"Dear Leann ..." This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Dear Leann ...

Published? Me? I, Leann DiDomenico, am now in print? It was nothing, just an English assignment I had written last year, but now ... now it's everything! This simple essay is being read by 70,000 students in the Boston area. Me! They're reading me! "I Am No One,"what a title. No one's going to believe that I, a simple, happy child could write something so depressing. "No one" had no life, no friends, no promise, no future. I can't wait to see the reaction at school tomorrow ...

"Am I okay?" What did Jeremy mean by that? "Are you okay, Leann? My mother was concerned." About what? A fictitious essay that I had written a year ago. There's nothing wrong with me. In fact, I'm feeling quite well. Funny, Tom and Beth had both asked me the same question at lunch today. I'll have to do something to convince these people that I am not a depressed teen. Oh, this is not what I had hoped for at all. I wanted to see joy in their faces, but they only show concern. After a few days they'll realize that I'm fine. Actually, it's kind of flattering to think that my writing is so convincing.

"Hi Judy, it's Caroline. I just wanted to call to say I saw Leann's essay in the paper. Very good. Call me, I would really like to talk to you about her story ... (beep) Hi, Leann. It's Mom. Listen, I won't be home for a while, but I thought I would let you know that there is a letter on your desk. Whoever wrote it put VERY IMPORTANT on the envelope, so I just thought I'd tell you. Okay? Talk to you later. By-ee! ... (beep) Jude. It's Nancy. Listen, I saw Leann's article. Very shocking. Talk to you later, okay? See ya."

Very shocking? I can't believe the reaction I'm getting. You would think the article showed signs that I was suicidal the way people are acting. These are my family and friends, they know me. Where is that paper? There's nothing here that is all that terrible. Oh wait, it's in "Non-Fiction." I suppose that could be a problem. I'll just have to explain tomorrow that it's totally fiction.

"Thank you so much for your article, it changed my life ..." Changed whose life? How? With a simple English assignment? She says that she is a high school student from Weston and that she has felt every emotion that I expressed in my essay, and is glad to see that others feel the same way. Of course every person has their moments of despair. She continues that I'm right in my last sarcastic remark: nothing has to change if you are the person you want to be. you will always be able to find others who will accept you the way you are. It's an old saying, I know, and perhaps a bit worn out, but now I can see how true it is.

Why should anyone ever feel sad or lonely. There's no reason for it. There should be no need for the emotions of rejection and isolation. Thank you, you wonderful person from Weston. Thank you for your uplifting ideas and your most encouraging letter. I shall treasure your words, always.n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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