Dear Wendy

By , Albany, NY
September 12th, 2011

Dear Wendy,

Guess Who? (Ha ha, you know). I really miss you. It’s boring here without you. As you know, Baby Ben is still crying late at night so I’ve hardly gotten any sleep lately. Like, AT ALL. He’s probably the reason I’m falling asleep in Algebra and am totally flunking the class. Did I tell you that? Yeah, I’m flunking. I went from the top twenty of the class to practically the bottom in less than a month. So like me. My new teacher this year, Mr. Bender, is making me stay after almost every day to bring my grade up and even suggested to my mom that I go to the guidance counselor because he thinks I’m- quote-on-quote-“emotionally distraught”. Yeah, right. I mean I guess he’s not completely wrong, though. I have been a little out of it lately ever since you moved. But you know how capable I am of being odd, anyway. Sometimes I can be so reticent and withdrawn, it can drive people insane. But you always put up with me, even so, and thank you for that. Only a true friend would do that. I don’t know when this will reach you, but if I send it out today it’ll probably get to New York on Tuesday. But seriously, Wen? New York? You might as well have said your family was moving to Madagascar. I mean, I know it wasn’t at all your fault that you had to move and even though it was because your dad got accepted for an incredible job in the city there it wasn’t his either. He just saw a great opportunity in life, and went for it. I get it. Don’t worry. And don’t think I’m mad either, because I’m not. I just…miss you. And love you and wish you were here. I miss laughing with you. It’s no fun without you. Seriously, it feels like there’s a rain cloud that’s been hanging over my head ever since you left. And it just keeps raining. And raining… I probably shouldn’t have said that because it’ll make you feel guilty about leaving me behind. Sorry. My mom says I need to make more friends and get involved in more activities to get my mind off of the fact that you’re gone. But, how in the world can I do that? Nobody could ever replace you. You’ve been like my sister since forever. I don’t want any other friends. So I’m just going to spend the rest of the year moping until I see you this summer when you come back to Wyoming to visit. I know, that’s so like me and probably not the best way to spend my time but to be honest, I don’t really care at all about anything anymore. I don’t mean that, obviously, and you know better than anyone that I’ll get back up again soon. Just not right now. Now is a time for grieving and….um, digging your grave. Lol. I’m just kidding. It’s not that dramatic. You’re only moving to New York, for goodness sake. That’s like…a thousand miles away? I don’t know. I’ve been flunking math so my brain is fried. But you better take lots of pictures for me, text, email, and write back right away when you get this. I’ll do the same. Gosh, I miss you.



Love you lots,




Hannah













September 20th, 2011

Dear Wendy,

It’s good to hear your doing well. So, it sounds like you like the city? Yeah, I guess the crowdedness of it all would take some time getting used to. And the noise. A lot different from Wyoming, I guess, huh? But I’m sure you’ll fit right in. You always do. Baby Ben has finally quieted down. Thank goodness. That means Hannah gets to sleep for once. Hey, I went to the mall the other day and saw this really cute skirt at American Eagle-it was sky blue and mid length-and it made me think of you because you always wear skirts which I don’t get because to me they’re like the most uncomfortable thing in the world and always make my butt look BIGGER instead of smaller but, whatever. You look good in them, anyway. But here’s the big story: Are you ready for it? I was looking at the skirt and debating on buying it for you and sending it to you in the mail for your birthday next month (oops, spoiler alert) and was observing it really closely when I accidentally backed up and bumped into this guy, like the dork I am. When I turned around to apologize, I noticed he was Andy Steffer-you know, that annoying kid in our Pre-Algebra class last year who always got in trouble and made the teacher mad? So, get this- he asked me (in a sort of mocking tone) if I was buying that skirt for me? Like he could never see something so beautiful and attractive-looking on me. No lie. I’m serious, Wen. You can imagine how I reacted…or how I wanted to react, anyway. I wanted to yell at him and stomp away in a fury but I just stood there in shock with my mouth slightly hanging open. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe it. He had totally just humiliated me, embarrassed me, infuriated me, and also…sort of flattered me. I’m not going to lie about that part. But even still, what gave him the right to say that? I guess since I didn’t say anything he thought the conversation was done and parted with “later” before going across the room to the other side to meet with his friends. I just watched him go, with my mouth still hanging in the same place it was before. He walked nonchalantly like he didn’t say anything just slightly out of the ordinary to me. Like he just said “hi” instead of totally making fun of me…of my size. I don’t even think he said “hi”. How rude. I’m never speaking to him again. Not that I ever did before. Wen, I seriously don’t know how I’m going to make my freshman year without you. I’ll just take it day to day.

