Charlie was the one who opened the first yellow envelope that arrived in the mailbox the day after Edward left. I was as good as dead, wrapped in a ragged quilt alternating between nightmares and an even more destitute reality. He saw my name penned on the paper, "Miss Bella Swan," and promptly ripped the cheery envelope in half. I can imagine him turning the contents over in his calloused fingers, his eyes scrutinizing the angle of each careful fold as he searched for the dangers only a father's mind could produce. After concluding that it was an odd but safe package, he returned it to the envelope and did his best to tape it back for me.
The letter was placed in the corner of the tv tray next to my bed when I awoke at dusk. It was under a pile of napkins tucked neatly behind a bowl of soup and a slice of richly dark bread. Steam still rose from the bowl, so I knew that Charlie had been in recently.
When I spied it, I snatched it from the tray as the napkins floated to the floor. I knew it had to be from Edward. He was going to apologize and ask me to meet him tonight. But when I tore the envelope open, the contents dropped into my lap. A metallic gold paper folded into the shape of a five point star, and a piece of parchment paper. I unfolded the paper and read:
"I'm so sorry. -J"
My chest grew heavy as fresh, hot tears spilled effortlessly down my cheeks. I had no patience for Jacob. I didn't have it in me to appreciate the gesture. I tossed all of it under my bed and fell back to the empty embrace of my pillow.
The next day, a second yellow envelope appeared in our mailbox. Charlie didn't screen this one and I didn't open it. When it arrived with the dinner I wouldn't eat, I tossed it under my bed.
Every day that week, there was a yellow envelope on my dinner tray. Every day it was tossed under my bed to join the others.
After that first week, the physical evidence of Edward's absence, the fever and chills from the night in the woods, was gone and Charlie insisted that I return to school. It was unbearable. I shuffled from class to class only to stare at the vacant seat next to mine where Edward should have been instead of listening to the teachers. But even as much as I stared at those empty desks, it was no comparison to the eyes that were trained on me. I would catch the whisper of my name in the halls as I passed by Jessica. Once or twice, Mike tried to initiate conversation but soon gave up. I was unreachable.
I all but ran to my truck as soon as the last bell rang, eager to escape the stares of my classmates. It would roar to life and carry me away.
The house felt right when it was empty. As much as I wanted to be alone, laying in the bed that I had shared with Edward only amplified my pain. Since I was sitting alone at lunch now, I managed to finish most of my homework at school. This left my late afternoons free. I had grown tired of canned soup and reheated pizza, so after I returned to school I also started cooking again. Cutting and blending was cathartic; entertaining my hands and distracting me from my heavy thoughts.
"Bells?" Charlie called out as he came through the front door every evening. "I have your canary." He handed me a yellow envelope and smiled warmly. He must have known that Jake was behind this, and was pleased at the thought.
I took the paper from him and waited for him to head to his room to change out of his uniform. Then I rushed upstairs and put it with the others, still unopened.
After dinner was finished and the plates were washed and put away, I would to go my room and struggle to stay awake. I knew that sleep was inevitable and that with it would come the nightmares, but that never stopped me from trying. Edward could take his gifts and his picture, but he could never erase himself from my life. The truth is that he was a part of me and I will never be the same.