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Dear Charlotte

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Dear Charlotte, I think I always knew this would happen. Even as we leaned over the rails in the zoo to get a better look at the great apes, I understood that it would all end. It couldn’t last. Why else do you think I laughed that much louder and ran so much faster to catch up with you? I could hear the grains of sand slipping away when we played hide-and-seek with our futures.

Dear Charlotte, what is it that makes two people best friends? What made you pick me? We were such an unlikely duo, but you saw something in me that no one else cared to look for, and I lived to see you smile. It was different then. We lived like only children can live: carefree and overjoyed with Today. Problems are for tomorrow, and today belongs to us, and time doesn’t exist.

When do you think we grew up? I can’t figure it out. It was sometime between gorging on ice cream at midnight and starving ourselves for the skeletal look that is so “in.” It was before you sliced open your arms, and before I noticed. It was after we exchanged friendship bracelets through the window of your car. You were moving away. Another house, another Charlotte.

I want to run up and shake you back to yourself. I want to scream, “Don’t you remember finger painting in my driveway!?” Don’t you remember the summer wind that raced us to the pool and thunderstorms scaring us under quilts? Don’t you remember the first time you liked a boy? Your cheeks stayed pink for weeks after he took you to the movies. I can still see the long line of disappointed boys you left in your wake. Don’t you remember? Don’t you forget.
I think of the day I found needles in your room. It was a moist fall day, and the trees were on fire as tears crashed down from heaven. It was our nastiest fight, and I thought I would lose you. So stupid now...

By this point, I’ve completely memorized what you told me months ago. I can see the shadows under your eyes when you told me what the doctor said. We watched your belly grow. We watched him leave. I carried you on my shoulder for weeks: you were too delicate to stand for yourself.

And now I’m in the waiting room, waiting for something and everything. The beginning and the end, as trite as that sounds. This note isn’t full of congratulations, Charlotte: this is Goodbye. Your child is your life now: that’s the way it should be. You’ve traded in your potential for a living, breathing thing. While I might someday understand, right now I just want to be sixteen.

Dear Charlotte, I’m sorry to be so dramatic and cold. I’m angry that a whining, squirming thing has taken you from me. I knew you first, so I should get dibs. I’m livid at the choices you made which led us here. I’m infuriated by how content you are with the way things happened. It shouldn’t be like this. It shouldn’t be over, but it is.

Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, Charlotte. Maybe we only get a set allotment of pure true happiness in our lives, and once we use it all up that’s it. Maybe we had such good times that the gods built up a great envy. Maybe we’re meant to learn from this injustice. Maybe there’s no reason at all. It’s just the end.

But you named it Peter and hung up a picture of Never Never Land above the crib, and that makes me happy. It was our favorite movie. Maybe you do know what you’ve done. Maybe you even meant to do it. Maybe someday I’ll understand. But at this moment, at this time, I just want to be sixteen.





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