Quote of the Day – 23 August 2017: Love Letters for the Departed – Ava Dellaira
Dear Kurt Cobain,
When Mrs. Buster asked us to hand over the letters at the end of today, I took a look at the notebook, where I had written mine and locked it up. The minute he called for the exit, I rushed to pick up my stuff and I left. There are certain things I can't tell anyone, except those who are no longer with us.
The first time May played your music for me, I was in eighth grade. She was in the tenth grade. Ever since he got into high school, he seemed to be getting further and further away from me. I missed her and the worlds we imagined together. But that night in the car, it was just the two of us again. He put "Heart-Shaped Box" on me, and it seemed different than anything I'd listened to before.
When May took her eyes off the road and asked me ,"Do you like it?", it was like she had opened the door to her new world and invited me inside. I nodded my head. It was a world full of sensations that I still couldn't put into words.
Lately, I've been listening to you again. I put in Utero, close the door, close my eyes and listen to it all, a bunch of times. And when I'm there with your voice, it's hard for me to explain, but it's like I'm starting to feel like I have a point in this world.
After May died in April, it was as if my mind had stuck. I didn't know how to answer any of the questions my parents were asking me, so I simply, for a short time, stopped talking. And then we all stopped talking, at least about it. Each with his island – my father in the house, my mother in the apartment where he had moved to for several years, and I pendulated each other in silence, too confused to cope with the last months of middle school.
Eventually, my dad started watching baseball games with the full volume and returned to work at Rhodes Construction, and my mother went to a farm in California two months later. Maybe she was upset that I couldn't tell her what happened. But I can't tell anyone.
All summer I've been doing nothing but looking online for articles, photos or a story to replace the one in my head. I came across an obituary that said May was a beautiful young woman, a very good student and a daughter loved by her family; then, over a short newspaper article, "The Tragic Death of a Young Local Woman", accompanied by a photo depicting the flowers and objects that some of her classmates left on the bridge, along with her photo from her graduation album, in which May smiles, has bright hair and looks right into our eyes.
Maybe you could help me figure out how to find a door to a new world again. I haven't made friends yet. In fact, for a week and a half i've been here, I almost haven't said a word other than "present" when the catalogue is called. and the instructions I ask my secretary to know how to get to the classroom. But there's a girl, a colleague from English class named Natalie. He draws stuff on his arms. Not just ordinary hearts, but meadows with creatures, girls and trees that seem alive. She wears her hair trapped in two braided tails that reach her waist and has a perfect smooth brown skin. Her eyes have different colors – one is almost black, and the other has a fogy greenish hue. Yesterday I was passed a note on which only a smiley face was drawn. I'm thinking I could try to sit next to her for lunch and propose we eat together.
When they're all queuing to buy food, it looks like they're staying together. I can't help but think I'd want to be there for them. I don't want to bother my dad asking for money, because always when I do she seems stressed, and I can't ask Aunt Amy – she thinks she's lacquering my buns she's preparing for me. But I started collecting all the change I find – a penny on foot, or twenty-five cents in the defective juice machine, and yesterday I took fifty cents from Aunt Amy's drawer. I was sorry. I've had enough to buy a pack of Nutter Butters, though.
I loved it. I loved standing in line with everyone else. I liked that the girl in front of me had red curls left on her back, and you could see that she had made them alone. And I liked the light rustling of the foil when I opened the package. I liked how each bite was making a different kind of noise.
And that's when it happened – I was nibbing on a Nutter Butter and I was looking at Sky among the falling leaves. That was the moment he saw me. He turned to talk to someone. He slowed down his movements. Our eyes met for a few moments before my folks looked the other way. I felt sparks lit under my skin. The point is, when I looked again, Sky was still looking at me. His eyes were like your voice – the right key to a place in me that was burning with dying to open.
The Book of Love Letters for those who left can be purchased from: