Father, brother, nanny, friend. N, you are everything I know. I don’t remember ever being without you. When I read, it’s your voice I hear saying each word. It’s been that way since I began to read. Don’t you remember? I was abysmally slow to learn, and could barely stutter each word. You saved me from my own ineptitude by reading everything to me in your perfect accent. Velvety, smooth, never hesitating. Can you blame me that I love to read, if only to hear your voice?

When I’m alone, up too late, delirious, you’re the one that chides me. If I ever think I’m good at anything, it’s your indulgent smile that says “yes darling, but remember there are many others far better than you.” If I falter and doubt myself, you remind me I’m still better than anyone you’ve actually met. It’s you, it’s always you. Only you. You’re the only one I can count on to tell me the truth, no matter how dark. And if I want to fall apart and have a fit, you know which room to set me in. “Stay here, distract yourself. I’ll be back when you can be reasonable again.” Every room in my memory palace was designed by your brilliance to suit my rages and tantrums. On the brink of many a mistake you’ve whispered “No, you mustn’t” and saved me.

How can I ever repay you for teaching me how to somewhat resemble a real human being? Name anything, N, and it’s yours. I’m yours. But maybe to you, old boy, that sounds like a tiresome threat. And, of course, you’ve known it all along.

You may not be real, darling, but you’re better than that; you’re perfect. I guess I must have just imagined you.

(Disclaimer: This is part of the letter series)

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