I am so much better at expressing myself on paper, this is why I'm writing this to you. I just needed someone to talk to and I knew that you would understand. You've proved it to me so many times in the past months. What I'm about to write is really tough for me. There are so many things that I need to say that I hardly doubt I'll be able to write it all down. My hand (and my heart) is going to hurt way before that. But I'll do my best because you deserve to know. You confided in me after the funeral the other day, you told me about a very painful experience in your life and I think that I should repay you for this. So this is my painful experience.

My parents gave me a very beautiful life before they disappeared. We were somewhat rich, I'd say, but our happiness really laid beyond our money. They sent my brother and I to private school, they bought us a lot of stuff but Russ and I knew that our parents truly loved us no matter what and that they weren't just trying to buy our love.

You already know that they disappeared when I was 15 and you know that it devastated me. More than devastated me, actually, it traumatized me and scarred me for life. I had been really confident before my parents disappeared, confident in myself and in others. But when they disappeared, I felt like I had lost a part of myself and I didn't know who I was anymore. The social services put me in the foster system because they didn't have anywhere else to put me (my only alive relative was at that time incapable of taking care of me). My brother was already an adult so he only went out West to work and left me all alone here.

Being put in the foster system and being bounced from family to family made me feel like I didn't belong anywhere on this planet. Hell, in the galaxy! The first months were horrible. You remember what Shawn Cook said about the regular kids knowing you're a foster kid? It's true. I remember the first time I walked in my new school after my parents' disappearance. All the kids whispered to each other as I walked down the hall. It was horrible. Somehow they had found out about me. Then again, my parents' case had been all over the news so I shouldn't have been too surprised. It turns out, though, that it had been my foster sister who had squealed on me. She had told her friends, who had told others, that my parents had left me and my brother because they just didn't love us anymore. Kids would stop me in the hallways to ask me if it was true. I'd assured them that it wasn't but they just didn't believe me.

I didn't stay with this family very long though and I got sent, three months later, to another family. I was an only child there and I felt rather lonely. That's when I became more interested in books than in making friends. My foster parents were nice. They took care of me like I was their own daughter. My foster mother even let me call her Mom. But the social worker had told us that it was only a temporary thing, that they were really trying to find me a family but that there just wasn't any.

I spent six months with them before being shipped out of Washington to a small city in Maryland. I hated that family. They were truly cruel. They had three other children excluding me and abused one of them. Her name was Cassidy and she was only four years old. She had never known a real family, she truly had been bounced from place to place and finally, when she thought that she had finally found someone to love her, they would hit her and yell at her. My foster parents sort of abused me too when I think about it today. They called me stupid, made me doubt my intelligence and said that I was no good and that it wasn't surprising that my parents had abandoned me. Again, the kids at school were cruel to me. The teachers tried to do something, at least I think, but nothing worked. I felt so alone. I felt like there was no place in this world that I truly belonged to and it was horrible.

One night I had enough and I ran away from home. I hitchhiked back to Washington and went to see my grandfather, hoping that he was doing better and that he would be able to take care of me. Fortunately for me, he had enough strength to fight for me and the day I turned 17, he got full custody of me.

He died just before I got in to university. It really hit me hard since it was now official, I had no family left. I felt like a lost soul but, a couple of days before my first day of school, I made a decision: I decided that I was going to be strong. I tried to rebuild myself and my confidence from scratch. It took a while but I finally made it.

And I thought I had succeeded until you came along. You broke practically every barrier I had ever put up and the worst part is that I let you. Now I'm left with this shattered confidence and I feel... weak. Weak and terrified just like I had been the first day of kindergarten. Remember that first day when you examined your surroundings and everything just felt so much bigger and taller than you? Remember when adults seemed more like giants than regular size people? Ever since you came into my life and shattered my so-called confidence, this is how I have been mostly feeling. I just never showed it.

My heart aches so much, it's unbearable. Have you ever been in so much pain emotionally that it hurts when you breathe? If it has ever happened to you then you how I feel at the moment. Every breath I take is painful and I just sigh instead of breathing. It just feels so much easier, like it takes less strength to sigh than to breath normally. Even talking seems to take a whole lot of energy and I feel like I need to take a deep breath before I do. Why is it, Booth? How come it hurts so much? I really thought I was doing better, that I was over everything that had happened in my past but today I realize that I was just fooling myself. I realize that I haven't done such a good job at rebuilding myself, that I left out some important parts and that now I'm falling apart. But what can you expect? I just did the best that I could, Booth, I really did. Why doesn't anybody see this?

I know you probably don't have the answers to my questions and I don't expect you to answer them either. You just opened up to me so much that I just had to do the same thing. I just hope now you don't think I'm crazy.

I should get to bed. It's pretty late and I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. Good night.

Your partner,

Temperance