September 1, 2004

Chapter VII: The Letter-Writer

Somewhere in the east, the girl crouched in her hut, feverishly scribbling amendments to a nine-page missive, the second she had written that day. Over the weeks since she had found Adrian’s declaration of love, she had amassed thousands and thousands of words.

At first they had been brief notes, along the lines of Who the hell do you think you are? and questioning his parentage. She saved the notes in the bottom of a trunk, determined to post them the moment she returned to civilisation. At this stage, she had not yet heard of email.

But the curious nature of writing to a specific, if relatively unknown audience, meant that, over the course of time, the girl had developed a relationship with Adrian, and despite her initial hostility, she was becoming quite fond of him. She could not bring to mind his face, although their mutual friend had shown her a bad photograph of a skinny, dark-haired man holding two pints of beer and grinning broadly. She suspected that her friend was deliberately trying to put her off, for sinister reasons of her own.

The letters had grown longer and more detailed. At first she had written a lot about her own life and her everyday activities, but as she spent longer and longer writing, she had less time to do much more than the bare necessities of survival, and therefore less to tell Adrian about in her daily letter. She started to write more about her feelings, and found that his lack of response, which was largely owing to the fact that she had never posted a single one of the letters, made him into an unusually good listener. Not once had he disagreed with her; and she had noticed no politely suppressed sniggers, when she expressed some of her more paranoid notions. She therefore counted him among her best friends.

She had always preferred the strong, silent type, anyway; and Adrian was clearly that. The only information she had about him was that contained in the single letter that he had written years earlier: eight long, incomprehensible pages, with a quirky and creative approach to spelling that she found rather endearing. He had poured his heart out to her in the dark, and she berated herself for not having been there to listen. But then she would not have the letter.


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