Oh, and by the way, I did get the skirt. I sent it in the mail yesterday. Kind of ironic but, anyway, I hope you like it.






Lots of Love,



Hannah








September 31st, 2011


Dear Wendy,

I’m finally getting better at Algebra now. I think all those after school sessions with Mr. Bender are actually helping-who knew? I’m just happy that my mom won’t flip out when she sees my report card now because I’m actually doing better. That’s good news. But there’s also terrible news. Just turns out Andy’s in my Spanish class. Of course. You know, I probably should’ve known he was in it but hey, it’s a big class and it’s only the first month of school so cut me some slack, okay? And there’s more news. Because some goofballs who sat together in the front couldn’t stop talking during class, Mrs. Stephen changed the entire seating chart. So, guess who’s sitting next to me. Yup, you guessed it-Andy. Of course that would happen. So when he sat down next to me I expected him to make another rude comment about my jeans or something, but-and you’ll never believe this-contradictory to my predictions, he winked at me. Like an actual wink. Okay, maybe it was more subtle but it wasn’t like he was closing his eye because there was dust in it or anything. I mean, he winked. Once again, I was caught by surprise and didn’t know what to do or say to him (who knew someone as simple as Andy could be so unpredictable?). Then he said “Hey,” and smiled at me before Mrs. Stephen started off on her lesson on irregular Spanish verbs. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to concentrate on what she was saying. The only thing that I could think about was my being aware that I was sitting next to Andy Steffer. In the middle of the lesson, he slouched down in his chair a bit and stretched his legs out under his desk next to mine. I couldn’t help noticing how close his black Adidas sneaker was to touching my grey sandal. It was weird. I felt this…buzzing feeling. What scared me was that I thought I actually liked the feeling. I practically was already out of the door when the bell rang. Now, I know you’re going to ask this in your next letter so I might as well clarify it now: I don’t like him. Not in that way. Come on, it’s Andy Steffer we’re talking about here. He’s the kind of guy who would try to balance his Gatorade on his head in fourth grade and it ended up spilling and falling all over his shirt. I mean, seriously. And don’t forget the fact that he totally humiliated me at the mall the other day. I’m not forgiving him for that yet. Plus, you know no guys would be interested in me anyway. I’m like a size 6 in everything and have feet as big as Big Foot’s, himself. Not to mention, my annoying curly dark hair is practically as tall as a skyscraper. It’s ridiculous. Well, I guess some people in this world weren’t meant to be pretty and I was one of them. Listen to me, I’m being so selfish, just blabbing on and on about myself. Sorry, Wen. That’s good that your dad seems happier at his new job. I’m sorry that he’s so busy. I know it must be hard that you can’t see him that often but that’ll settle down, don’t worry. He’s just busy getting started, is all. Just give it a month or so and he’ll come around, I’m sure. By the way, thanks for the photos. Wow, you do really have a nice view of the city from your apartment window. And that picture of your mom with her grossed out face at the hot dog stand is hilarious. She never did like fast food. I guess that’s something you’ll have to get used to in New York, though. I still miss you. Tell you parents I said hi.



