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Dear Patton Heart

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Dear Patton Heart,

Today is going to be... an amazing day! And here's why - because today, um, all you have to do, is just... be yourself!

...

But also confident, that's important, and interesting! Like easy to talk to, approachable, but mostly be yourself! That's number one, like, just be yourself! Just, just um be true to yourself?

Also though don't worry about whether or not your hands get sweaty, for no reason, and you can't make it stop no matter what you do, cuz then, well they're not gonna get sweaty so I don't know why you're bringing it up. Because it's not gonna happen, because all you have to do is just be yourself!

It might not even be anything to worry about because it's really not gonna happen. It's not gonna be like the time you had that PERFECT chance to introduce yourself to Logan Thorn at the Jazz Band concert, last year, when you waited after to, to talk to him and tell him he was really good! And you were gonna pretend to be like SUPER casual, like you didn't even know his name, like he was a stranger. And he would introduce himself, and you'd just be like, 'oh, I'm sorry, I didn't hear you! Cohen? Was it? Was it Cohen?' And then he'd be like 'no, I said Logan.' and then you'd just be like 'oh my bad, yeah sorry I'm just very busy with other stuff right now, so thanks!'

But! You didn't even end up saying anything to him, you were just too scared your hands were sweating! And they weren't even THAT sweaty until you focused on it and worried they were sweaty, which made them sweaty, so you went to the bathroom and put them under the hand dryer, but it didn't work because now they were still sweaty but really warm. Warm and still sweaty.

-

He stopped typing, sighing and ringing his hands.
"So!" Vallery - his mother - her voice broke through his spiralling thoughts as she came in. He closed his laptop and turned to her. "No dinner tonight? Decided not to?" She held up the money she'd left him for food while she was at her late shift at the hospital.
"I just wasn't hungry..." He began fiddling with the sheets.
"You're a senior in High School!" She reminded him. "You should be able to order dinner while I'm at work, you can do it all on that laptop of yours now!" She stepped closer. "You don't have to talk to anyone on the phone. I know you don't like the phone."

He looked to her. "That's not true, actually because you have to talk to the delivery person when they come to the door and then they have to count the change, which is just awkward cuz they're just stood there silently while they get the change."
"Ok." Vallery interrupted him before he could continue. "This is what you're SUPPOSED to be working on, Patton. Doctor Picani told you, TALKING. to PEOPLE."

Patton bit at his hangnail for a moment.
"Interacting with people, not running away from people." She continued when he didn't answer.
"You're right." He answered. "I'm trying..."
"No, I know, I know you are." She turned back to him and patted his arm. "That's why I made you an appointment with Doctor Picani for this afternoon! And you can head there after school."
"But, I already have an appointment next week." Patton replied.

"And I thought something sooner might be better." Vallery answered as she put away some of his clothes. "Have you been writing the letters he wants you to do? You know, the letters to yourself? 'Lil', ya know, pep talks, 'Dear Patton Heart, it's gonna be a good day and here's why!'." She smiled at him and he looked down to his closed laptop. "Are you doing that?-"
"Yeah, I've started writing one." Patton told her, interrupting her rant. "I'll, I'll finish it at school!"
"Those letters are very important honey, they're gonna help you, ya know, build confidence and seize the day!" She giggled, placing her hands on her hips.

He looked up at her. "I guess!" He replied, mimicking her over dramatic tone.
She shook her head in exasperation but still smiled. "I don't want another year of you just sitting at home, on your laptop every Friday night, telling me you don't have any friends."
"Neither do I..." He replied, still fiddling with his bed sheets.
She sighed.

-

"Can we try to have an optimistic outlook? Huh? Can we look up just enough to see the world won't fall apart? Maybe this year we decide, 'we're not giving up before we've tried'. This year, we make a new, start."

-

She smiled. "Hey, I know! You can go around at school today and ask the other kids to sign your cast, that'll be good! That'd be a great ice breaker, huh?"
"...Perfect..." He mumbled.
"Hey." She smiled at him as he looked to her. "I'm proud of you already."
"I know... Gooood..." Patton replied, looking back down at his bed.

She left and closed the door behind her, sighing.

-

"Another stellar conversation, for the scrapbook. Another stumble as I'm reaching for the right thing to say. I'm, kinds coming up empty, can't find my way to you...

Does anybody have a map? Anybody happen to know how the hell to do this? I don't know if you can tell but this is me just pretending to know, so where's the map? I need a clue. The scary truth is, I'm flying blind, and I'm making this up as I go."

-

The Thorn's sat at the breakfast table, an unsettling silence surrounding them.
"It's your senior year, Virgil, you are NOT missing the first day." Talyn reprimanded their son.
Virgil rolled his eyes. "I already said, I'd go tomorrow." His family simply stared at him. "I'm tryna find a compromise here."
Talyn turned to Joan, their partner. "Are you gonna sort this, or are you too busy with your emails, Joan?"
Joan quickly looked up. "You have to go to school, Virgil."
"That's all you're gonna say?"
"Well, what do you want me to say?" Joan sighed. "He doesn't listen. Look at him, he's probably high."

Logan looked up at them. "He's definitely high."
"FUCK you!~" Virgil replied.
"Fuck you!" Logan shouted back.
"We do not need you picking on your brother right now, that really isn't constructive!" Talyn reminded Logan. He simply rolled his eyes.
"Are you kidding?"
"Besides." Talyn continued before a full on argument could start. "He's not high."

Virgil looked back up from the table, a small smirk shooting its way at his brother.
Talyn pinched the bridge of their nose. "I don't want you going to school high, Virgil! We talked about this."
"Perfect! So then I won't go." He pushed himself away from the table. "Thanks, Cenn!"

-

"Another masterful attempt ends with disaster..."

"The interstates already jammed!"

"Pour another cup of coffee and watch it all crash and burn!"

"Virgil finished the milk!"

"It's a puzzle, it's a maze, I try to steer through it a million ways. But each day's another wrong... turn."

"I better head out."

"If Virgil's not ready, I'm leaving without him!"

"Does anybody have a map?"

"Anybody have a map?"

"Anybody know how the hell to do this?"

"I don't know if you can tell, but this is me just pretending to know!"

"So where's the map?"

"I need a clue!"

"Cuz the scary truth is, I'm flying blind."

"I'm flying blind."

"I'm flying blind!"

"I'm flying blind... And I'm making this up, as I go!"

"As I go!"