Natsume Takashi,

Truth be told, I avoided you for a long time. You seemed like an average teenager to me and I have been disappointed spending time getting to know people I have never been able to relate to. So, I want to start off by thanking you. Thank you for voicing all the feelings I have never been able to explain. Your calm, soothing presence helped me find a place where my sadness made sense.

We start molding our personality as children while our teenage years help cement them. Losing your parents and being forced to move from house-to-house because you were considered ‘unusual’ must have been hard. You were always by yourself, no place or people to call your own, always feeling like an outsider.

It was pretty sad wasn’t it? To watch all the other kids around you play and laugh while you sat in a corner and watched? Never being able to share your emotions or a lunchbox for that matter. Maybe in an alternative universe, we could have been friends. It would have been nice.

Our loneliness was never towering, for us, loneliness has always been like a drifting cloud, coming and going at its own whim, yet, never quite leaving us.

Things changed for you later though, you were taken in by a loving foster family who showed you kindness and, you said it yourself, didn’t you? That the more people try to be kind to you, the more terrified you become. Now that you have gotten a taste of what love actually feels like, you are terrified of losing it.

Our mutual anxiety is what makes you so relatable. I know what it feels like to be conscious of your every movement down to every single breath you draw from your lungs. To double-check every move because you are so scared that a single miscalculated step might shatter everything because that’s how fragile it all seems to you.

You never shared these anxieties with anyone because that would only serve to burden them and that’s the last thing you’d ever want to do. So, you stay quiet. You do not voice your feelings because you never know what could prompt them to leave you. So, you silently suffer and tell yourself that it’s all for the best.

Throughout the series you never gave any thought to your future because it was scary to imagine, wasn’t it? To imagine a future where you’re happy, loved, content; because deep down you cannot help but think that you are undeserving of it.

But Natsume, we are both beginning to change, aren’t we? We have found people we can fall back on, we are learning that it is okay to voice our feelings, to give them a name. We are both slowly beginning to heal. It is a long, painful process and the only reason we brave on is because of those fleeting moments of happiness. Moments where you are surrounded and bathed in love, days where you laugh till your insides cannot take anymore; treasured moments that make us want to stick around for a little while longer.

There will be a lot of sad days in the future as well and they might outnumber the happy ones but that’s all part of life’s unpredictability. Some days you will be able to ride out the waves, other days you might be left with salt-water lungs, gasping for air and that’s okay. You’re doing okay. We’re doing okay.

 

Regards,

Aasma Adnan.

 

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