Justin opened the mailbox shocked to see the red envelope
peeking out from beneath the electric bill and a donation inquiry from the GLC.
The smile took over his tired face and he hurried in from the chill of the fall
afternoon to sit by the fire to read the letter he knew was inside.
Sitting down in his favorite blue recliner he lovingly caressed the beautiful loops of the handwriting on the outside of the envelope. Carefully sliding a finger under the flap, Justin lifted it and pulled the thick cream stationery out.
Hesitating a moment he wasn't sure whether he was scared of reading the words or if he was worried about that intense let down he'd feel once he'd finished the letter. Taking a deep breath he could almost swear he smelled the cologne that his partner had worn for most of his life. With great care he unfolded the paper and smiled to himself as the sound of Brian's voice filled his head with each word he read.
I bet you're sitting in your recliner curled up next to the fire, aren't you? It always was your favorite spot to read when the weather turned colder.
Halloween is approaching and I bet you've been busy putting out the pumpkins and ghosts. Don't forget to pick up the full size candy bars. Don't cheap out and hand out those miniatures. The Taylor-Kinney's are not cheap.
I'm sorry I can't be there to help you put the witches in the trees or to laugh at your crazy ideas for our costumes. Do you remember that year you insisted we all dress up as characters from The Rocky Horror Picture Show?
You looked so sexy as Rocky and I'll never forget Michael's face when I waltzed in as Frank. It was priceless. That was the night Gus barged in on us as you were blowing me. Our sonny boy always was a cock block. I think that's why the munchers sent him over to visit as often as they did. Just so they could get some pussy.
See, that got you laughing, didn't it? You need to laugh more, Sunshine. You need to get out and see our friends. I'd bet Emmett is dragging Drew over to visit you at least once a week isn't he? Ben and Michael call insisting you come for dinner and you've turned them down each time, haven't you?
You have to live Justin. You promised me that you would.
I know it's hard to face this anniversary on your own, so please don't. Please go visit Teddy or even the munchers. Lean on our friends, Justin. They understand more than you think.
And if you ever doubt that you're loved, look out at that willow tree and remember the times we spent there, in our garden. We weren't given enough time together but what we had was special. And I enjoyed every second I spent with you.
Don't be sad or mourn my passing. I feel no pain now, Justin. And I'm always with you. In every breeze, every sunrise, I am there. And I love you. Even in death.
Now get up out of that chair, dry your eyes and go call our sonny boy. He is waiting for you.
Justin's tears fell on the pages he held in his hands and he sat in quiet stillness for a few long minutes before meticulously folding the letter and putting it back in the envelope. Resting a wrinkled hand on the arm of the chair he pulled himself to standing and crossed the room to stare out the window at that big willow tree in the backyard.
Halloween marked a year since Brian had passed away. Justin's tears fell as he remembered holding his partner's hand while he took his last breaths. The cancer had been aggressive and even though Brian had fought valiantly, he'd not been strong enough to beat it a third time.
Justin had felt so lost without Brian those first few nights. He'd ignored their friends and family. Until one afternoon he found the red envelope in the mailbox. Every special occasion he'd find a letter, and he found that looking forward to them was what kept him living.
Tucking the envelope in the pocket of his sweater, Justin turned and smiled up at the painting of Brian over the mantle and hurried to call Gus. After all, it's what Brian had wanted.
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