She starts the letter again. Dear sir, she writes, in her flowing cursive script.
She sits back to admire her calligraphy. She has a very neat hand. Not only is it legible but it has a certain, fragile, perfect elegance. The letters don't lean onto each other, sagging under their own weight. Nor do they stand stiffly upright, pompously wanting nothing to do with each other. They establish an ideally friendly camaraderie. Each word forms a convivial meeting place and neighbouring words enjoy the most cordial nodding relationships.
The compliments she cherishes the most are the ones about her hand. She knows that they're true. Not lies told in sympathy or in a desperate attempt to provide solace and compensation. None of the extravagance of "You look delicious tonight" or "You make for delightful company". Nor the suspect offerings of people who love her. Or think they do.
Dear sir, she reads out loud, releasing the letters, allowing them to take shape in the air. She frowns in dissatisfaction. Too formal. But the 'Dear' suggests an informality, doesn't it? An endearment. That should be whispered into receptive darkness. Not demarcated graphically on glaring white, making claims that can't be sustained.
Another paper ball joins the gathering heap in the trash. Acquiring creases and crumples. Un-virgins sacrificed at the altar of character-building. She squares her shoulders and begins again.
How does one start a letter to a father one never knew.