A week later
This letter must be a surprise. Why would I ever want to write to that place ever again, or to someone who there resides? Good question. There is no logical answer to it, but I was never a person to think with the head, although I did try. I believe I think with my heart, and Anna, even though in times you were just like them (and by them I mean the people I used to call my friends, the ones who told you I was betraying them, the ones who made me feel less of myself because I was solely in love with someone they didn’t approve), you have changed, and you deserve a proper goodbye letter.
I am going straight to the point: what they told about me, it’s all true. I have been keeping my origins a secret since day one. The only person who discovered my secret was Harry. He found out on his own, I didn’t tell him in free will, and that moment marked me. You can understand why I didn’t want him to know who I really was; you just have to look around you to see what I most feared. Now I can say with all my confidence that I fell in love with Harry that precise moment, the moment when he accepted me for who I was. I didn’t have to lie to him anymore, I was free.
I don’t want to lie anymore. Lying traps us, it confines us. I lied in the hopes of fitting in, but it only made the exact opposite. Having said that, here is the whole story, the way I should have introduced myself the second I arrived at Hudson:
I was born in a dingy neighbourhood (and I do believe that this is the cause of everything. After all, if I was born somewhere else, somewhere with more money, I am sure nothing of this would have happened). My parents had always been very poor, they still are. They always tried to make me feel like the other children I went to school with by polishing my shoes every day and braiding my hair to hide my lack of showers, but I knew I wasn’t like my friends despite all my parent’s efforts. My friends had nice clothes and new backpacks every year while I wasn’t able to even afford a bicycle to go to school. I came to the conclusion that my parents didn’t want me to invite anyone to my house because they were ashamed to receive my friend’s parents at their doorstep. Every September when my friends came back from holidays they would always tell amazing stories of their vacations, and all I could do was listen and imagine myself in their place. I almost never went on school trips because I couldn’t afford them. I never failed a test though, proving that field trips actually never teach us anything.
Despite all this, nobody judged me for who I was, nobody avoided me or made fun of me. I blame this on our age, because after all I was only eight years old and so were my friends, and at that age it is impossible to have malice in one’s heart, but as I grew up and discovered the harshness of life, so did everyone else, and people started to become cruel.
I hope I never was that to you or anyone else, cruel I mean. Call me whatever you want, repeat their words if it suits you, but never call me cruel.
What Hudson has been teaching you, Anna, is all wrong. I am not referring to your studies, but everything else, which in all honesty I believe is what will shape you into a complete human being. I know this realisation is difficult, especially because we are barely adults being guided by the elders in this massive and endless sea we call life, but you need to understand that the people you thought had the answer are wrong. They are wrong. The sadder and scariest part is that they don’t even realise that they are wrong themselves. They will never leave that course they are on, which can only lead to tragedy, but you can, you can still change your mindset, you can still care for people independently of their wealth, their background, their way of thinking. Open your eyes. What do you see around you? Those people I used to call my friends can’t see past fortune and social status, putting everyone that is not as wealthy as them down. That’s not how we should live, closed-minded and obstinate. What happened to me just shows the consequences of being so.
Now that you know my story, I should tell you where I am heading. I am going with Harry to Germany, more specifically to the city of Bonn. This might be confusing to you, but I intend to make it clearer. To do so I have to go back two years ago, more specifically to the day Harry arrived at Hudson. I wasn’t there to watch it, so I have no right or knowledge to narrate the scene to you in my own sugar-coated and biased words (taking into consideration that you were there and saw his actions with your own eyes). Nevertheless, all the terror and violence he caused had a reason. He was sent to Hudson because his mother went to Germany to get an experimental treatment for Lymphoma, which I assume you know is a specific type of cancer. All the treatments she received in England were ineffective, and this treatment in Germany was a long shot, so there wasn’t much hope since the beginning, but it was the only option if she wanted to live. To make it worse, Harry’s mother didn’t want him to go with her, simply because she didn’t want him to see her suffer. I think it is also important to mention that Harry’s father died in the Vietnam war when he was still a baby, just in case if you ask yourself why he couldn’t stay with his father. Curious the things you find out when you just take the time to love someone without judging them.
You must understand Anna, he only acted the way he did because he was revolted. Most of us are sad the first couple of months at Hudson, thinking that our parents don’t want us to be around, that they abandoned us, but with Harry it was much worse; he felt powerless, he was scared all the time of receiving news that his mum had passed away. On top of that, he felt embarrassed, so that’s why he never told anyone this secret that was eating his soul bit by bit every day. He was just like me if you think about it, and if you want to tell Anthony the reason why we fell in love, tell him this: we are both embarrassed people with big secrets.
