210, Bremen St
Boston, MA - 02128
1612, Columbia Rd
Boston, MA - 02127
July 24th, 1989
I read the first chapter of your book. I struggled to get through single paragraphs as my hands trembled on the mention of the older sister. This is because Julia, my older sister and my best friend, died on July 4th from cancer. As I gazed upon her lifeless frame with horror in my eyes, I broke down to the floor. Life would never be the same without her by my side.
In the two weeks since her funeral, life has changed. Dad is gloomy and cold, uttering not a single word. Mom travels to the far side of town more often, and is rarely to be seen at home. Life feels like a desert, barren, harsh and undiscriminating. The cold breeze that Julia was has traversed far away, and I feel left alone and vulnerable.
Seven years ago, when I was eight, she began to fall ill at an unusual rate. She’d have to stay in hospitals for weeks in a row, and fly to New York frequently. Her eyes looked stripped of their glimmer, and her body grew hollower day by day. Then, one evening, a day before a surgery on her, my dad and mom sat down on the couch, gazing me right in the eye.
“Look, it's been tough lately, and I think we should tell you this,” my dad said, sighing aloud.
“What do you mean, Dad?” I said.
“It’s about Julia. Promise me you’ll stay strong no matter what.”“Okay, but please tell me what you mean, Dad.”
“Julia has Stage 2 ALL.”
“She has blood cancer,” he said, his voice breaking and his eyes turning moist.
“But, we need you to stay strong and be ready for whatever may happen,” my mom said.
Tears filled my eyes as I began to comprehend what my parents had told me. Visions flashed in front of my dampened eyes of Julia and me. My parents came down, wiping their tears, to embrace me.
“It’ll be okay, they said.”
As the days went on, the sight of Julia slowly turned into a luxury. She stayed nights upon nights in the hospital, with IV fluids and excruciating chemotherapies blowing a little life into her.
But, as time moved forward, she grew frail and fatigued, unable to muster the strength to speak. Yet, she smiled brightly every time I would see her. And then, one day, still sleeping, she just passed away. Her eyes were shut forever, the sound of her voice muted eternally, her smile only to be seen in photos.
This was the end of our story.
Why did it have to be my dear sister? What wrong had she done? She definitely wasn’t at fault. She was the ideal sister, the perfect daughter, and the greatest friend. Then why was she stolen from me? It seemed unfair, like the whole world had lined up against me.
The whole affair seemed like an ever-flowing river had suddenly become still, as if it were a stagnant stream all along — life just didn’t feel the same, or even good to begin with.
For days upon days, I refused to eat, or do anything. I’d shut myself up in the attic, sobbing uncontrollably with her pictures held in my hand. The Fujifilm bearing her image dampened with the tears and they kept on dropping.
Then, my mother gave me your book. It felt weird at first, then hitting too close to home. But in the end, it gave me some kind of comfort from this unforgiving grief, a kind of respite. It worked almost like a drug — whenever I read it, I found some comfort, and a feeling that she was still alive, looking with enthusiasm for me. However, just like drugs, I grew addicted to this book.
I began feeling the uneasy urge to pick this book up again. I couldn’t think of anything else but the older sister looking for the little sister.
I decided to write this letter, honestly, because I wanted to rid myself of two very bad feelings — that of the grief surrounding Julia, and this weird and addictive attachment I had grown to this book.
I hope you can help me, or else, my friend peeks through the window, with free doses ready in their hands….
This is just getting started. For the first time, I coming up with a multi-month series, with each chapter being published month-by-month. So, stay tuned and do let me know what you think of this story.