Dear Johnny,

I know I promised to write to you sooner but I got busy. After a month and bit in this place, I'm finally getting used to it. My teachers are ok. I'm going well in my classes but I don't have many friends and I ain't exactly popular here. I just spend most of my time in the library reading books. I just started 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. It's really good, you should read it.

I met this strange new girl in my English class. She looks about 13-14 but she's always got a strange, serious look on her face- she even looks strange. She had long white blonde hair and light brown eyes and pale skin. She came only a week ago and she sat next to me in my English class. I usually sit alone, as I said, I aint popular but I didn't mind her next to me. I thought I might be nice to her since she was new and everything so I said, "hi. My name's Ponyboy". She just stared at me as if I was speaking Chinese and didn't say a word. I didn't get offended, I mean, I don't much feel like talking to people sometimes too especially strangers. Anyway, I'm worried about Soda. He's not himself anymore. He's changed so much, I hardly recognise him from the way he acts. He doesn't eat or sleep or anything, only when I force him. He just sits with me in the library all day, while I read my books, staring at the wall and not talking. I think he's taking whats happening to Darry really bad. Darry's lawyer called us and told us that we might have to stand as witnesses for the trial. I said 'yes' of course but Darry doesn't want us to do it even though his lawyer thinks its a good idea. I don't know what he's afraid of.

You know, the other day, this girl came around to Soda while we were in the cafeteria and started flirting with him and trying to come onto him. He just sat there smiling at her but not saying anything like he was watching it happen to someone else. Then her boyfriend happens to walk by and sees them there so he goes crazy and starts picking a fight with Soda. Soda just sat there. He didn't even try to defend himself when the guy was punching him. It's like he wanted to get hurt. I don't understand it. He wont talk to me about anything. Just today Mary, the social worker, came here to talk to us about finding a proper home for each of us. Soda just went white and didn't say a word. Mary said there was a couple interested in maybe having a 13 year old so I might meet them tomorrow. I don't know what to do. I don't want to leave Soda, but I don't have much of a choice.

Tell two-bit that I heard about how he came to the home and threatened the guard so he could come in and see us. We're not allowed to have visitors, just like a prison. This place is no different from a prison.

Your friend