At breakfast, Mom isn’t around so Uncle Maurice puts butter on a pop-tart for me, then walks me to school holding my hand. His hand isn’t like Dad’s. It doesn’t fit right, all sweaty and at different angles.
There are no fireflies here. Mom says we haven’t been gone all that long because you can’t measure time by a calendar and that time isn’t a clock either. She says time is light. I think time is fireflies in a field, all flickering light at different moments.
My teacher says a dog will help me cope, but Uncle Maurice says there’s no way he’s letting a dog in his house, and then he uses words that are written on the walls of the park.
I asked what if I get lonely? And Mom said I can write you letters.
There are parks here with bad words written on walls that Mom says I can’t say. I ask her, “if I can’t say them then why do they put it on walls?” She says that’s different and I won’t be a kid again if I do.
Remember the last time we jumped on a bed, when everything was as weightless as giggles? When I jump, I push the entire earth down. But it comes back to me. It loves me like you do. You must love me because why else would you be so close to me in my head? Like a cathedral so pretty that later at night when you close your eyes, you still see God.
Pigeons used to carry messages. That’s why New York has so many undelivered messages flying around. My best friend here is an albino pigeon. I save my breadcrumbs for him. He eats them like he’s eating the places I’ve been. Like I’m Hansel looking for Gretel, but I can’t find our crumbs.
Mom says I don’t have to be afraid of poison ivy here. But there are a lot of new things to be afraid of. Like dark. I must be afraid of the dark here, and I am only allowed to go where streetlights are.
I don’t have to be afraid of nature anymore though. Only people. Because here nature is in little squares between concrete. In the city, nature is where you allow it to be. But in the country, you are where nature allows you to be.
I miss the corn maze where we would run and scare eachother. Here there is no corn. No horizons or sunsets or side-to-sides. Everything’s up-and-downs like you’re inside all day even when you’re outside. The buildings turn different colors so I guess the sun does go down, but then lights that buzz go on and it doesn’t sound like the buzzing of flies or cicadas or missquitoes. I never thought I’d miss missquitoes.
Why haven’t you written back yet? I need a friend.
There are no friends here. I wrote a note to a girl in class that said: “if you would like to be my friend, please mark here for yes ____ and here for no _____.” She marked “No.” I asked a boy too. He said maybe, if I gave him my favorite marker. So I did but he said “No” and won’t give it back. I want to ask other people, but I don’t have my marker anymore.
My teacher is teaching me to write words with all the letters connected and all the letters go with eachother. It would be very nice to write like this because it’s like all the letters are friends that get to be together. Mom says eachother is two words. I think it’s better if they are one.
I miss you very much.
Please write back so I can see you in my thoughts.
Eliot Hudson has earned two Masters Degrees (Creative Writing & Modern Literature) at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and has studied under Rick Moody. He’s been published (and featured as Author of the Month) in The Missing Slate, and was selected to read at Brooklyn’s Literary Festival, Popsickle. He’s written for the Punxsutawney Spirit, the travel journal, Exploration, and has also been published in Cleaves and Garlic and Saphire. Hudson writes music and performs throughout New York City as “The Hudson Underground.” He’s played as far as Barcelona, London, Rome, Romania, Vietnam and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.