Chapter OneDear Emily,
When you read this, I know you will be sitting in your favorite little floral armchair we bought you for your sixth birthday, because you never sit anywhere in the house to read. I bet no one else in New York has as many books as you do! I still remember the first book we ever got you. One week before you were born, your mom, Jack, and I went to the bookstore on plume st. (You know, the one Jack practically LIVED at all last year?) And instead of getting you a fairy tale, or a tiny baby book, we got you War And Peace, which you were reading at seven years old. I can conjure up your first grade teachers face when you brought it in for Read ‘n’ share!
Anyway, down to business. The reason you are sitting down reading right now is because of my sickness. When I was diagnosed, I told you over dinner at the Silver Platter, which, as you know, is the fanciest restaurant in our adorable little town. I know it pains you to listen to this again, but here me out.
I knew I had cancer before I got diagnosed. Three years before, in fact.
Do you remember when I went to that hospital in Pennsylvania? Well, the doctor, Mr. Brown, told me that I had only five more years to live. Of course I asked why, and he said that I had a special kind of sickness that is quite rare in America.It isn’t necessarily cancer, like I told you, Emily.
Any way, with this last bit of paper, I will give you a gift. Before I died, I wrote a note to you. On it has a special message that I hope you will understand and remember through all your years. My helper will mail them from a different address. I am so sorry for your sadness,my dear daughter.
Tears gently ran off my face as I slowly placed the note back in the envelope. I planned to place the note in a rock crevice near the small river we lived next to. My father showed me that small cave the last time I went to the river with me. My father… I choked back a sob as I stood up and ran out the small wooden doors to the yard. I ran and ran until I came to the cave. I huddled inside finally releasing the tears that I had been too shocked to release for a day and a half. I finally stopped crying long enough to start contemplating the letter. I took it out and starting reading it again. I took three deep breaths every time he mentioned something about me. Her father, ever the gentleman, wrote like one too. That may be why he was an english professor, and why he taught her how to read in pre-school. I was home schooled in second and third grade with her friend Madeline. In fourth grade I wasn’t nervous about going to school because I was smart and I had my friend in my class. The day before the first day of school, though, we got the call from Madeleine's parents that they were moving all the way to Los Angeles, California, and I had to start my fourth grade year with no one helping me or really even paying me any attention at all. I became the quiet, shy kid in the back of the class that knows all the answers but pretends not to.
I was all alone.