The Letter Response."Tell me, Bralyn, why you got yourself into this mess," the chunky investigator asks.
I try to put my hands on the table, but they're cuffed behind the chair. "Because I was trying to save my sister."
"Will you please tell me everything that happened?" she asks, pressing 'record' on her tape.
"It all started May 30th, the last day of school..."
Finally, I was out of school. Not even the bumpy bus seat could have ruined my mood. No more school for two whole months.
"So, Bralyn..." Jeremy, a very annoying kid, tapped my head. "What're you doing this summer?"
"I'm sorry, Jeremy, but I don't think I need to tell you." I could have been nicer, but he was killing my mood.
"Sorry." He threw his hands up in surrender.
I let myself enjoy the wind coming in through the open window, swirling my light brown hair around my face. Even the yelling 7th graders couldn't have ruined this.
Finally, the bus came up to my house. It's big. And I mean big. You have to drive up the hill to get to my house. Huge brown stone, gaping garage, massive rooms. Everything I thought I ever wanted.
My dad was waiting in the golf cart to drive me up to the house. I grabbed my book bag and slung it onto my shoulders.
"Hi, Daddy!" I said. I sat down on the squishy seat and he drove up to the house.
"How was school, pumpkin?" he asked.
"It was just perfect! Kaitlyn brought in these really delicious cookies, and Jane invited me to a pool party!"
I walked inside, hung my bag on the hook, and made my way into the kitchen.
My mom was pouring lemonade in a glass. She set it in front of me.
"Thank you," I said. She nodded and kissed my forehead. I gulped down the lemonade and ran up to my room.
I practically flew inside. Sitting at my desk, I wrote a letter.
It's me again. Yeah, Bralyn Grace Jones. Anyways, today is the last day of school, and it couldn't be more amazing!
To the point of my letter, I would like to know some things. I want to know what it's like, on a different side. My life seems so perfect, so I want to know if you could show me.
I know you haven't responded, but I have a good feeling this time. So, write back when you can.
I sealed it in a white envelope, signed it, and ran outside. There was a creek behind my house, so I took the stick raft and set the letter on it. I pushed it away and watched as it floated down to whoever might read it. To be honest, I wasn't expecting a response.
I woke up, as every body does. I made my bed, because Mom would kill me if it was left unmade.
I got myself ready and walked down to the creek. To my surprise, the raft was back. And a letter was on it. It said "To Bralyn."
I unfolded it.
My name is Brooklyn. I hope you get this, because I'm lonely and I think that maybe you could make it better.
My life is anything but perfect. My foster parents are always yelling at me, hitting me, and sometimes my foster father tries to sleep with me.
You should be happy with your life. I wish I lived anywhere but here. This place is like Hell.
Maybe, if my foster family lets me, I could come visit? It would be nice to meet you. Please right back. And if you want, call me."
At the bottom was a phone number. My heart ached when I thought about how much it must have sucked to be her. I called her, right then.
It rang once. A man answered.
"Um..." I hesitated. "Is Brooklyn there?"
I had to lie. I just felt the need to lie.
"I'm a friend from school." Lied right through my teeth.
Shuffling. "Hello?" That time, it was a girl's voice.
"Is this Brooklyn?"
She paused. "Yes..."
"Hi, I'm Bralyn."
She laughed. "Oh my God, it made it back to you!"
"Yeah, so do you think you can come over so I can meet you?"
"Um..." I heard her asking something. The answer she got was something like, 'I don't care what the hell you do.' "Yes. Where do you live?"
"Well, I live right on Parson Road. But you must live near the creek, so maybe we can meet there?"
"Yeah, sure. I'll be there in 3 minutes."
I was so excited. The giddy anticipation that filled me was so enlightening, like I was flying.
I walked behind the tree and waited.
A girl with light brown hair jumped over the creek. She had on a black tank top and jean shorts. She had her head down.
"Hi!" I called. She was now a foot from me. She lifted her head.
And it was like I was staring into a mirror. Because she looked just like me.