Boris was still trying to process the letter he had received from Cate. He hadn’t thought about her for ages because of his relationship with Tulia and then, out of the blue, he received the letter. It was in the letterbox on Friday when he checked before heading up to his flat after coming home from working late at the office. He was startled to see it but he took it up with the other mail and set them down on the table in the foyer.
He had showered and changed and had something to eat. Then, he went into the foyer and picked the letter up. For a couple of minutes, he had stared at it, debating whether or not to open it and then, his curiosity got the better of him when he saw the return address. It was the address of London’s Tyburn Convent. He immediately ripped open the letter and read it.
You are probably wondering why I’m writing to you. This may come as a shock to you but I have joined this convent. It is not a light decision for anyone and that is why each sister must spend her first six months as a postulant, asking herself whether this is the right life for her or not. I honestly believe that it is the best thing for me. If I stay the course and I have no doubt that I will, with God’s help, I will, with Mother Superior’s approval, choose a new name for myself after a saint of my choice. From that moment on, I will be known only by that name. I must spend two years as a novice until I complete my formation training and then, be I will able to make my first profession of vows to become part of the community as a junior.
If anyone had told me that one day I would join a convent, I would have laughed at them. Now, years later, it is what I have been called to do. I wanted to write and tell you and also to ask for your forgiveness. What I did to you was awful. I should never have accepted your proposal when I knew that I didn’t love you. I hurt you terribly and I’m truly sorry. I hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive me.
I thought you should also know that marrying me would have been a mistake for you. You, see, I’m unable to have children. Most men want to be fathers. I don’t think you would have been happy just being my husband. So, you see, things worked out for the best, didn’t they? And, now you’ve found happiness with someone else. I wish you all the best, Boris. You deserve it.
Understandably, my family was shocked about my decision to become a nun but I think most of them have come around. Edward has been amazing. He has been so supportive. I never thought I would say this, but I’m so thankful that he’s my brother. And before I came here, he and I had become so close–closer than we have ever been.
Boris, I know that it isn’t easy for one to forgive a wrong, a hurt but I hope that in time, you will be able to forgive me, if not for my sake, for yours. I will close my letter with this scripture verse: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
He read the letter again and then, he placed it back inside the envelope. He took up the other mail and went through it but at the back of his mind, he was thinking about what Cate had said, particularly, the Bible verse on forgiveness. It was very obvious that it would mean a great deal to her if he would forgive her for what she had done to him.
Forgive her. Strangely, he didn’t have a problem doing that now. What happened was in the past. Yes, she had broken his heart and he had been filled with so much bitterness and resentment that it had made him lash out at Tulia. But after he and Tulia had become closer, the toxic feelings he had once felt toward Cate were gone. Now, he felt sorry for her. Sorry that she couldn’t have children and believed that her only option now was to shut herself away in a convent.
No, he didn’t have a problem forgiving the woman who had jilted him, wounded his pride and had broken his heart. He knew that Tulia would encourage him to forgive her. Tulia. He hadn’t shown her the letter. Perhaps, he should. Moving away from the fence, he headed towards his parked car.
Half hour later, after parking his car in the underground parking, he went to his flat to get the letter and then, he went to Tulia’s. After they hugged and kissed, he took it out of the envelope and gave it to her. “It’s a letter from Cate,” he explained when she looked at it and then at him.
“Cate wrote you?”
“Yes. I was as surprised as you when I got it on Friday. Read it.”
“Let’s go into the living-room where there’s more light,” she said.
He followed her, removing his denim jacket which he laid on the accent chair.
She stood there, reading it. “I can’t believe it,” she said, folding the letter and handing it back to him. “I can’t believe that she’s going to be a nun.”
“Nor can I but she believes that it’s her calling.”
“I hope she’s doing it for the right reasons and not to escape from life or the pain of not being able to have children. I feel sorry for her. It’s a terrible thing when a woman can’t have children. In the Bible, both Sarah and Elizabeth saw their barrenness as a reproach. For them it was a shame, a disgrace not to be able to conceive. Cate is no different. She doesn’t feel like a complete woman because of her condition so the best thing for her to do is to give up everything outside convent life. It couldn’t have been an easy decision for her but it took a lot of courage to forsake all for the life of a nun.”
“Yes, I suppose it took a lot courage for her to do that. She has definitely changed.”
“So, what are you going to do? Are you going to reply to her letter?”
“I believe I will. She wants my forgiveness.”
“Does she have it?”
“Yes, she does.”
“It’s true what she said, you know.”
“What? That most men want to be fathers and that you wouldn’t have been happy just being her husband?”
“It’s true that most men want to be fathers. I will be honest and say that I would have wanted to have my own children but if that wasn’t possible, I wouldn’t have had a problem adopting.”
“Yes, I don’t think you would have if you truly loved her.”
“I did love her but that’s all in the past now. As she said in her letter, I have moved on. And what I meant about it being true what she said, I was talking about the part where she said that I have found happiness with someone else. Tulia, I’ve found it with you.”
Tulia smiled. “I’m very happy to hear that, Boris.”
He quickly stuffed the letter back into the envelope and into his jean pocket before taking her in his arms. “She’s right. Things have worked out for the best. If she hadn’t dumped me, I wouldn’t be here with you like this.”
There was no question or doubt in his mind now that if he had married Cate, he wouldn’t have been happy and it wouldn’t only have been the fact that she couldn’t have children or that she didn’t love him. It would have been the realization that she wasn’t the right woman for him. The right woman was standing in front of him now. And it was at that very moment when it dawned on him that he had fallen in love with Tulia.
Tulia wrapped her arms about his waist and pressed against him. “Yes, things do have a way of working out for the best, don’t they?”
He nodded before he lowered his head and kissed her.