Letter Number 6 – February 2016

Dear Ryder,

Did you recover from the shock of the previous letter yet?

I must have totally caught you off-guard with my last confession.

I’m sorry I waited for so long to finally tell you. Actually, I tried to tell you about it a few times. But I just couldn’t. Everytime I made up my mind and approached you, I would chicken out at the last minute and change directions immediately. I was terrified of how you would react.

But I couldn’t keep it inside any longer. These letters were the perfect opportunity for me to tell you the truth without the fear of your reaction. The months after the accident were an absolute mess for me. I could neither eat nor sleep. Everytime I closed my eyes I would hear the thud of Adrian’s body hitting the car. But that wasn’t the only thing plaguing my mind. There was one other thing that added to my miseries. You’ll know about that soon.

But Ryder, I am really sorry. I couldn’t do anything. I did see the car speeding towards him. But it all happened so fast that by the time I blinked, Adrian was lying dead on the road. In some ways, I actually blame myself for his death. Though my therapist has repeatedly told me not to, I haven’t been able to get rid of the guilt.

The thing is, if I had been in a normal state of mind, I might have been able to do something. Maybe I could have saved his life. I could have minimised the injuries. After all, some broken bones are better than death, right? Broken bones heal with time. But you can’t possibly bring a dead person back to life.

You must be wondering about my state of mind at this point. Yes it’s true. I wasn’t sane then. I was in a terrible state. I don’t even think I knew what was happening around me. For now, just know that I was in shock. That is why I took so much time to react to Adrian’s accident.

And mind you, the shock wasn’t because of the accident.

In the months after the incident, I started experiencing all these problems that I told you about in each of my letters. The nightmares, the suicide attempts, the trust issues, the bracelet phobia and everything else.  But there was one other problem that arose right after the accident.

I became afraid of speeding cars.

I froze whenever a car whizzed past me on the road. Also, I had panic attacks when I was inside a speeding car. As the days passed, my panic attacks increased and it became almost impossible for me to travel in a car. Forget about driving, just merely sitting in the passenger seat of a speeding car almost had me fainting. While walking on the road, I never once strayed from the pavement in the fear of being faced by a speeding car. I would always have to hold my mother or father’s hand and squeeze my eyes shut while crossing the road, relying completely on them to steer me to my destination.

It was terrible I tell you. In this world where you have cars at every corner, it literally became difficult for me to step out of my house. But my parents never lost hope.

 They would keep trying. And it is only because of them that I eventually got rid of this phobia to some extent. Yes, I still feel queasy inside a speeding car, but it’s just that, a slight dizzying state. The severe panic attacks have disappeared now. Also, you’ll be glad to know that I now can walk and cross roads alone, without anyone’s help. This was a result of the daily long drives and long walks that I was forced to go on, by my parents. They didn’t give up until I was okay. They would take time out of their daily schedules and take me out.

Really, I don’t know what I would have done without them.  But even in this, you play a vital part. Initially when my parents had suggested the walks and the drives, I had refused to budge. I screamed and cried and broke vases when they tried to force me out. Realizing that they were only worsening my state, my parents had almost given up hope.

But then one day things changed. This was long before I even decide to start letter therapy. This was during those days when I had no interest in what happened to the world. I just wanted to disappear.

It was gym class on a Friday, a month after Adrian’s death. You had become a zombie and nobody dared to approach you. You would lash out at anyone who would even try to comfort you.

I had sprained my ankle that day and was sitting and looking at the rest of the girls play dodge ball.  While the boys played basketball on the other side of the court, you stood on the far side with a frown on your forehead.

Everyone knew that you and Adrian were the best basketball players in school. You two were almost unbeatable. But his death had affected you so bad that you hadn’t even glanced at the basketball court after Adrian passed away. It was as if with his death your dreams to excel at basketball had died as well. The coach had been trying his best to get your head back into the game, but you were stubborn, just like me.

But that day something happened. That day, you abandoned your post on the far side of the court and joined in. You didn’t have smile on your face, but you played. And you played every single day after that. I know that because I had to pass by the basketball court to get to the parking lot. I don’t know why you did it. But seeing you trying to live your life, made me want to better mine. So after a month of watching you pull yourself back together, I went up to my parents. I told them I wanted to get better, that I would go on those drives and those walks.

You should have seen their faces Ryder! It was like their head would split into two with all the smiling they did! And that right their convinced me that I made the right decision and look how I healed! Thank you for giving me the power to understand that life wouldn’t just stop at one bad thing. That there would be good things after this.

But do you know why I hated speeding cars in the first place?

If I had just seen the car speeding towards Adrian, I don’t think it would have created such a strong phobia. Confused? Well let me come to my sixth confession then. I didn’t just see Adrian being hit by that car. That would not have made me suffer as much as I did.

Then why did it affect me so?

Because even though I wasn’t driving it, I was in the car Ryder.

 I was in the car that hit Adrian and killed him on spot.

Be strong.

With Love

Letter Friend

At the end, there was a photograph of a familiar car. The photograph had been taken at the car dump. Ryder knew that because that is exactly where he had seen this car himself, the car that had killed Adrian.