September 1, 1995

Dear friend,

Is this what it feels like to have a friend? Jeremiah seems very, very nice and always wants to walk me to the parking lot after school, and we have lunch together every day. Valerie, too, tries her best to be nice to me, though sometimes I think she doesn't want to.

Something seems to be bothering Valerie every time I'm around her, so I asked Jeremiah if she liked me or not. He told me that she's always in thought, in a way that makes it seem like everything is tiresome or worrying her. That didn't exactly answer my question, but I knew better than to ask him again.

I seriously think that I'm in love with Jeremiah, but Mom told me that first loves rarely last, and then used my father as an example. If she only knew Jeremiah, I know she'd change her mind. I truly think I'm in love with him. It's a crazy feeling, something like being tickled like a feather in my stomach or being unbelievably happy all the time. Mom also told me it was unrealistic to be in love with Jeremiah, since we've only known each other a week, but there's something about him that I like.

It's like love at first sight, I suppose, like in the fairytales that Mom read to me when I was young. The prince and the princess would look at each other once, and then they just knew that they were meant to be together. In this case, Jeremiah is my handsome prince, and I am the damsel in distress, the princess and his prize.

But even though I love spending time with Jeremiah, and even possibly love him, it makes me feel very vulnerable, even more so than usual. That leaves me asking myself all sorts of questions. Why is it that humans are so susceptible to our want for love? Why is it that we search so long for something that can so easily slip through our fingers? Back when I was suicidal, love was the last thing on my mind; now I just can't shake thoughts of Jeremiah.

Mom thinks I'm being "very philosophical" as of late. Is it weird to be like this, and only fifteen? I've never felt anything like this before, the feeling of being accepted and fitting in, or being so happy. I feel like I actually have friends now.

Mom says that now that I have Jeremiah and Valerie, I should leave the house more. Obviously, she doesn't realize how difficult that'd be for me. Even when Jen and I were still on speaking terms, we didn't spend a lot of time together outside of school. We would go over to each other's house every once in a while, but I never took her to meet Dad. Before Stephanie, he dated all kinds of women, and I didn't want her to know about that kind of stuff. When she started dating Priscilla, she seemed normal, so I considered bring Jen over to meet her, but by that point she was so used to me saying 'no' when she asked to meet Dad that she just stopped asking, and I didn't know how to ask if she wanted to meet him. She just stopped caring, like everyone does. At some point, we all stop caring.

As it turns out, Jeremiah and I have a mutual bond: We love to read. We have been recommending books to one another and I've actually started reading one that he told me to try, called It by Stephen King. I really like it so far, but I haven't really read much of it. I've been too busy with school and my friends.

Stephanie doesn't really like it when I read, because she says it's easier for me to go out in the world and be a 'contributing member of society'. I honestly think she should look in the mirror if she thinks that I have problems with that. Maybe she needs to sort out her priorities before saying those kinds of things to me.

I don't like to get caught up on the idea that she's not my mother, but she really isn't, and I don't think she should act like she is. The last time I was with Dad, she told me things like, "You wouldn't act like this toward your mother, would you?" It took a lot of self-control to keep from saying, "No, I wouldn't, but you're not my mother." I sincerely hope that she never has a child of her own, because she certainly isn't doing a very good job with me.

That's all I have time for.

Charlotte