Beyone the Line
  Seven Stories by Jane Turner Goldsmith
  1  North of Goyder’s
2  RU OK?
3  Silk Reams
4  Boy, Falling
5  Graduating
6  Dear John
7  The Skies Will Be Clear
  About the Author  |  |  September 2016 Fiction Issue

Dear John

Dear John

Hi John

Dear John,

You can’t know how hard this letter is to write.

Yes, dear John. Well I wonder what you really expected? I guess, not this letter. Maybe I should be asking what I really expected. That we would last? That you could have your cake and eat it too? That somehow, all the dirty linen would stay in the laundry basket, unwashed, unnoticed, and that we would just continue on, me as if the sun would always shine on the two of us, you all the while at your deceitful little games —

You fucking scumbag. How did you think you would get away with it?! I’ve decided to write you a real letter, John, because you can delete an email but you will have to burn a real letter. So you need to know that I heard about Amy. I won’t tell you how I heard or who from. I know you’ve always flirted with her but I honestly, truly thought — you of all people — that YOU I could trust. 100%. With my life, John. But so you need to know what I think and that is that YOU ARE A COMPLETE SNOT RAG, you really can’t get away with it. It just does not wash with me.

John, I don’t blame you, in some ways, because I suppose in the last little while I have been quite distant. I guess we probably weren’t going well but why couldn’t we talk about it? I don’t know how to say this let alone write it but I think it is time we parted and the reasons are so hard to explain. It’s really not to do with Amy, even if there was something, I would like to think that you would have the decency to tell me. You ARE a decent guy. You would tell, me, I’m sure. Even if it was just a fling, you might say that it didn’t mean anything and really, I don’t care, it’s actually got nothing to do with it.

FUCK YOU. Why my best friend? You deserve to be stoned and hung and drawn and kicked and spat on, I want to, I really want to beat you over the head with a hard iron frying pan I really can’t believe that you screwed her. Well, I guess I DON’t know for sure (can one ever, really trust a man?). But assuming you DIDN’t screw her, you need to know that it is completely, utterly unacceptable to have had that degree of intimacy with my best friend. At your place, how could you NOT think I might just happen to “drop by’? How could you think to get away with it? It’s just total dick-driven, posturing, moronic, testostoronic behaviour. Total wankery.

It doesn’t” matter, the thing with Amy, whatever it was. Maybe you just needed to talk to someone. Forget it. It’s not THAT. What matters is US.

John, what I really want to tell you is how much our relationship is so totally special, so unique, like nothing else I have ever known, and I believe(d), the same for you. That night we made love on the sand at midnight, at Turtle Bay, with only the moon and the waves to witness, that frail light that meant I couldn’t even see your face, though I didn’t need to, to know that I was so completely, totally secure in your hands as they cupped my face and your fingers traced the outline of my cheek bones, swept over my brows, combed back my hair, blew the sand from my ears. I can’t forget the touch of your hand on my thigh as we lay together, me curled like a foetus into your naked beautiful body, my back against the firm strength of your chest, my bottom against your belly. That touch, tentative at first and the tiny moment of panic I had when you lifted your hand, to scratch your ear perhaps, but then you placed it back, smoothing down the hairs, all standing on end with electricity — and just let it rest there. How could I forget the tenderness of the weight of it, the fact that you left it there, almost heavy — a steady, comforting pressure, unmoving, while you talked of a future that I hardly dared believe included me.

So what this means, John, is that it is over. We are over. It has to be; who do you think I am? I am not the kind of woman tempted by polyamory. I like to keep my friends as friends and my lovers, lovers. There are no in-betweens in my world. I thought I loved you and was prepared to give myself to you 100% and expected the same from you, for me. No deception, no betrayals. I cannot live with those things.

This is good bye, John.





Subject: We need to talk

Dear John,

I sent you a long letter in the mail but really it all boils down to three things:

1) I’m upset about Amy

2) Should we have a break?

3) I still love you I have to dash now but I think we should talk



Subject: wanting some honesty please

hi amy

I gather you “visited” John the other nigth. Im not sure what moral world you inhabit btu it is clealry a paralel universe ot mine. I woudl just like a simple answer really. What the uck do you think you were doign?




Subject: ????


did you mean my sister Amy or Amy friend? Isn’t she in Cambodia doing that orphanage thing?

Sister Amy was round the other night (as I think I mentioned). What are you upset about?

A break? Sure. Where to? I was actually thinking of Port Douglas for your birthday — even as a surprise but I’m not that good at organising things so maybe better to talk. I was going to come round tonight — remember?

love you too



Subject: Is Amy in Cambodia already?

Hi Angie

I was just wondering when Amy was leaving for Cambodia? I have some gifts for her to take to the kids.

I hope it’s not too late. By the way, is her address still




Subject: Amy in Cambodia

Hey girlfriend!

Amy left ten days ago — bugger! She would have loved to have taken your stuff — though she was pretty crammed to the gills. She’s away til Feb — she’s got a blog — so you can follow what she’s been up to. The kids are amazing — check out the photos. And yes, email hasn’t changed —

Hope you and John are all good,

see you soon,

ange x


Subject: Your birthday

Hi Margie

I was around at John’s the other night to find out what you'd like to do for your birthday. I hope you don’t mind me jumping the gun so far in advance but — since my brother is not so great at organising things AND — seeing as it’s a “Significant” one — I wondered whether you'd like to do something at our place — or anywhere else? I’m open — no pressure, let me know your thoughts.

Hope all good.



Subject: my letter


I heard Amy was having a tough time at the orphanage, that’s all, tell ya bout it later.

You know the letter I said I had sent you?

I’d rather you didn’t open it. Sorry — just — please don’t open it.

Port Douglas? Wow! I’ve always wanted to go. Did you really mean for my birthday?

See you tonight. Love you.

M xxx


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  © Jane Turner Goldsmith, 2016

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