I choked back tears as I read the letter. The evil woman who had locked him away for so long was his mother? How could such a person be a mother? And Florence was dead, it all seemed so cruel. Looking back on my life I wonder if its true purpose was to teach me that life was cruel and that it was us who had to be good in order to make it tolerable. As I read the letter again, I wondered if there was a paradise, perhaps everything that existed around us was purgatory and it was us who made it heaven or hell. I didn’t know. Perhaps it wasn’t this world in this great age of change that was immoral, perhaps it was for us to set our own morals and then abide by them and then live with the consequences, maybe this place was truly was the land of gods and monsters. That was the sort of thing only Sylvester knew.
Setting the letter down, I sat myself on the bed beside Sylvester and looked out of the window. It was almost dawn. Soon he would wake up. I left the letter on his bedside hoping he would find it and I would have less to explain. Setting my head down, I knew sleep would not come easy, but it came quicker than I had imagined. When I woke up, I found the letter was gone and so was Sylvester. Had he run away again? No. He was seated by his piano in the corner of the room with the letter in his hands. He looked almost relieved at his reading, to my surprise. “I’m sorry” I blurted out. He looked towards me almost dazed “don’t be.” He whispered “at least now I know.” He came to a crisp and silent halt in his words and all around the room there was quiet. I dint know if it was something to be uneasy about or if it meant that in the world this morning there was peace. Peace at last.
“So he’s dead.” Sylvester murmured in an incredibly finite tone. I nodded. “And my mother didn’t die all those years ago, but she is dead now.” I nodded again. “And my first lover is dead”, he paused for breath “and now her daughter needs to be taken care of” I continued. “No.” he said. I looked surprised “I don’t want another daughter.” His voice fading at the end “What? You don’t have any children.” “But I have – had – Clara.” He looked to the floor “And she wasn’t mine either. I have always been the lover and never the father.“ Oddly, that had been the first time I had realised it; Sylvester lived totally under grief. I had naively assumed that when he had left the island and started his new life in Paris but of course it wasn’t so. I truly was learning more about life every day.