Love,



Hannah










October 16th, 2011

Dear Wendy,

Happy Birthday! I know it’s not your birthday until a week from now but I figured it’d take that long for this letter to get to you and all. I’m glad you like the skirt. I figured since it was blue it’d look nice with your eyes and everything. Plus, it’s your favorite color. So you know my whole dilemma thing with Andy, right? Well, he hasn’t spoken to me in a while since that last time in class when he said “hey” and winked at me. We still do worksheets together in Spanish because we’re desk partners but other than that we treat each other like non-acquaintances. Just like how it was before. It was all so normal, that I was starting to think that it was just an illusion and the incidents never happened when he suddenly started a conversation with me in class. So much for not talking to him. At first he just said a simple “Hi” and that somehow evolved into a full conversation back and forth between us about all these random things. Like, he asked me if I liked Spanish and my response somehow led to me talking about my dad’s family background and how I was technically Spanish and then he brought up the fact that he has been to Mexico before and got pecked at a zoo there by one of the birds. That led to me telling him about my wanting to be a vet when I grew up, and he offered up the fact that his dog Sam just died and he thinks it happened because the dog got a dose of chocolate cake from his kitchen table while no one was watching and that it made him sick. That made me tell him about my strange dislike for chocolate that nobody in the world understands. Then he argued how weird I was for not liking chocolate, etc. You get the idea. It just flew from one topic to another. It felt so natural, talking to him. Not like talking to you, but somewhat close. We talked the next time we had Spanish class together and the next. And I know this is really weird but I feel like we’re kind of friends now. Just a little bit. I know, right? Who would’ve thought! Me and Andy. I guess he seems a lot nicer than I thought he was. Before I thought he was a total jerk but now he seems…I don’t know… sweeter. I guess you don’t really know someone until you get to know them, right? Anyway, it’s nice to have someone to talk to while you’re gone. It kind of clears my head. Plus, I can’t just hang out with my parents at home and write to you-that’d be weird. What a loser I’d be. Ha ha.



Love always,




Hannah





October 29th, 2011

Dear Wendy,


The more I miss you and think about you the more Andy keeps on reappearing in my life. It’s like he’s answering my cry to you by being my friend while you’re gone. Weird, right? Today, he sent me a text and I was really surprised. At first I didn’t know who it was and asked but then he wrote Andy and I almost flipped. I didn’t even know he had my number. I figured someone gave it to him. I’m not sure who, know. I guess it didn’t really matter, though, because he had me hooked on yet another conversation and we ended up texting each other until practically midnight. I don’t know about him but I was practically a zombie the next day in school. And don’t hate me…but you know how I said earlier that I didn’t like him that way…well, I kind of do now. Wow, I can practically hear you screaming already as you read this. I don’t know, when he texted me goodnight the other night he wrote ‘Night ;) and I literally couldn’t help smiling all giddy inside when I thought about that wicked smiley face. I don’t know if he intended it but that simple little gesture seemed to say a lot. I have no idea what he thinks about me. I think we’ll just stay good friends for now, which is probably a good thing. It’s better to have a guy friend than a boyfriend, if you know what I mean. They’re usually more trustworthy. And I forgive him now for that comment he said a long time ago about the skirt because a couple days ago he commented on how he liked my hair. I know- My hair! My wild, tangled hair. I did straighten it that day for an hour in the morning so maybe it helped it look nicer. Oh, and one more thing. Wen, I’m a little worried about my mom. She doesn’t seem herself. Last night she went to bed really early, right after making dinner for me and my dad. She just seems…less bubbly and energetic. I wonder if maybe she’s depressed or something? I don’t know. It seems more like she’s-ugh, I don’t even want to say it-ill. But that can’t be true. My mom’s like the most healthy person I know. She runs three times a week and takes vitamins and protein shakes. I mean, she’s like a health fanatic! That’s why I don’t get why she’s not the same. Hopefully it’s nothing…serious, you know. Maybe it’s just the weather. It is getting pretty cold up here. Hey, btw, I need more pictures of you. Pronto. I really need to see you. Miss you, Wen.




Love,



Hannah








November 17th, 2011

Dear Wendy,

I went to Cold Stones Creamery with Andy the other night. During Spanish he asked me if I wanted to go with him, since I didn’t like chocolate but loved ice cream. I thought it was sweet that he remembered that simple and kind of weird little trait about me. So, I said yes. We went at around 8 pm. I don’t know if he intended it to be a date, but it sure didn’t feel like one. I mean, you know that I’ve never been on a date before and I always expected my first date to be excruciating because I’d be so nervous that I’d sweat through my own shirt. But it wasn’t like that at all. It felt like…eating ice cream with you. I don’t know. He’s just so funny, Wen. And nice. He doesn’t seem like the other guys. I really like him. In both ways, you know. As a friend and maybe even more than a friend. He did look pretty cute when he accidentally smudged a little chocolate ice cream on his bottom lip. And his eyes…wow, they’re pretty deep. I used to think they were a boring, regular brown but they’re more like a honey golden brown almost. At the end of the night he didn’t try to kiss me or anything but he gave me a hug, so that might mean something…right? It felt good being with him. That’s all I know. Wendy, I’m getting more anxious about my mom as the days pass. I really don’t think she’s well. I know there’s something wrong, I just can’t put my finger on what it is. Like, the other night at dinner time she hardly ate anything and then started sweating uncontrollably. I think she was embarrassed that she couldn’t control it in front of me because she hid in her room the rest of the night. My dad told me to finish my dinner and went to talk to her for a while. When he came back to help me clean the dishes, he had this worried look on his face and looked deep in thought. When I went to bed, I forgot to grab my retainer downstairs in the kitchen and when I walked through the opening to the kitchen I saw my dad with his head in his hands and his elbows resting on the table. Quickly, I turned around and went back upstairs. I didn’t want to bother him and it was safe to skip a night wearing my retainer. I’m really scared, Wen. I hope she’s okay. Talk to you soon.



