Dear Ryan | Teen Ink

Dear Ryan

April 25, 2008
By Anonymous

January 9, 2005
Dear Ryan,

The middle of 7th grade is an awful time to start writing; it’s not the beginning and not the end of things. What could I ever tell or say that would be worth looking back on? It’s like the middle, of the middle of middle school, of my entire life. The phrase the first day of the rest of my life comes to mind when I say all this. I know that it can be either depressing as hell or more motivating than your smile. I know I’m sorry that sounded so weird forget I said any of that.

To be honest, you will probably never read this. No matter how much you should be able to, especially since they are, in fact, letters to you there’s so much I will probably blurt out just freely writing. Of course, talking does seem like it would be easier to blurt things out, but I always think carefully before I say anything, which is probably why people say I’m so quiet, but at least I know, I’m saying the right thing. Talking is always awkward for me, even with you.. So when I carefully write these things, I guess you can tell I’m holding back so much, but it’s that type of writing that makes all the teachers so impressed. They like people who don’t write every little thing, but say everything. That’s why I hate school.

Now let’s talk about what happened today Ryan, since you won’t read this, it’ll just be me talking about how annoyed I was because you weren’t there. I came 15 minutes before 3:00, which definitely was the time we agreed on meeting. It’s not because I had nothing better to do, but because I was really excited about buying the project supplies. But as I replay this in my head, I’m starting to realize that it wasn’t even the supplies, I could’ve bought those myself, but it was being able to talk to you again. I see that you didn’t feel all that enthusiastic though, that’s why you didn’t even tell me why you weren’t there until I called you up on the brim of tears after my mom yelled at me for being out after dark.

I’m signing off now, to start the project WITHOUT you.



January 13, 2005
Dear Ryan,

I pasted the last letter into an old glittery journal I found under my bed. I used to write a lot when I was little, but never schoolwork or anything productive, just random thoughts, sort of like right now. It’s the feelings that mattered more to me though. Journals don’t have to be so professional to be good, they just have to have full of emotions and… they just have to be the truth, your own truth.

Speaking of journals, I threw all the supplies away. Everything, except for the little pens which I only bought for myself since you weren’t there to tell me not to buy it. That’s all I’m going to need for our project, it’ll just be a journal, from the perspective of a girl our age during the westward expansion. It’ll be much more original than the timeline posters everyone else will probably be making. The first entry is written on the day her family forces her to pack and she finds a notebook behind her shelf and decides to keep it as a journal which she ends up writing in during the whole journey. I guess this is sort of a diary-type journal, filled with me ranting on and on about whatever happened. Then again, it’s written to you, an actual person, it makes me wonder what would happen if you died. Would my journal die too? I’ll write as long as you live Ryan.



January 20, 2005
Dear Ryan,

The moon is full tonight, with a hazy aura radiating from its surface. It’s hard to believe that just last night it was missing something, the little piece to make it full. The moon goes through phases, and it grows, and then fades away. Is it nature, to go through phases, to change and grow then seem so far away? Is it our nature to do those things? I’ve been angry a lot. I guess I was just missing something. I’m not going to be like that anymore, now that we’ve been talking more, and I’m full like the moon.

The rest of the sky is bright as well, illuminated by the bright windows and lights of New York. Broken glass glitters under pools of light cast by the streetlights, brighter than any stars you could ever see in the country. The world can be so busy around us, people can be so happy. We count on the moon to light up that sky, but when it’s not there we always have the lights. I wonder, when the Lauren you know starts to disappear, when I lose everything, when I start to fade and I can’t light up my sky, will you be the streetlights, the power and life of the city that brings the brightness back to me? I only wonder what would happen if you needed me.


February 5, 2005
Dear Ryan,
This may be the only letter you’ll ever actually get to read from me. We haven't really talked for a while and I know when conflict brews there's always miscommunication and words meant to be said that never could be said, or that came out wrong.

