The 6th of September 1997 – Valley View Elementary School, Portland, Connecticut

(found with a smiling face drawn on it, hidden beneath a pile of crayons, markers and pens)

Dear Suzy,

Thanks for reaching out. At first I thought your letter was sent to the wrong address, but I appreciate you reaching out.

I like dogs, too. We had one when I was a kid. He had brown fur with black spots and a big orange collar, probably a lot like your dog. He got hit by a car.

I hope you don’t mind that I focus on your first question. “How are you?”

Well, unfortunately Suzy, things aren’t so hot for me right now. I feel angry. I feel alone. Every once in a while I am so overwhelmed by some kind of emotion that I just curl up into a ball and wretch around on the floor for a few minutes. I can’t really describe the emotion, but it’s powerful, trust me.

I think about killing myself every day. I know this isn’t normal, Suzy, and hopefully you never have to fend off a similar idea later in your life, but I wake up every morning and the thought is already in my head, attacking me, prodding me. All I can do is shrug and wait for it to leave, and hope that it does soon because some days I don’t know how long I can last. It’s that thought saying that my life is worthless, that any effort I expend to make it better is nothing but a waste. That’s what I am, I think, nothing but a waste.

And I can’t stop thinking, I just can’t. Her face, my shitty life, all the things I want and wish were different just keep flashing in front of my mind’s eye and I hate them and I can’t make them stop and I hate that too. You don’t know what it does to me, this feeling. You can’t, at least I hope you can’t, and I hope you never can. I just feel like throwing things and breaking things until there’s just nothing else left. But then all I’ll have to deal with is myself, and I definitely don’t want any part of that.

Do you think I need help, Suzy? I think I need help, Suzy.

Anyway, enjoy the second grade. It should be fun. Fractions or something.

Your pen pal,

Martin

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