it's been two days since you left for war, and henrietta seems smaller for it. strange how one person can make such a difference, isn't it? it's the same town it's always been. the breeze is still just as warm and gentle, the pavement still just as uneven, the people still just as ordinary. but without you running about wreaking havoc and dragging me along, it feels like an altered place. i couldn't tell you exactly how, though. it’s quieter, i suppose. i find that it is almost unnatural. you and your particular brand of chaos have become a fixture in my life since i met you last august, and i'm not sure whether i consider its absence a relief or not. at least i am now left to my studies in some semblance of peace.
how are you finding france? as i am writing this letter, you and gansey would be sailing across the atlantic to meet whatever awaits you on the front (i hope you make it through that in one piece, by the way. i know you have never been partial to boats of any kind). but when this letter reaches you, i'm sure that you will have been there for about a week (though this may be a generous estimate). i've read a couple of stories in the papers about life on the front. i've seen some photographs taken by journalists over there. i really hope that you can provide me with an account that is perhaps not so bleak. the things i've read... i can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like. (and now i am beginning to imagine that asking after your impressions of france was not a well thought out question. sorry.)
somehow, i find that i still want to go. does that surprise you, ronan? it surprises me, a bit. i don’t think i realized how badly i wanted to go until you and gansey left. blue says i'm crazy for wanting it after all the stories in the papers. when i told her about this desire the day of your departure, she told me that to go would be to throw my life away (which is not the strongest argument. if it didn't stop gansey, it surely wouldn't stop me. nor was it much of a comfort, if that was her aim. though, knowing her, i don’t believe it was). but is it truly crazy to want an escape? would i be insane to risk my life if it meant i could get away? maybe. maybe i am crazy for wanting such a thing.
you understand, though. don't you?
whatever the case may be, it is not as if i have much of a choice in the matter. if i had it my way, i would have no need of a pen and paper to communicate with you. i would be right there with you and gansey. i would not need to ask you how france is, because i would be able to see it for myself. i would know these things. i should know them. instead, i am stuck here. bound to the factory. bound to this small town and its simple people.
bound to my father.
of course, you know this already, ronan. you are familiar with the small disaster that is my life and my situation. i will try not to burden you much with it, though you will have to forgive me if i speak of it now and again. still, i hardly have the right to complain, especially not to you. you will probably be experiencing much worse over there.
i only wish
i hope you are not disappointed to hear from me. i doubt that i am who you would be expecting a letter from. in truth, i find myself wondering if you have thought about me at all since you left. surely you have bigger things to worry about. besides, the way you left things back here, i don't know if you would be expecting a letter from anyone at all. but, knowing you as i do, i'm guessing that you were somewhat hoping for a letter from your brothers. one of them, at least. whatever the case may be, i thought that perhaps you could use some small piece of normalcy, especially with the way things will be changing. and i am hoping that i can be the one to provide that for you. i will keep the letters coming on a regular basis, if you’d like me to.
your friend, adam parrish