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Dear Chris

Dear Chris,

I’m sorry that I couldn’t come to your hearing.

Dad told me you were getting ten months to a year in prison, and for that I’m sorry. He told me that he can only visit you twice a week and I can only write you letters. I didn’t get a chance to ask him whether he’d let me come visit you, but he probably won’t let me. Though I am old enough to properly defend myself, he still thinks I’m a little girl. But I want to come visit you, Chris. Surely it’s lonely there.

They won’t tell me what you’ve done to get yourself tried as an adult, but I have a few guesses. How could you have done such things, Chris? I didn’t expect it of you. Every time you’ve come to visit me, you talked to me and smiled at me, though I am a few years younger. If I wouldn’t put you in league with dirty criminals, how did you end up there? I thought I knew you so well, Chris. But I guess I don’t anymore.

Is it cold in your prison? Do you have a cellmate? Chris, you have no idea how awful it is to write the word “prison” when it associates with you! I hate referring to you as an inmate. Is it terrible in prison? Is anyone beating you up? You’re strong, Chris; you can stand up for yourself. I hope they don’t make fun of you, or ask you why you’re there. I like you just the way you are, and you don’t have to tell them why. Oh Chris, is there anyone there who will help you?

Dad told me they have a sort of school there, so you can keep up with your work. You’ll be gone a whole school year, but you don’t want to fall behind. Study extra hard, okay? You’ve made a bad reputation for yourself, and if you want to earn your teacher’s trust, then make her think you’re brilliant. I hope you realize that what you did will follow you for the rest of your life. You won’t be able to get a great job. People won’t want to be friends with you. You may not be qualified for certain things. But Chris, I’ll always be your friend.

Be good in prison, okay? Try to keep your cell clean. Don’t let other people bother you. Obey the rules. Please write if you can, because there’s still people left in the world that will miss you, including me. Try to earn people’s trust. Don’t socialize with the murderers and rapists; I’d rather you the thieves and drunks. Try not to learn too many things, and don’t let someone tell you how to commit the perfect crime. If they’re in jail for it, then clearly it wasn’t perfect. If you’re good, you might be eligible for parole or some sort of good-behavior award. I want you out of jail as soon as possible, okay?

Keep your wits about you, and don’t lose your faith. If you make any friends, make sure that they’re sorry for what they did. I hate to say it, but I hope you’re sorry for what you did. I don’t know what it is, but I hope someday you’ll have forgiven yourself enough to tell me. Don’t lose your trust in others, okay? No matter where you are, even if it’s prison, there’s still good people around somewhere. Oh, and Chris? I forgive you.

With love,

Claire.




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