I am not even going into court. This morning I was given a private showing of what Harge intended to bring against me. Yes, they have a few conversations recorded–namely Waterloo, and it would be useless to try to face a court with this. I should be ashamed, not for myself oddly enough, but for my own child, to say nothing of not wanting you to have to appear. Everything was very simple this morning–I simply surrendered. The important thing now is what I intend to do in the future, the lawyers said. On this depends whether I would ever see my child again, because Harge has with ease now complete custody of her. The question was would I stop seeing you (and others like you, they said!). It was not so clearly put. There were a dozen faces that opened their mouths and spoke like the judges of doomsday–reminding me of my duties, my position, and my future. (What future have they fixed up for me? Are they going to look in on it in six months?)–I said I would stop seeing you. I wonder if you will understand, Therese, since you are so young and never even knew a mother who cared desperately for you. For this promise, they present me with their wonderful reward, the privilege of seeing my child a few weeks of the year. Abby is here. We talk of you–she sends you her love as I send mine. Abby reminds me of the things I know already–that you are very young and you adore me. Abby does not think I should send this to you, but tell you when you come. We have just had quite an argument about it. I tell her she does not know you as well as I, and I think now she does not know me as well as you in some ways, and those ways are the emotions. I am not very happy today, my sweet. I am drinking my ryes and you would tell me they depress me, I know. But I wasn’t prepared for these days after those weeks with you. They were happy weeks–you knew it more than I did. Though all we have known is only a beginning. I meant to try to tell you in this letter that you don’t even know the rest and perhaps you never will and are not supposed to–meaning destined to. We never fought, never came back knowing there was nothing else we wanted in heaven or hell but to be together. Did you ever care for me that much, I don’t know. But that is all part of it and all we have known is only a beginning. And it has been such a short time. For that reason it will have shorter roots in you. You say you love me however I am and when I curse. I say I love you always, the person you are and the person you will become. I would say it in a court if it would mean anything to those people or possibly change anything, because those are not the words I am afraid of. Let me be a bad example to you. If you are hurt now beyond what you think you can bear and if it makes you–either now or one day–hate me, and this is what I told Abby, then I shan’t be sorry. I may have been that one person you were fated to meet, as you say, and the only one, and you can put it all behind you. Yet if you don’t, for all this failure and the dismalness now, I know what you said that afternoon is right–it needn’t be like this. I do want to talk with you once when you come back, if you’re willing, unless you think you can’t.
Your plants are still thriving on the back porch. I water them every day….