Letter to Ivan

By , Clarksville, TN
March 13, 1997

A boy, 17 years of age, dies of a car crash. The other driver had been drunken and killed young Ivan Jameser on instant contact. This boy was a loved son, brother, and friend. The drunken driver, Henry Yaley, was arrested just hours after the accident. It was 4:56, at the last minute of this young man’s life. He will always be remembered in the small town of Half Moon Bay.

That was what was on everyone’s lips that Tuesday morning. Everyone in town had read about Ivan, everyone had heard about his death. The high school had made an announcement that morning honoring this boy. Teachers and peers all the same cried. All buzzed with the news, everyone cried and comforted one another for that day, for that whole week. Even the ones that didn’t like him, even the ones that didn’t know him. Everyone cared, everyone pitied. That is everyone but Riley. She had read it just like everyone else had that morning, she heard the whispered just like everyone else did. But she didn’t cry , she didn’t whisper along. She just silently sat. Poor Riley, no one knew at the time, knew what Ivan did, knew what he was to her. She patted her stomach. What he meant to us. The day of the funeral came, it was a sunny day in California, laughter of children were heard. However at this funeral all you heard were cries. Cries for this lost boy. All dressed in black, teachers friends, family and peers. The mother sobbed into the fathers chest and spoke of how wonderful he’d been, how he was a good boy.

If she only knew. Would she still say the same? Friends acted cool, but you could see a tear escape their eyes once or twice. They’d wipe it away quickly and deny it later. Did they know of his secret? Probably not, only they knew. Riley stood at the far end of the crowd and watched everyone grieve over Ivan Jameser. God plays his odd little games doesn’t he? Would Riley have wished this upon the boy? Never. She didn’t hate him for what he did to her, but she didn’t love him either. But she knew in a way whether she loved him or not, he would always be with her. He would always be with her through it. The only thing she had from him was it. The funeral began and they brought down his coffin. Riley imagined his body in there, with no heartbeat, with no thoughts. Was he in heaven watching over them? Did he regret what he did? Was he in hell laughing at how ironic it was? How ironic that she showed up to his funeral. But she knew it had to be done, she knew that they all needed to know the truth about him, about her, about it. Ivan was placed deep into the earth and the man said his words of the sweet boy. Riley couldn’t help but chuckle to herself and shake her head.

How little did they know of the boy they pity. She thought about all the times she saw him. He seemed like a sweet boy, maybe he was. Maybe that night was just a mistake. Maybe. Maybe. There were so many maybes. Maybe if he’d stayed home she won’t be here. Maybe if he’d driven 5 miles slower she could still be hating him. Maybe if that car had stopped at the light, he’d be alive and maybe he’d fix all the things after all. Oh just maybe. The man asked for any final words. Riley pulled the letter out of her purse and looked at it. It told their story. She whispered to it. “Maybe this was what was meant to happen,” she whispered. She walked through the crowd and up to the edge of the grave. She looked down at it. Down there he was. Se prayed he was listening. He needed to know what he did. What he made, what he destroyed. She expected for there to be whispers, but everyone kept quite waiting for what she had to say. Her mouth went dry. She could still turn back, do as Ivan had told her to do. She thought about that and touched her stomach with a free hand. No, she won’t, she couldn’t do what he asked of her. Even if it was his only wish from her, she couldn’t kill it, for that was like killing him again.

“I have something to say,” Riley said in a low voice. The man nodded for her to speak. She unfolded the paper and looked down at the words she’d written just this morning. She took a deep breath. “I wrote Ivan a letter. And I’d like to share it with everyone.” She cleared her throat and began to read.

“Dear Ivan,
I write to you for the last time, because I have to explain some things to you, I have some things I have to tell not only you but everyone. I’m sure you know what this is about. Yes, Ivan this about what you did to me. You stole me, you took something from me that you couldn’t give back, and you never even said sorry. That night I was so afraid, it was dark and I was alone, you came along told me it would be okay, you would take me home. Ivan, you lied to me. It wasn’t okay, not even close. One small thing led to another. I told you no, did you listen? Of course not, you just continued with your sick game despite my screams and begging. I will explain this to your friends and your family, I will explain it in three small words. Words that I can’t get to leave me head since that night. I was raped.” She heard gasps through the crowd and whispers. She ignored them and continued. “So now they all now, Ivan. You must think I hate you. I told them your dirty little secret. You must think I’m trying to get revenge, right? Wrong, I don’t hate you. I mean, yes I thought I did at first, but I don’t. I felt sorry for you. I felt sorry that you felt like you needed to do this horrible thing to me, to anyone. I can’t hate you, because I say that in your eyes Ivan, I saw the confusion after.

