Time in Willow Creek: 11 months, 3 weeks, 6 days
(Translated for your understanding)
So much has changed since I last wrote. Gosh! I just realized that was seven months ago! First, let me follow-up on your last instructions. I read your words to Harriett, and she cried. She hugged me and told me to tell you that she is doing everything she can to make sure I stay well and am prepared for the world. She really does, mama. We don’t have lessons every day like we used to, but she tries to make everything a learning experience whether we are at home or out at a restaurant. Although I don’t feel I’m ready to be on my own right now, I feel a lot more prepared than I did when I wrote you.
Oh! I’m not afraid of Mr. Humphries anymore! He doesn’t talk much, but he is nice. I found a piano in their storage building in the backyard, and I played it. He found me, and I thought he was mad. But, he wasn’t. It’s strange though. Ever since he found me in there, he’s been different. Every now and then he plays the piano too. I feel like there was something that made him sad before, but the piano made it go away or something. I don’t ask many questions. It’s hard enough listening to them in normal conversations and figuring out what they mean with their funny words and way of talking. They sound nothing like those people on Simlish channels at home. I suppose every language has different accents. Anyway, I like Harold, but there’s something going on between him and Hillary. They don’t speak much, and she doesn’t talk about him at all. Sometimes they’ll have a short, cordial conversation, but other times he’s not very happy with her. Sometimes when she comes home late, he gives her the evil eye. And then one time he yelled her in front of everyone! I didn’t understand exactly what he said, but I think it has to do with her relationships. Kind of like a warning. I don’t know anything about her dating life, but I don’t think her parents are very happy with it. Between him warning her and Harriett always suggesting she go out with Jase, I get the feeling that maybe she’s not making good choices. It’s hard to know what’s appropriate for me to ask.
Speaking of Hillary, she’s not been herself lately. Ever since the day Harold yelled at her, she’s been sad. She stays in her room all the time, and sometimes I hear her crying. I want to ask her what’s bothering her, but Harriett blocks me. She keeps me so busy, I don’t even see her anymore except at dinner. We started going to the library early in the mornings again, and we stay there all day. When we get home, she wants me to help with dinner. I suppose she assumes I can’t cook. It’s ok. I won’t burst her bubble. 🙂 At dinner, Hillary is quiet. After we eat, she goes back up to her room, and Harriett and I clean up the kitchen. Then we do laundry (they have fancy washer and dryer!!) or polish silver or dust furniture. I do not mind helping. In fact, I love it. I don’t have many ways to show them that I appreciate their kindness. But this sudden interest in making me do chores began when Hillary started to be sad. It’s a very interesting coincidence. I suppose soon I’ll find out what’s going on.
Harriett threw me a wonderful birthday party! I felt like royalty just like I did with you. She cooked a huge feast and invited all of the family members, and I invited my friends. I wasn’t expecting her to do so much in such a short time. She asked me out of blue when my birthday was. I suppose she was thinking about how it was coming up on a year since I’ve been here and probably thought she missed it. Oddly enough, it was three days later. I should be used to it by now, but it warms me up inside so much when I think about how much everyone cares about me here. I don’t know what I do to deserve so much favor.
Speaking of favor, I have my own friends now! I love Hillary, but we’re not interested in the same things. I tried to get her to paint a couple of times, but she won’t even try. She assumes she’ll be bad at it. I met this man named Kevin long time ago–like maybe a month after I got here. We were in the same place looking at art, and he started a conversation with me. He actually knows Monte Vista! Anyway, months later–maybe the same week I wrote you–we ran into each other quite a few times. We began to talk, and when he found out how much I love art, he told me about an art club he used to attend. We’ve been going there a few times a week ever since and have developed a very good friendship. The other people in the art club are Paul, Coleen, and Cameron. There used to be a woman named Selina, but she dropped out. Oh mama, I have to tell you what happened! Me, Hillary, Kevin, and Selina went to a party one night, and Selina was so mean to me. She pushed me and insulted me for no reason. The next day she announced she wasn’t returning. At first, I let it bother me. I didn’t have the right attitude, and I was glad that she was gone. But, then I thought about how strange it was. I’m not lying when I say there was absolutely no reason for her to treat me that way. I was going to let it go, but then I thought about one of the lessons you taught when I was little. Remember you said kill them with kindness? I decided to give it a shot because whatever was bothering her clearly had to do with her and not me. So, I invited her to my birthday party. I didn’t think she would come because it was last-minute and I thought she didn’t like me, but she came. At first, she was very stoic and didn’t say anything to me. But, by the end of the night, she was smiling. I don’t really know what changed, but I was glad to see her happy. Just yesterday, she called me! She invited me to go to this art place with her! It was very strange, but I went. We painted a mural! I’ll have to get Kevin to show me how to get the pictures from my phone to the computer so I can print it for you. Anyway, it took all afternoon to do. Afterward, we sat and talked. Guess what we talked about. She apologized to me! I thought to myself, mama was right!
This letter is getting so long, and I haven’t even told you about Kevin yet. Ok, I was debating on whether I should share this with you or not, but I will. I know you, and eventually you’ll ask. 😛 Yes, I like Kevin. Hillary says he likes me too, and I get that feeling sometimes, but he and I discussed it and we both agreed that remaining friends is best. I don’t even know for sure if he liked me. I think he would tell me if he did. Anyway, feel free to tell all the aunts and uncles, my old friends, and anyone who asks there is no wedding in my immediate future, and I am perfectly fine with that. 🙂 Kevin is great–and not because he’s beautiful and I like him. He’s a good listener. I wish you could see his facial expressions when I tell him stories. And he’s patient with me when I talk. That’s very important. I think sometimes Hillary assumes that it’s too hard for me to speak Simlish so she speaks for me. It doesn’t bother me, but it doesn’t help either. Anyway, he’s a very supportive person. It seems that whatever I’m interested in, he wants to help me accomplish it. And, he’s always very complimentary of me. It’s never in an alluring way. It’s encouraging. He makes me feel confident, and I for sure could use a lot of that. I’ve learned so much, but still sometimes it’s hard. Like, a lot of times I want to say something, but I can never say it exactly the way I want to say it if I can even think of the words to say it. Sometimes I’d rather not talk at all because I’m frustrated or don’t feel like trying. I bet you’re surprised to hear that seeing as how I’m not usually so quiet. Not talking so much gives me a lot of things to think about. I observe more too. Anyway, Kevin gives me confidence. He also buys me cool gifts! He has a lot of money, but he’s not like the rich people at home who are rude, stingy, and snobbish. He’s very generous. For my birthday, he got me a really nice easel and a matching cabinet to store my brushes and paints. And, when he can’t drive me to the art club, he pays for the taxi to pick me up. And just this week, he got me the most wonderful, unexpected gift! I have my very own computer now! I am so excited. I don’t know what to do with it except type letters to you. As you can see, I’ve been learning how to type. It took me nearly all day to type this. I have to be the slowest typist in all of Willow Creek. I feel so western now. Next thing you know I’ll be saying “y’all” just like them. 🙂 I’m kidding, of course, but I do feel like this is a huge step for me. Oh! I almost forgot. Kevin bought me a book of stamps to send to you so you don’t have to worry about finding money for postage…so, you should be able to reply very quickly. 🙂
I love you, mama. I wish I knew how to type the accents on the A’s, but they don’t write that way here so it’s probably a lot harder than it should be. Anyway, I still think about you every day. Can you send me a picture of you? Even if it’s an old one from one of the albums. I want to see your face. I miss you!