In a few days I got a letter from Adam.
He wrote Vi, crossed it out, then Violet, crossed that out too, and then finally just Vi.
It said, Sorry. Didn’t know what to say. Or how to start this.
I’m doing fine. The weathers gone shit-face. It’s freakin’ 43 below. I hate when it gets past 35 below, you know? Nose hairs start freezing. Sorry. Anyway.
We got a puppy while you were in the hospital up here. The conversation you started got us to thinking, and Mom really can’t go all that long without something fuzzy running around underfoot. I think it’s because she works at home and doesn’t know how to handle the quiet with all us kids away from the nest. Yeah. So. It’s a Burmese Mountain dog. One of Mom’s writer friends breeds ’em, and this little guy was the runt, so she let us have him for free, even though he’s got champion blood lines. We named him Grover. He’s a real lover, cuddling with everybody but Dad. Dad likes cats better than dogs, though. Dogs are too unruly for him, I think. Anyway.
I hope you’re doing better.
Or feeling better.
Do they let you paint? If you can, I hope you’re doing it.
We can’t wait for you to come back home. To us. We want you back. You know that, don’t you? We talked with your caseworker up here and she said that would be okay. She said you wouldn’t be out in time for Christmas, which sucks. But they said maybe you’ll be able to visit, if you’re really good. So be good, okay? Mom really misses you. Me too. I mean... I miss you, too.
I’d read it a billion times. It almost had fallen apart, so Truvy Lynn taped it up for me. I kept it in my pocket. It made me feel good, reading it. Like maybe I did belong somewhere. And that was so utterly brilliant I felt a grin come up from my toes.
This was what hope felt like: a sun, a brilliant super-nova in my chest, pushing outward, filling me to bursting.
I would be okay.
I would live.
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