A Letter from F.
Loosely attached to Notebook #4
I know it's been like five years. And I know it's inexcusable for me to not have been in touch since. I reached out to E. and K. sometimes. I've heard through them that you're all doing fine. I know that A. has settled into the life he was always meant to live, and everyone else was scattered to the winds. I think that's how it was always meant to be. We couldn't have stayed in the city. To me, at least, it was always a disappointment. The people who seemed so fascinating in our university years eventually settled for a sixth-floor apartment and an ad agency job, didn't they. Everyone got off on the last stop, with no warning. It's too small a town to live freely in. Those who didn't settle had flaws so deep that they were prevented from catching even the last train to normalcy; or, they stayed behind out of a misguided sense of pride, resigned to a dark and bitter life. You'll notice that the former are always pining for a partner to forgive all their shortcomings, while the latter are always looking to leave.
As for me, I wouldn't say I've been happier since I left town, but I would say I've felt imbued with a greater sense of purpose. Even if I'm not sure what that purpose is. Maybe it's just been all the traveling that's kept me busy. Colonial little islands on the Caribbean, sun-baked towns in North Africa, a season in Manchester as well. I leap at the first employment opportunity that comes with a plane ticket attached. You should see my resume; you couldn't make heads or tails of it. But something always comes up eventually. I'm not naive enough to think that this has nothing to do with the influence of my father; always there, even when it's not. But I'm done carrying that cross. Instead I'm teaching, learning, shooting, editing, sleeping on friends' couches and middle-of-nowhere motels. I hope you get to experience this at some point, too.
I never understood why you chose to stay behind, of all people. I know you don't like to talk about money, but I'm sure you would've been able to leave if you wanted to. I understand A.; he's like a fish in water over there. Why would he leave? I'll always be fond of him, but he's not like us in that sense. You, though, had the most reasons and the best credentials. But you always brushed aside all inquiries, and I think most of the group assumed that you were having family issues, or something of the sort. But I have to be honest with you: I knew it wasn't that. Ever since you told me about your father, the Clan, and the rest, it was easy to put it all together.
I want you to know that you're not bound to that city forever. I worry about you because you seem to think otherwise. The underground galleries, the secret bars, the abandoned housing complexes and anonymous hallways. It doesn't have to be your life. Please, if you need help just tell me. I was so ambivalent about reaching out for years, and today I regret it. I should have sent this letter long ago, but now it's in your hands. Don't let it consume you. You can still do it differently.