Love always,



Hannah





November 29th,2011

Dear Wendy,

I went over to Andy’s house today. I was a little nervous because he said his parents weren’t home but he didn’t try anything with me. It wasn’t like that. He just made us some popcorn and we watched TV. He made a lot of jokes about the TV show we were watching, a show I never even heard of. It was some kind of reality show. He seemed relaxed even though I was there, which was nice. It was nice that he could be himself around me. Wen, I’m starting to freak out here. My mom keeps on itching all over, like she has a rash. She never goes outside so I doubt it could be because of poison ivy. And she keeps on coughing. Last night, while I was asleep, she woke me up because of her coughing fit and I was so worried even when she stopped that I couldn’t go back to sleep. Plus, I noticed just this morning that she’s lost a substantial amount of weight even though she was already very skinny and petite before. And she hasn’t been running or anything for a while so I know it’s not because of exercise. Something’s seriously wrong, Wen. I know that they’re hiding something from me. I just know it. And it makes me mad that they would do this. Why don’t they just tell me what’s going on? Sorry this letter is so short, I just…I just need more time to think.


Love you unconditionally,




Hannah






November 31
Wendy,

No…. No. No. No! I won’t believe it. I can’t. Wen, my mom has…cancer. I just found out yesterday. They told me. When I came home from school. They knew for a little more than two months, a couple days after you left for New York. They haven’t told me all this time. I’m just…distraught right now. How could this happen? And it’s not even a common type of cancer. It’s this weird rare cancer called Lymphoma. Apparently there were cases of my mom’s relatives having it so it was hereditary. But even so, why my mom? She’s like the nicest person in the world. What bad has she ever done? I’m so mad…so sad. I…just…I can’t believe it. My own mom. I mean, I’ve heard about people getting sick, watched movies where the main characters get sick, even known some people who’ve gotten sick. But never someone as close to me as my mom. What if she..?…no. I won’t even think about it. It can’t happen. I won’t let it. Wen, I just, I’m in tears right now. I’m shaking so sorry if my writing isn’t legible. What on earth am I going to do? Please, Wen. I need you now. Come home. Or at least continue to write because…everything’s falling apart. Help.



Love u desperately,



Hannah





December 7th,2011
Dear Wendy,

Thank you for the emails. It helps to know you care. I’m giving my parents the silent treatment. I’m so mad at them. How could they do this to me? I’m not a little kid anymore, I’m in high school now! And I’m just as much a part of this family as they are. I’ve been hiding in my room for a while, now. It’s like my secret cave where I can run away from everything-my parents, my mom’s illness, the world- and just be by myself. My mom is at the hospital getting medical help right now and we’re seeing how well she responds to treatment. I’m still not sure how serious it is. Since my mom is sick and even though I’m mad at her I still want to be there for her while she’s getting help, so I have an appropriate excuse for not going to school. I wonder what Andy thinks, now that he hasn’t seen me for a couple weeks. I didn’t even answer my cell phone when he texted. At one point during the week, I think he became concerned enough to actually call and left a message both on my cell phone and the home phone. It was hard to hear his worried voice and not have it in me to actually call back and explain everything to him. After all, he deserves an explanation for my not returning his calls. I feel so alone. I’m not talking to anyone. Only you, really. I’m just thinking and crying about all this and still wondering how or why it happened. It’s so absurd that it feels like it isn’t really happening. Like this is a dream. I don’t know, it’s just so much to take in.



