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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Letter to Ludy

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Letter to Ludy 2001

Dear Ludy

You have become my friend, even though you barely knew my name.  I am only another girl, but I think to you I would have been a special friend.  I have noticed you always being somewhere on your own, writing little things.  We are so much the same.  I always felt sorry for you, watching you all by yourself; I imagined you had to be sad and lonely.  I felt sorry for myself at times, too.  I have always been on my own, we both were on our own, and that is probably why I could never get myself to talk to you.  Since that day in class, I have gained so much respect for you and knew that I have found a friend.  I wanted to know what you thought about and what you wrote.  When I didn’t see you at school anymore, I tried to find out what happened to you.  I found out that you went to live with your aunt.  I could not understand why and I felt angry with myself that I did not approach you while you were still here.  I thought that perhaps you moved because you had no friends here and that you would have stayed if I spoke with you earlier.  The day you returned was both an exciting and a tense day; an unexpected surprise.  I gathered all my courage to speak with you the next day, only to find that again you did not arrive at school.  Days went by without you showing up and I started to worry that you moved again.  Once again, I made an effort to find out what happened.  When I heard you were sick, I made a decision to visit you at your home, since I sometimes walked close to where you live and therefore knew where to find you.  I thought that now I had an excuse to visit you and it would make things easier for me.  At first I was nervous standing in front of your house, but when your grandfather opened the door and asked whether I am looking for you, I felt calmer.  He let me in and showed me to your room.  At this stage I was too nervous to notice all the lovely decorations in your room.  The first thing I saw was a writing pad and behind it, the face of a sick girl lying on her back in bed.  Then a picture I’ll never forget - when you lowered the writing pad and gave that frown of ultimate surprise.  We both looked at each other and did not know what to say.  Right then, your grandfather said he thought it was a good idea for you to have some company and carefully closed the door behind him, leaving us alone.  I felt so self-conscious.  I knew it was my turn to explain myself.  After I introduced myself and you invited me closer, I think we made a special kind of contact with each other.  I think we both felt something special toward each other.  Some things you said made me sad, like how your parents died.  Other things made me happy, like how much you enjoyed everything around you and how happy you were.  I told you what a lovely name you had and you only replied with a silent smile.  I also told you why I wanted to be your friend and you said that you would love to be my friend.  It meant so much to me.  When I returned home, I was so excited that I could hardly fall asleep.  I lay awake and thought of all the things I still wanted to tell you.  I’m sure you felt the same.

They said you died from constantly running around in the cold and rain.  I do not believe it.  I do not believe that a happy girl can die of sickness.  I felt so devastated, it was all so sudden.  The day after I met you, I wanted to visit again.  This is when I found out.  Your grandfather didn’t cry, but I could see the tears in his face.  He gave me a file with all your writing and a little red jewellery box.  He said that before you died, you asked him to give it to me.  He stayed with you all night, holding your hand.  The next morning you were still warm, but not breathing.  You still lay in your bed when I came.  Your grandfather did not want me to see you, but I said I really wanted to see you a final time.  I wanted to hold your hand like your grandfather did, but decided not to.  I did not want to feel whether your hand was warm or cold.  I looked at you closely.  A shock of terror came over me when I realized that you really are not breathing and will never breathe, or laugh, or cry ever again.  I felt a pain in my chest that I have never felt before.  I knew then that my best friend is dead forever.  First it was only a tear, then the rest of my sorrow.  I do not know which word describes it best - sorrow, grief, sadness, pain or misery.  I felt all of these, perhaps even regret.  Regret that I haven’t met you sooner.  I cried by your side for a long time and thought many thoughts.  I thought that perhaps I knew how you felt when your parents died.  I also wondered, if you were me, what you would write about me if I were dead, and if perhaps you would like me to write something about you.  I wondered if I were perhaps your last thought, or perhaps your parents or perhaps your grandfather.  I felt a hand on my shoulder; it was your grandfather’s comforting touch.  I saw that it was getting dark and knew I had to return home.  I felt wetness on my cheeks.  Your grandfather told me how much he loved you and I believe him.  I returned home with a heavy heart.  For weeks my mind was constantly turning around you.  I was so sad, thinking that when I met my best and closest friend ever, I would lose her.

That evening I looked at your file.  There were so many stories and poems of places one can only dream of.  It was as if you lived in a world no one else can see, but which was perfectly real to you.  It was only then that I understood how happy you really were inside.  I have decided that I want to live there too and I wish you were here to help me get there.  I opened your red jewellery box and found your letter and your last poem as you said I would in your letter.  I first read your letter.  I had all kinds of mixed feelings while reading it.  It felt so real, as if you were really here, even though I knew you were not.  You said you were sorry you had to go, I am also sorry.  I shall miss you, but I shall never forget.  Receiving your mother’s jewellery box as a farewell gift means a lot to me and I shall look after it well.  When I read your poem, I cried again all over.  I spilled a tear on your paper.  I shall remember your poem, learn from the truths you have learned and make it part of my life.  I shall be happy as you were and make my life everything it can be.  I shall live both our lives and make up for yours.  I know that the place you wrote about in your poem is heaven.  Did you know you were dying?  Perhaps your spirit only had a longing to be in the place you dreamed of, so you left for a better place with God.  I’ll try not to be sad.

I shall always remember you as you are, as a child who never grew up.  In the end, you were perhaps the happiest person I have known.  You had a secret no one knew of and I will cherish that secret forever.

I do not know what to do with this letter, since I cannot give it to you.  Perhaps I should just throw it away.

Farewell.
Your best friend.

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