Dear Friend,

So for my College Writing Class our final paper is a creative writing piece that is to be inspired by something we talked about this semester, including the book “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood. So I’ve written a piece entitled “Letters to Adaline,” tell me what you think.

Love, Mandi Jo

P.S. I already know it’s a creepy story, please don’t worry about my state of mind.

~o~

Adaline,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       November 23

I’m back home. It’s not the same without you. I can’t believe this is the first time since I left. You know, Gracie said I couldn’t tell anyone where we were going, that our moving would be a secret. I know my mom being paranoid shouldn’t have kept me from writing a letter but do you remember Tony? The boyfriend from the post office? He was the last before we left it ended badly. Well Gracie didn’t want him finding her, so no letters or phone calls, to or from anywhere. She let me make a phone call once, and I did try to call you, but your phone number now belongs to some random guy named Seth. Nevertheless, I’m back now, five years and the memories are as fresh as they were when I left. Every street holds some memento of our friendship. I thought visiting Donoghue’s Danishes would make me feel better. Do you remember all the time we spent there? We would sit at that table in the back corner. You know the one, next to the window, overlooking the lake? Peggy Donoghue asked how I’ve been doing but she averted her eyes nervously. You know how people can sound friendly, but they look, I don’t know, uncomfortable? I felt like she wished I hadn’t come back. She wasn’t the only one, everyone looked at me like they didn’t know what to do with me. What happened around here? Why are the people I consider my family looking at me like this? Where are you?

Love,

Shyla

~o~

Adaline,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      November 30

            It has been a week. No answers, at least, not yet. I’ll keep looking. I don’t expect you to respond to these letters. I know that sending them to your childhood home is of no use, no one lives there anymore, but you’re the only one I feel like I can talk to. I walked past yesterday, hoping to “re-live” the past. The house is rundown, the yellow paint chipping and faded from what looks like years of neglect. When did you leave? When I left, I thought I would be back the next summer, that we would stay in touch with each other that our friendship would never die, but I haven’t seen you since. I haven’t even heard your name. Instead, our friendship is as dead as the vines that now surround your mom’s cottage.

Love,

Shyla

~o~

Adaline,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        December 15

            I have been back long enough, ignored long enough, to know that something happened. There has got to be a reason for the way people have been treating me. You wouldn’t believe how rude they’ve been acting. You see I couldn’t find a job, you know, after I graduated, so I took a trip home. I don’t know why, I just felt like this was the place to go, I wanted to find myself. That sounds so cliché, I mean obviously, I’m right here, but – I don’t even know what I mean. So here I am, back in our home town and everyone stays as far away as they possibly can without being overtly offensive.

I bought your cottage. It looked so lonely, so empty, what was I supposed to do? I hope you don’t mind. It looks like your mom moved out not long after I left, the majority of your stuff is still here. Why? Where did you go? Anyways, ever since I bought the place things have gotten worse. Mack Jennings told me to leave everything alone – I had to go out of town to buy the supplies I wanted! I shouldn’t have to leave town to buy paint, where is the decency – hell, where is the love I used to feel from everyone here? I might not have a job, but I have brains, I have skill, I have perseverance. I will fix this cottage up, and I will make them like me again. I just wish I knew how.

Love,

Shyla

~o~

Adaline,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        December 24

            I’m alone again. It is like our childhood when Gracie would be out with her boyfriend, I would come over looking for a mother’s arms, but this time your mother isn’t here to welcome me in, and your laughter isn’t ringing in the back bedroom. I still can’t convince myself to open that door, that door to my past, our past, to the place where our every secret was divulged in hushed tones as we lay side by side on the bed.

You know that scene in 500 Days of Summer when Tom and Summer are in IKEA and Tom says “I don’t know how to tell you this, but there’s a Chinese family in our bathroom…” Summer looks over and there is that awkward moment where no one really knows what to do? That’s the type of relationship we had. We could do anything together and not think about what anyone else would think until later, but even later, after that awkward moment, you and I could always just laugh it off. I miss those days. I miss those days when laughter solved all of the world’s problems.

Love,

Shyla

P.S. I’ve been getting these awful headaches, I wish you were here to sing to me, the way you used to.

~o~

Adaline,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              January 3

Well, this is officially the worst Christmas ever. I am running out of money and no one will hire me despite being the only person on the job market and there being several businesses who obviously need employees. You know you have reached an ultimate low when people don’t trust you to do something as simple as answer phones at The Abbott’s B&B. Not to mention I held that job all through middle-school! I have spent the past 5 years working for goodness-sake, what do they think I’ve been up to? Sitting around twiddling my thumbs? I went to a boarding school, I studied my butt off, sure, I didn’t leave my room very often, but I definitely wasn’t being lazy.

You remember that tapping sound I kept hearing, before you left? It won’t go away, but I can’t figure out where it’s coming from.

Love,

Shyla

~o~

Adaline,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              January 4

What happened to you? I went into your room today and guess what I found. Everything. I found everything. Every article of clothing, every beloved pair of earring, every box of seashells from your habitual walks on the beach, dated and carefully labeled is still there. If you had left on purpose, you would have taken them with you. While everything is here in its place, I still feel as though something important is missing. Maybe I just miss you.

Love,

Shyla

P.S. Sorry about the blood, but I think an animal broke through your glass sliding door. There’s glass and blood all over the floor. I must have tried to clean up because my arms and legs are all cut up.

~o~

Adaline,

Where are you? I woke up this morning in your house, but you are not here. Why am I?

Love,

Shyla

~o~

Adaline tap tap tap tap tap hello no hello NO hello go away tap tap tap whisper whisper close my ears Adaline stop go screaming tap tap tap countdown to goodbye tap ten darkness tap nine listen to me whispers listen to us tap eight scream scream scream tap seven NO Adaline go away stop tap six tap five tapping will end tapping silence is death must end voices death is the answer Shyla freedom tap four death tap three knife skin tap two wait come back Adaline, tap one goodbye

~o~

Adaline,

They said they would go away if I just listened to them.

They lied. I miss you.

~o~