the sad truth is that mummy was right and, if she were still here now, I would tell how sorry I am for doubting her.
Of course, then you met that bastard of a piece of work who, in some sort of roundabout way, is as responsible for you being where you are now as you are. He was bad news before you met him. His reputation with women was appalling yet you, apparently, fell head-over-heels in love with him. You were still only a kid! Nineteen years of age is no age to be deciding that you had met the man of your dreams and that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him, especially a piece of work that that jerk. I’m sorry, sis, I just cannot bring myself to pen his name. Hate is a strong word and emotion and not something I am accustomed to feeling. However, when I think of him and what he put you and Kaitlyn and Alexander through, my blood boils, it truly does.
Why, sis? Why did you stay with him? Was the urge to be hurt by him so all-powerful and so overwhelming that it overrode your maternal instincts? Did you really need the violence he dished out to you so badly that you were even prepared to allow him to hurt your kids? I don’t understand that part in all this, I really don’t. Me and Felix were never blessed with children of our own, but ever since Kaitlyn came to live with us, our lives have been enriched beyond measure. How could you have discarded her love, intelligence and everything she, and her dear brother, had to offer you? Of all the things you have done in the course of your lifetime, I find it hard to forgive the way you put your own perverted needs ahead of the basic needs of Kaitlyn and Alexander. There are just not the words to fully express how I feel about that.
The day that he died and Alexander died is a day that none of us will ever forget. We remember Alexander appropriately on the anniversary, of course we do. The sickening thing is that we also have to contend with the unwanted memory that that scumbag also died that same day. To my mind that sullies Alexander’s day of remembrance. He, your piece-of-crap husband, is never spoken of, but me, Kaitlyn and Felix all talk about Alexander and keep him as much alive and as much a part of our lives as we are able.
Your sickness robbed this world of a truly remarkable young man. He would surely have gone on to achieve some sort of greatness in his life, I am utterly positive of that assertion. He would have had all the incentive in the world to rise above the base level that you and that creature you married had descended to, that’s for sure. Alexander had dreams and ambitions, dreams that his energy, drive and will to succeed would have brought to fruition. Your single act of barbarism and cruelty took from your son that chance and a part of me hates you so much for that.
I am advised by the prison authorities that you are not well. Twenty-eight years of incarceration have taken their toll on your health, they say. I’m not surprised. Lack of decent food, exercise and good company would sap the will of any reasonable person, let alone someone with your particular quirks and needs. It must have been hell for you. It may sound harsh to say it, but it is only exactly what you deserved after what you did. I am not going to sugar-coat it just to save you momentary emotional discomfort, even if you are dying. The truth’s the truth if you tell it cold or wrap it up in soft language. My days of doing that are long gone. You’re a killer – a murderer – and you are dying. You are where you ought to be, and there’s no getting away from that fact. I shed a lifetime's worth of tears when you were arrested and went to trial. I'm dry as an old bone now where you and your crime is concerned. Justice has been served all these years. I console myself with that.
Okay, I know you want to hear about Kaitlyn. She will kill me…, oops, wrong choice of phrase there, but it’s not meant in the literal sense, you understand… She has absolutely forbidden me to discuss her or her life with you. She is not a hard or cruel woman; there’s not a bad bone in her body. It’s just that all these years she has erected a wall to protect herself from any residual feelings she might have for you. As loathe as we all are to admit it, you did bring her into this world. However, as your sister I feel a very small measure of compassion is appropriate under the present circumstances.
Kaitlyn has grown into a beautiful young woman who took up law and has carved herself a very successful career. I have seen her in court and she is a tiger when she gets her teeth into a witness whom she believes is lying. I have watched her destroy grown men in the witness box who have committed some awful crimes yet alternately gently cajole youngsters who are victims of the most terrible abuse into telling their stories in open court and watch their attackers get their just desserts.
Her husband, Simeon, is of French stock, but was brought up here. He is also a lawyer, but in the less exciting but highly lucrative world of corporate law. I don’t pretend to understand all that mumbo-jumbo legal jargon the pair of them rattle off over the dinner table sometimes, but it makes me happy to see them so happy and so in love.
Marcus, their eldest, is studying at university. I think he has plans to go into architecture. Daisy, the middle one, wants to be an actress and involves herself as much as she can with the local theatre group. I’ve been to see her act a couple of times and I think she’s very good, but that may be just a biased aunt talking! Sweet Lucy, the baby – although she’s nearly fifteen now and the image of her mother at the same age - is breaking boys’ hearts at school and is just enjoying being a beautiful teenage girl. None of them know about you.
Kaitlyn discussed the issue with me and Felix. We did nothing to sway her decision one way or the other, merely listened and allowed her to come to her own conclusions. Her decision was to not tell her children about their murderous grandmother. As far as they are concerned you died a long time before they were born which, as far as Kaitlyn is concerned, was the day you killed her brother.
There is little else left to tell you or, really, for me to say. Since Felix went three summers ago now, I find myself wishing my days away to be with him again. He was a brilliant dad to Kaitlyn and the bond he and she shared was one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I am certain beyond any doubt that without the love, support and security of life with me and Felix Kaitlyn would never have turned out to be the beautiful charming, loving and successful businesswoman and mother that she is today. That is her greatest triumph over you and what you did to her and I applaud her for it.
It is unlikely we will communicate again. You may not even get to read this letter, if you are as ill as they say you are. You know, I don’t really mind either way. Now that I come to think about why I wrote this letter in the first place I have realised that it was an exercise in putting my thoughts in order, letting them go and saying goodbye. Whether you read it is immaterial. We have had nothing to say to one another all the years you have been in prison so why should your imminent demise make any difference now?