June 7, 1995


I am so tired. Worried, angry... but mostly exhausted.

When I got to the house, it was raining sheets, and my luggage and I were soaking wet in just the short dash to the porch. Bad enough, but I PANICKED when I saw your note. "I don't want anyone to know where I've gone" is not reassuring, not even if you also say "don't worry." Not ever, but especially not to big sisters.

And then the door was locked, and nobody answered my frantic banging on it, so, yeahh, panic. I was about to hurl Christmas Duck through a window! Thankfully I noticed the spare key as I picked him up. Sheesh.

For the next two hours (did I mention I got there at like 1 in the morning?) I stumbled around this unfamiliar house, dripping, worried sick, trying to piece together what had happened while I was gone, where you were-

Yes, you said not to dig. But I think you know that'd never dissuade me. I care about you too much! And when I finally found your journal, and its "read only if you're Katie" label, I knew that you knew, and hoped you'd know that I knew that you know

sorry. Tired.

I read your entries with my heart pounding. I cringed for you about everything at school, I got choked up for you and Lonnie, I wished I could've been to those shows (I bet they rocked!) But more than anything, I got more and more scared. Kids in situations like yours sometimes do worse than run away, you know?

If you hadn't caught that last call, would I have come back to

...no, I don't even want to think about it.

So it was a huge relief, like, no-the-baby-isn't-going-to-get-turned-into-a-goblin relief, when I read your last entry and learned you're still out there. And you've got Army tough, patriarchy-kickin' Lonnie looking out for you.

But now what do I do?

I love you. I miss you so much. And I am freaking out that you have no idea how, no way you can possibly know you'll keep that promise we'll see each other again—It's maybe like you felt when you thought Lonnie would be "just gone." But, in a sister way?

You offered your room, but that'd just be too weird right now. So the guest room it is. Shoved the boxes around, laid down, wrote you this letter that I have no clue how to deliver to you.

I don't know if I'll even be able to fall ash