All my love,



Hannah





December 14th, 2011
Dear Wendy,

So, I’m starting (slowly but surely) to talk to my parents again. I guess I realized how sorry they are now and that they only didn’t tell me not because they thought I couldn’t take it but because they weren’t sure how serious it was and if they needed to tell me yet. That maybe they could get right to the source of the cancer and prevent it from spreading or getting worse. But, in my book, all cancers are serious and I still think they should’ve told me. I guess they’ve secretly been going to the doctor to receive treatment that they thought would help and even though it seemed to help a little with the symptoms, the cancer prolonged. I’m not sure how well she’s responding to this medicine, but I really hope it helps. It has to. If it doesn’t….I don’t really know what will happen but I know that it’ll keep getting worse and worse. Andy seems upset. I think he feels like I don’t want to talk to him, which really isn’t true. At least, not in the way he thinks it is. I just…need some space is all. I don’t want to have to tell him about my mom. Not yet, anyway. I don’t want him to feel sorry for me and treat me more like a wounded puppy than a friend. I know this sounds kind of rude but I don’t want sympathy. I need answers. I prayed to God last night and I’m not sure if He heard me but I got a comforting call from my dad that mom was doing better at the hospital, so that might be a sign. Maybe that’s His way of answering prayers. Sometimes actions are more meaningful than words.






Love you,




Hannah







December 20th, 2011
Dear Wendy,

My mom’s responding better to the treatment each day. Sometimes she relapses into her symptoms but other than that, I think she’s making headway. That makes me feel better. I don’t think her situation is as deadly as some of the other types of Lymphoma, or that’s what the doctor said anyway. So that’s good news. I still don’t fully understand the disease but I know it has something to do with your lymph nodes (I have no clue what they are. I didn’t even know humans had them!) and that swelling occurs in them. Sometimes they can be painful if they become too large but mom’s aren’t too large. Although you can seem them kind of bulging under her skin in her neck area. I know, that’s totally gross. You probably just lost your appetite for the rest of the day, thanks to me. Sorry, Wen. But, I’m so thankful that she’s doing better. It relieves some of the worries moving around in my head. Andy definitely hates me now. I know it. I haven’t been in school for almost a month now and even though it’s Christmas break, he knows something is up. He’s still calling. It’s so sweet that he cares. I really should think about calling him back but I’m just not ready. I need to think of how I’m going to tell him, first. I can’t just spit it right out, I have to gradually let him know. I will. Soon.


Love you wholeheartedly,




Hannah










December 31st, 2011

Dear Wendy,

Great news! My mom is out of the hospital. She’s been doing so well that she’s been put off of treatment for a while so she can spend the rest of winter break with my dad and I. Well, what’s left of winter break. It’s officially the last day of the year 2011. I should be excited for the new year but I’m worried that my mom might relapse and not do so well again. She might even get worse. I don’t think that will happen, though. The doctor confirmed that it’s not fatal and that she’ll continue to have appointments throughout the year but that there shouldn’t be any worries whether or not she’ll be okay. So that’s good. I’m starting to feel better about everything because today I had a long talk with my mom when she came home and we ended up crying and hugging each other for like thirty minutes. She’s so sweet, Wen. I’m so lucky to have a mom like her. I feel terrible for giving her the silent treatment. I’ve decided to call Andy. I sent him a text exactly twenty minutes before I started writing this but so far he hasn’t texted me back. So I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. I really hope he isn’t mad at me.



All in love,



Hannah




January 10th,2012
Dear Wendy,

Andy still hasn’t texted me back. After I returned to school and went to Spanish class he still sat next to me but didn’t say one word. Didn’t smile. Didn’t look at me. Nada. It’s like I wasn’t there. He’s obviously mad. Oh, how I wish I could tell him about my mom. I know he’d understand. I know he thinks that I’m trying to avoid him because I don’t want to talk to him and now doesn’t want to talk to me because he feels uncomfortable. Why, oh why, do I always complicate things? Poor Andy.



