The card lay in front of him, bent and faded from the constant viewing over the past 10 years. He had no idea why it got under his skin so much especially since it came from a woman he had never even met.
AJ was finally home after the 60 days in rehab and he was nervous since this was his second time at trying to get this right. He walked into his house and was relieved to see his mother sitting on the couch going through some mail.
“Mom! I’m so glad to see a familiar face!”
“I’ve missed you and I wanted to be the first person you’d see when you got back”, Denise said as she enveloped her son into a huge hug. "I’m so glad that you’re back. Can I get you anything?”
“No Mom but thank you. I just want to shower and relax for a while.”
“Ok, go relax. I’m just going to finish going through this mail and then I’ll make us something for dinner. I love you Alex.”
“Love you too Ma.” AJ kissed his mom on the cheek and went upstairs to shower and lay down for a few hours.
About 2 hours later, AJ awoke to the sounds of his bandmates, no, his brothers’s, voices coming up from downstairs. He smiled, got dressed and headed downstairs.
“Bone, you’re back!” yelled Nick as he charged at AJ and put him into a headlock.
“Hey J!” “So glad you’re back.” “Missed you man!” said Brian, Howie and Kevin, all at the same time.
Denise smiled and told the boys to sit down and have some dinner. She had made enough food for an army and was so glad that all the boys were around and could come welcome AJ home. This is just what he needed, she thought.
“I hope somebody’s been keeping you guys out of trouble since I haven’t been around to keep you in line!” said AJ with a gleam in his eye that everyone was happy to see again. “Hey, Mom, how’d all that mail sorting go?”
“Tons of get well cards and well wishes from your fans. There were a few marriage proposals in there too!” Denise laughed.
“Great, now I’ll have to turn those down, although….” AJ laughed with a sly smile.
“Eat your dinner before you decide to marry 5 of them!” Nick laughed.
As dinner was ending, AJ noticed that his mom had gotten quiet and looked as though she was considering telling him something and wasn’t sure if it was the right time.
“Hey Mom, what’s wrong? What’s bugging you?”
Denise sighed and asked the boys to come with her. She sat down on the couch and handed her son a card that had come from someone in Boston. “I debated giving this letter to you because it was very serious but I think it might actually help since it has more depth than “I love you!” and “Get well soon.”
AJ took the card and thought about how long the letter was that came in it. The letter expressed concern and care over what he had been going through and it seemed that this woman knew the inner struggles he was constantly fighting. As he set the card down on the table, Nick yelled out, “Hey I recognize that handwriting!”
“Me too!” said Howie.
“Same here!” said Brian and Kevin in unison.
“You all got the same card from the same woman?” AJ asked.
“No not the same card,” Nick replied, “But the same woman must have sent them because I remember the handwriting and the long note she put inside. It basically said that she understood how much I wanted to help you and how much I cared about you and just that we should stand behind and help you any way we could.”
“That was similar to the message in my card.” replied Brian.
“Was it the same as the one to each of one?” AJ asked Kevin and Howie who both nodded yes.
“Why did she send one to all of us?” Kevin asked.
Denise finally spoke up. “I think she’s been in the same situation or at least that’s what I got when I read it. She wanted AJ to know he wasn’t alone but she also wanted to say something to each of you that maybe someone never said to her. It was the sweetest card I’ve ever read even though it was one of the most serious.”
“Do I reply to it?, AJ asked as he turned the card over again and started reading the note inside again. “I don’t think I am ready to deal with anything serious right now.”
Denise replied “You do whatever makes you comfortable. You don’t have to answer it now or ever. AJ, you don’t know this woman and you don’t owe her anything. I think she just wanted to express concern for you and she probably understands that you have tons of fans that mail you letters and cards every day. It was a very sweet gesture but I don’t think she expects anything in return.”
Good, AJ thought, because I am definitely not in the mood to deal with this and the card suddenly made him angry. He was annoyed at the thought that this woman had assumed she knew anything about what he was dealing with.