After her death, they found a surprising thing in her room: a stack of love letters, written in her childish hand and pressed between the pages of a heavy book. Each was addressed to a different name: Dear Anthony, Luke, Matt, Wayne. They weren’t the names of people she knew—those were so few. They weren’t the names of recognizable characters from books or movies or TV shows.
As they continued to search through her room, they found more and more letters. Folded as if a bookmark, tucked beneath the book cover, flattened underneath a stack. They had planned to donate the books, but now it seemed sacrilgeous, impossible. She seemed to be alive again, singing in the words on the page. Without you, my darling, she wrote, I would forget how to breath. Or: I spent all of Saturday inside, watching the rain and hoping that you, even so far away, are seeing the same. Her lovers always seemed to be distant, on the verge of disappearing, fading to gray. I miss you so terribly, she wrote, I fear that I’m going to lose my right hand, the one you once held and must have brought with you.
Alive, she had never been poetic. She spoke quickly and often, it seemed, harshly. She moved without grace, her limbs heavy with clumsiness. She was often avoided, though never actively hated. When she laughed her voice squeaked, and it was not a pretty sound. Her friends, if they could be called that, saw her because they were trapped in solitary worlds of their own, and needed at least the occasional illustration of companionship. Even her family, here, now, trifling through her possessions, could not say that they were devasted. It was a terrible shock, a terrible loss. They cried at the funeral and held each other tight. But mostly they were relieved that they had each other to hold, and were secretly glad that it had not been her sister instead.