Love you irreversibly,



Hannah










January 21st, 2012

Dear Wendy,

Today my dad asked me if I wanted to go to the aquarium with him downtown. It was kind of a random offer but since I love animals and missed spending alone time with just my dad, I agreed to go. It was really fun. I saw these fish that I didn’t know about. They had these bright colors and unique designs on their fins and my dad pointed out all these neat facts about them, like he was a…uh, what do you call a scientist who studies sea life? A…marine biologist! Right. Sure, of course he would know all about animals and I didn’t. I guess I should rethink my career path of being a vet. But anyway, it made me remember when I used to come here with my dad when I was a little girl and that’s probably why my dad asked me to come with him. To revisit old, happy memories. I always had such a good time looking at all the fish and penguins and my dad used to always tell me how amazing it was that those simple creatures were made from the same materials that God used when he created us people. I’m not sure if that’s true or not but it really is something neat to think about. It made me realize something: that life isn’t so bad. I realized that I’m very lucky compared to a lot of other people in this world. I have a caring mom and a funny, smart dad and of course, I have you. It was wrong for me to mope all this time about everything. Sure, my mom did get sick, but at least she didn’t die or anything. God really watched over us and I’m so blessed because of everything I have. Maybe it’s time I start focusing on the positives more than the negatives. It’ll make life that much more enjoyable.

Oh, before I follow my new rule on just focusing on positives, I just have one more negative: Andy still hasn’t texted me back. I’m afraid that I might have permanently lost my friend/crush/maybe potential boyfriend.


Love you consistently,



Hannah




February 9th, 2012

Dear Wendy,

Andy finally texted me back! But he only wrote what do you want? Now, even I, who have absolutely no experience with boys, know when they say that it obviously means that they’re not happy. So I didn’t really know what to say. I decided I couldn’t write all that I wanted to tell him in a text or even say it all over the phone so I went over to his house. As I rang the door bell, though, his older brother John answered and said he wasn’t home. I was embarrassed and hurried home. I wonder where he was. Maybe, despite what his brother said, he was really inside his house and was hiding from me. I’m determined to tell him, though. I’m going to confront him next time in Spanish. I just hope I don’t freeze. Wish me luck.




Love,



Hannah







February 20th, 2012

Dear Wendy,

You’ll never believe what just happened. I’m practically so happy that I’m not sure if I can write this but I’ll try. When I went to Spanish I saw Andy wasn’t there and was depressed the rest of the period, sitting next to his empty chair. But after school that day, when I was walking from my locker to the main foyer, I saw Andy in the hallway. I practically shouted his name and ran to him before he could get away. Without really thinking, I jumped into his arms and gave him a huge hug (okay, I didn’t really jump into his arms, but you know what I mean). When I pulled away and smiled up at his face I saw he was really surprised and actually not at all angry. I realized he was just feeling sad this whole time that I haven’t been talking to him. And just like that, it all came out. I told him about my mom and the reason why I haven’t called him back was because I was just feeling lost and scared, the fact that she’s better now, and that I tried to go to his house to talk to him but he wasn’t there. When I finished telling him everything, Andy’s face suddenly lit up with compassion and understanding as he pulled me into a big hug in the middle of the hallway. We were in full view, but I didn’t care. It felt so good and warm and…big. Gosh, he was a lot stronger than I thought he was. I was happy that we were friends again. And even though I didn’t tell him about my crush on him, I wonder if he might have known because he gave me his Abercrombie sweatshirt before I went home and I’m wearing it right now. It’s big and navy and smells like his cologne. I love it. I’m not going to take it off tonight. I hope that’s not too gross, though. Obviously, I’ll make sure to wash it eventually. Oh how I wish you were here, Wen. I wish you could see all of this instead of having to just read my letters. You’re the only one I could tell all of this to, and that’s why it kills me so much that you’re gone. I miss you so much.



Love you and miss you,





Hannah








March 1st,2012

Dear Wendy,

I’m so happy that everything is working out again. My mom is doing great and Andy and I are hanging out a lot, nowadays. It’s so weird. Just five months ago, I hardly spoke to him and now we’re like friends and all. So much has changed since you left. I can’t wait to see you again when you visit this summer. Maybe I could go to New York to visit you or we could do both ways. And Wen, thanks for always listening and caring. It means a lot. I miss you. See you soon.


Love your best friend,



Hannah





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This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

MarieAntoinette2012 said...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 11:08 am
I'm glad the main character gets her happy ending. I wish more people would.
 
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