I dreamed about a little girl with a heart wrenching memory of the day her mama left. This girl lived on a farm with her dad, but dad never explained what happened. He just told her to not ask questions. So she didn't. But she didn't let it go, either.
At age 6, she decides she's going to find her mama. There are letters in her mother's handwriting and a return address on the envelope. So she is going to that return address. (setting--it's like the 1920's midwest) And she goes alone. She hasn't learned to read yet, can't write, and therefore can't get herself there. Along the way she meets interesting and helpful people, and finally reaches her destination.
When she's reunited with her mama, this little girl learns that her mama was called away for some important reason. She didn't want to go, she had to go. And she'd written those letters to her daughter to explain how much she loved and missed her, and that when her duty was done she would return home.
Dad, the uncommunicative type, was waiting until the girl went to school and learned to read to share these letters with her.
When I woke up this morning, this concept was heavily on my mind. The first thing I noticed was the obvious plot hole--what would take a mother away from her family in a way that she couldn't soon return? Obviously, I can make this work in a fantasy setting. Perhaps the mother is a gifted healer and her services are needed by the king--making her pretty indispensable and making it impossible for her to go home. Or there's some intrigue and she has to go into hiding to protect her family. Obviously, though, if she's in hiding, there's no logical reason she'd put a return address on her correspondence.
But, returning to the more contemporary time--what would take a mother away from her family?
Can you think of a reason?