They say 50% of all human communication is through physical, rather than vocal communication. Think back to sixth grade, we barely saw each other, but enough could be communicated- or miscommunicated through a single action. In sixth grade, I remember one person didn't love your voice. Though I was able to, and eventually that person was also able to see past that voice, and see the real you, the one who would always giggle, and could cheer you up through pure excitement and enthusiasm for whatever was coming his way.

Did you see how rainy it was today? I could see the faded image of the outside world through the fogged up window. Even though it was all blurry, could you still make out the basic objects out there? The wet benches, thin city trees that would stay there no matter what the storm brought. The weather affects us a lot, it was hard to go outside and have fun because everything was slippery and it was hard to just run freely without the thought of falling and getting hurt.

When that depressing lunch ended, I looked back through that very same window, and though everything was still wet, I could see the sunshine just barely peeking through the clouds, warming away the clouds' tears. Still, I tried to imagine how it would be if that storm had come on a day we were running. Would it have stopped us?

Ryan, no matter what happens, I'll always be able to see the people I know, the way I remembered them before the fights. I guess it's still raining now, but I’m hoping for some sunshine, at least enough time for all the fog to go away so I can see the same person used to have so much fun with. I'm rushing to write this, and during this moment, I don't care whether or not I slip on all the rain and remnants of our storm, because I’ll always know I slipped for you. As much as it hurts, without rain, the trees would never grow. I hope we both can grow when this storm ends.

-Your friend Lauren,


I know how it feels when you’re trying to say something, when you’re trying to save someone from what you feel is a slippery slope to danger. Don’t you remember when my big sister starting coming home way after my bedtime, until she stopped coming home altogether? Yet sadly, at the same time, I also know how it feels when someone says things about you right in front of you, when they know you can hear and are listening to them. You know why I’m mad. Keeping your head turned towards someone else and whispering something containing my name while I was behind you, would’ve been enough to make the Dalai Lama lose his temper.

You’ll receive forgiveness when you reach a state where you’re intelligent enough to understand the way other people would react to you actions. Until then, you’re going to have to try an awful lot harder than writing a faux I-miss-you-please-come-back apology letter where you don’t even admit you’re even partially to blame.

February 14, 2005
Dear Ryan,
You were late... again. Which was too bad, because during that whole time I waited, I kept thinking of all the things I did, and how I could’ve apologized if you were here, for just a split second.
Another train rushed by and blew a strong wind that brushed a wisp of hair into my face, like the breeze when you're running freely. Do you remember those days? We'd wake up so early, and meet by Sam's deli. When nothing else mattered until we ran side by side next to the east river. The rising sun looking like fire over the horizon, casting its flames over the sparking sea reflecting like diamonds. Sometimes I felt like it was just our spirits floating together unrestrained, and all I could feel and needed to feel was you by my side.
That's how I always felt.
When I looked back at life all messed up with things I couldn't take back and looked forward the future looking longer and bumpier than ever, but you would make me forget about that and focus on what mattered the time we had now. Hey, you only live once right? You showed me how to smile through the tears and not have to endure the moments, but enjoy them. Remember when it rained? the sidewalk seemed wet and muddy and the raindrops seemed like needles piercing through my flesh as I ran, but with you the sidewalk was cleaner, the raindrops were cool and refreshing like the first drop of water that touches your sweaty skin on a hot summer day. Those were... our summer days.

I want to be able to tease you about being late again, to feel my sneakers hitting the ground, the long conversations we'd have on the phone, making stupid inside jokes late at night, pausing in between conversations just to look in your shining dark eyes that were like a drop of black ink on white paper, beautifully contrasted.
But I can't. All because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Though how can I say that, when it was our little place by the deli and just before dawn, which was our time. Who would think running would get you killed? What were the chances that a bullet would stray from its target and hit you? How can it be that something so fulfilling that made you feel so alive would make you... dead? It's these questions that I know will be forever unanswered that linger in my mind.
It hurts.

Inside I feel like I'm dying. Maybe it's so I can be with you and we can side by side, our spirits floating in heaven, together.


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