What were you thinking about Ivan? Did you regret it? Did my sobs make you see what you had just done to me? Whatever it was I saw it. Your not a monster, I know that. I think you were just confused. Some may say that it’s because secretly you loved me. I know that’s not true. You didn’t know me, I just happen to be there, I was the closest. You sat in the car and sobbed. I didn’t understand why. I was too afraid to ask. You sat there and sobbed for an hour, then you drove me home. Ivan, I can’t tell you how confused I was. I wanted to hate you but I couldn’t. I tried, I tried my hardest to, but I couldn’t. Maybe that’s why I didn’t tell anyone. Days went by and you acted like nothing happened and I did too… around everyone. But alone I cried and cried. I wonder if you did the same. Maybe you did, or maybe I just want to believe you did. Maybe you had forgotten or maybe you just didn’t care. Whatever the reason I moved on and so did you. That was until a month passed. Guess what I learned then Ivan. Oh, you don’t have to guess you know. But your friends don’t, your family doesn’t. I bet a few of them have an idea of what it is though by now. I believe it is quite obvious, but in case it isn’t I’ll say it. I was pregnant with your child, Ivan.” Riley stopped to wipe a tear from her eye and to smooth her breathing. It was getting harder and harder to read this letter, but she knew she had to finish it.

“I knew I had to tell you, not only was it your child but I was scared and needed to tell someone. I couldn’t tell my parents, I was afraid they’d be mad. I couldn’t tell my friends they won’t understand. So I told you Ivan. Do you remember your reaction? You hit me. You hit me straight across the face. I-I didn’t understand. I wanted to believe you were good, or not completely bad. Why? Maybe it was because a part of you was growing in me. I fell to the floor when you hit me and sobbed. I thought you’d just walk away, but you didn’t Ivan. You stayed and cried with me. I didn’t understand Ivan, I really didn’t. That is until you told me. You told me about how your real father was a monster who raped your mother and you thought you were one too. But Ivan, you weren’t a monster. You just thought you were one, so you acted like one. A monster doesn’t feel, a monster doesn’t care or cry. But you did. You told me to kill the baby. I didn’t understand then why I felt like throwing up when you said that. I do now. Because I loved it already. Ivan, I loved that baby. Even if it was there by hate, by anger. It wasn’t a baby created from love, like babies should be. But I didn’t hate you, I felt sorry for you. I feel sorry you felt like you had to kill your own baby.

I told you I would. Ivan, I lied. Well, I kinda lied. I was going to at first. You see I had the date all planned out. I never spoke to you, but I thought about you. About that look in your eyes. Ivan. I saw a scream for help. You wanted someone to free you from this. You did wrong, I know that. But you weren’t wrong, you- you just did wrong. Who knows, maybe God has a bigger plan. But as I was saying I had the date planned it was going to be today, but I skipped it to come here. Ivan, I skipped it to come to your funeral to tell you this. To tell you I won’t kill your baby. I won’t kill our baby. Two, I wanted to tell you I don’t hate you for what you did, I would have never wished death upon you. I was anger with you at first, I’m still angry with you, but you didn’t need to die. You weren’t a monster, Ivan. I hope that these people here that love you won’t remember you by what you did to me, but by who you were deep in there. I didn’t know you well, but I will always remember you by this baby. I love it, I really love this baby. No mater how or who it was caused by. Love, Riley.” Riley folded the paper up and wiped her tears with her shaking hand. She walked away from the funeral before anyone could talk to her. She didn’t want to talk. She ran home to tell her parents. Her life would be different from now on, but she would risk it. She got to her doorstep and rubbed her hand over her stomach though there was yet a bump there. It was still flat.

“I love you, baby,” she whispered with all her heart. “And so will everyone else.”





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