Harry told me all this when he received the news that the experimental treatment in Germany was solely keeping his mother alive, not necessarily curing her. In others words, she is terminal, she is going to die, there is nothing anyone can do. The most expensive cancer treatment in the world did not cure her Anna, and that is why we are going to Germany right now so that Harry can say goodbye.
At first, Harry didn’t want to leave. This might come as a surprise since all he ever wanted in the past two years was to leave Hudson, but now he had something he didn’t want to lose, me. I told him to go. Hell, I demanded that he left that same second, but he had made up his mind, he wasn’t going to leave me there, with all of you. I told him I could go with him since he didn’t want to leave me behind, but he also denied that request; I had a future ahead of me, and if I ran away from school I would miss my exams, I would miss Form 12, I would miss graduation. I felt so mad at his reasons, simply because he was right. I couldn’t just leave like that. What would my parents say? What would Mr Hansen say? Would he call the police? Would I ever be able to catch up with my studies? Where would I go after Harry’s mum passed away? Would I go to University? Would I come back to England to my old house, stay in Germany? What would happen to Harry and I?
My future now will consist of solving these questions, and I may not know what is going to happen, but I’m on my way.
What triggered me to leave is obvious. My worst nightmare become a reality, and suddenly I didn’t just feel the need to leave solely because of Harry, I wanted to leave because I had a reason of my own. By the time Anthony told my secret to everyone I had two very strong reasons to depart to Germany, and even though I was completely terrified of the future - still am - I had to do it, I had to leave.
I don’t think I ever told you, but I am very proud of you. You didn’t go with the current, you thought with your own head and heart, and you were kind to me when nobody was. I don’t know what is happening at Hudson right now, and to be honest I don’t want to know, but if everything is like I left it, if they are all still narrow-minded, egocentric rich kids, then I wish you the best of luck in surviving there. If you feel too lonely because they are choosing to ignore you due to your kind heart, swear to me that you won’t change your mind or your heart just to fit in, don’t go back with your righteous words just for the sake of being accepted. Don’t do it. It would be a waste of a heart, a brain, and a friend. If the urge it too great, I advise you to seek help from Nurse Marion. She was Harry’s anchor in a way, and so was mine. If she ever comes to ask for me and Harry, please do not hesitate in telling her the truth, and if you want, show her this letter if you may.
P.S: Don’t reply to this letter, for the address where this letter came from is now longer where I am staying. Harry and I are constantly on the move; we are literally racing against time. I sent an exact letter to my parents, and they are conscious that the only person at Hudson that knows about this is you. If they ever try to contact you don’t be surprised. As for Mr Hansen, he knows everything, don’t bother telling him about this letter.
P.P.S: Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring with me the red bicycle Harry gave me. Since I don’t intend on ever going back there again, you can have it.
“Is that all there is?” he asked me in a severe voice.
“Yes Mr Hansen, nothing else,” I answered. I was inside his office, my letter in his hand. I didn’t tell him about the letter, he simply found out by himself. Apparently, Mr Hansen got a copy of all the letters that enter Hudson, with the name of the sender and receiver. As soon as he found out Summer had sent me a letter, he called me immediately to his office, demanding to read it. I couldn’t protest, even though it was my biggest wish.
He was furious. That entire week he had been in a constant state of fury. It all started when Amanda and Anthony went to his office to tell him that Summer was poor. As far as I had been told, he simply asked them to leave his office very calmly, leaving everyone confused. In my opinion, it was so incredibly stupid to go tell him such thing, but since I was in complete shock that morning, I couldn’t even ask them to stop.
“I don’t want you to say a word about this, you hear me young lady?” he warned severely, handing me the letter after scanning it one last time, checking if it had anything written on it that he might’ve missed.
“Yes Sir,” I said monotonously, bowing my head. He turned his back to me, running his fingers through his grizzly hair.
“Damn it!” he groaned under his breath. He then turned abruptly to look at me. I could feel his nerves from across the room. “If you receive any other letter from any of them, give it to me immediately.”
“Yes, Sir,” I responded again in the same tone.
“You can leave,” He gestured towards the door, signalling me to leave.
“Mr Hansen,” I dared to speak “Did you know that Harry’s mother was sick?”
There was a long pause and then he simply answered without raising his voice: “Leave. Now.”
And with that I was out of there, leaving more confused than when I had entered. But that didn’t matter, nothing mattered really. She was free, he was free, and I… Well, I was working on that.