Sadie McDonald got a letter from her son nearly every week. Sometimes a letter would arrive after a two week gap, but usually it was every week. Sometimes a letter dated earlier would arrive after a letter dated later. The mail was unreliable.
It was 1915. Sadie’s son, Ewen, was at war. Every day, Sadie would check the mail, hoping for a letter. If a week went by, of course she would worry a little. Why no letter? But if Ewen had been injured or killed, then the police would have come to tell her. Wouldn’t they?
They did come to tell her. Early one morning they came; her son was dead.
For the following week, Sadie checked the mail. No letter came. Nor in the second week. Surely a letter would have been on its way to her between the writing of it and his death?
For the next nearly forty years, Sadie checked the mail every day; feeling silly, feeling sad, but half hoping.