September 1 , 1974

K-

I don't know why I'm writing this. Maybe because any diary writer will tell you that it's ace writing out all your thoughts and feelings to something that can't hate you for whatever it is that you write. But I don't get why they write to something that doesn't exsist. Who is "diary" anyway? So I'm writing to you.

Why would I choose some twelve-year-old boy when I could write to my dad (RIP) or to my mom, wherever she is? I could even write to M, but my stepdad scares me and you will never understand why. You will never understand any bit of my home situation, because your parents still love each other. They stayed together as long as they could—even now that they're separated, it isn't by choice. Your mother is in an asylum, but he still goes to visit her as often as he can. I think it's beautiful. Once I thought you were beautiful too. Now I can't think of you without feeling betrayed.

I guess I'm writing to you because I hate you. Or, because I know I should hate you but you were always my Tony and I was always your Maria and I don't know how to forget the happy times.

We go back to school tomorrow. It's the first year since kindergarten that I won't have a single friend in the building. At least in kindergarten I could come home to you. By first grade your dad gave in and transferred you from private school to the public Bayside elementary. There were only six of us in our class, remember?

Anyway, school. Tomorrow. We'll be in seventh grade. There are a lot more of us now than there were in elementary school. We combined with all the elementary schools in our half of the high school district. Now there are five classes with twenty or so kids. It's a big change from six snot-nosed kids who hated each other. Remember? There were two groups of two (you and me, and the island princesses) and two kids by themselves. One of them, B, made a lot of friends last year once we combined, so I don't feel bad for him anymore. W is still by himself, but his mother is mean to me so I don't care about him very much.

I wonder if you'll find new friends. Sometimes I forget that neither of us were given any practice—we had each other at a young age and that was all we needed for the longest time. I know that I won't make any friends. I just don't know about you. It seems that once I knew your thoughts before you did but now you're some wild card. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you, K, and maybe I'll believe it if I write it enough.

I hate you,

Essa

/-/-/-

November 28, 1974

K-

This is the first time since my mom left that I have to spend a holiday with M. I used to spend it with you and your family. I wonder if they miss me. I know you don't.

From how the day has gone so far, it seems that Thanksgiving is just an excuse for M to drink even more than usual. And I'll have to endure his drunken rage. And it's all your fault. Why couldn't you have loved me more? I thought we were friends forever. Forever. Until your final breath. I guess that's not true.

I wonder how many times you lied when we said that to each other. Remember? You used to smile at me and say, "We'll be friends forever, Essa."

I would smile back and ask, "Forever?"

You would put an arm around me. You would promise, "Until my final breath."

I hate you,

Essa

-/-/-/-/

December 25, 1974

K-

Today wasn't so bad It's the evening and I'm writing this on the beach. Any day can be brightened by the sight of the ocean, even if it's cold or rainy or foggy or crowded. But today, despite it being winter, it's surprisingly warm. The sun is setting behind me, coloring the sand gold. It's really beautiful, K, and for I moment I wished you would be there with me. It's days like these that that I almost miss you. Then I remember—it was a day like this when you broke my heart.

I hope you remember. I hope what you did haunts you at night. I hope there are nights you can't sleep because you're thinking about me. I hope you cry when you remember how I cried. That's all I want for Christmas this year. I want your heart to break the way mine did.

It's funny. Everyone in my life has pushed me around in some way. My dad spanked me when I was born silent. My mom used to slap my hand or cuff my ear if I was out of line. And M does much, much worse. But I thought you were different. I really thought that you would never hit me—let alone just to please a group of boys who would've turned on you if you hadn't. I was bruised and hurting and crying and you left with them. You left me there. The sandy pavement was wet from chlorine footprints and still crackling from the summer heat. The sun was setting. My heart was breaking.

I can't believe I was stupid enough to put all of my trust in you. I can't believe that I dared to think that you were better than that. I really thought you cared about me. I thought that maybe I mattered to you like I never mattered to anyone before (except maybe my dad but he died before I could know for sure. I like to think that he loved me). I thought we would be friends forever. Forever. Until your final breath.

I guess that the joke's on me. It's always on me.

I hate you,

Essa

P.S. Merry Christmas.