Text Box: Fourth Quarter 2016 — Third Place

Never Too Late


Taria Karillion




























Ten. There are ten people at my bedside.

Family faces, doctors, nurses, someone from The London-Tokyo Herald and a fellow in a suit from Guinness. But I don’t like stout…

Nine. No… someone called 999. I can’t leave yet, I said. I’m in the middle of something important. This letter – to you!

Eight years since you emigrated. Good for you, I say – travel while you’re young, my pet. My Granddaughter, the adventurer… So proud.

Seven shoeboxes, your postcards have filled. And now you’re planning this amazing trip – have courage and go!

Six letters above my bed. My life was once changed by a letter – no, a telegram. The family all came … Slow down, they said, come live nearer to us, take things easy. But not you - We only get one life, Gran, you said. Live it to the full!  So I did. And so should you.

Five months, was it? Five months will pass like blossom in spring, and your handsome Hiroto will wait for you – he is a good man. This trip is important -something you will always remember and be remembered for.

Four tubes in my arms and face. I hope they don’t scare the little ones. I have much to smile about, though, and I learned a new joke today, so they are giggling now.

Three generations of loved ones with me – I am very honoured.

Two last jobs – to send my love to you and urge you not to feel bad that the Mission Controller has kept you in quarantine – the last thing you need in space is an illness. I do hope this letter reaches you before launch. Letters are records of love and history. Did I tell you that my telegram came from the Queen of England? I still remember opening it…

…one evening, twenty years ago.

First Place: Everything After Now

Second Place: Feet