highway 167

Capitol Hill



August 25, 2014

Dear Niall,

Hi. I picked your name out of a hat.

Prof. Harward said I need to be your pen pal this year if I want my credits and I really fucking need my credits so here’s your first letter.

I guess I should start by introducing myself. My name’s Ayva. I’m just a typical nineteen year old college student. I live in a small apartment near campus with my friend Shacy. I enjoy pineapple floats and walking barefoot in freshly mowed grass. I can’t stand when people chew loudly and I believe that there’s no point in having a cup of coffee unless it’s got at least three shots of espresso in it.

That about sums me up. There’s really nothing that special about me and I hate when I have to introduce myself because I never have anything to say. I guess I haven’t had to make an introduction in a really long time. I don’t usually meet new people but Harward says that’s the point. Although I don’t get how this relates to Social Health and Diversity. I think she just wanted to brag about being friends with a professor in London.

And now were stuck together. Not that having to write a letter is horrible. It’s actually pretty nice taking a break from technology. I almost forgot what my handwriting looked like.

Wow I’m such a blast to have as a pen pal huh? I told you I wasn’t interesting.

Well, talk to you later.

Just kidding. People in my class are still writing and Harward keeps glancing at me because I’ve stopped so I guess I’ll tell you how my summer went.

I went to SoCal. I love California. It’s always so nice there. Have you ever been? I swear it never rains. Anyway, I went on a spur of the moment trip with my best friends. My friend Jack suggested it because my other friend Thad is going through a break up with this girl in Maine so we decided to go to get his mind off of it. He’s trying to play it off like it’s no big deal and that he’s fine but they were dating for a year and a half. I don’t care what he says, being with someone that long leaves a mark. And she just dumped him out of nowhere. Can you believe that? No explanation or anything. Heartless bitch.

Sorry, do you mind if I swear? I’m so used to doing it, I kind of forget that not everyone is comfortable hearing (reading?) those words. But yeah, we camped on the beach and did all of those touristy things. All my clothes smelled like campfire and sea salt but I didn’t mind, I kind of liked it actually. I took a picture with the Hollywood sign. Crossed it off my bucket list.

Ok, well the glares from Harward have stopped so I’ll talk to you later I guess.

Your pen pal,


September 1, 2014


Load of bullshit, this is eh? Prof. Wilkinson said that it’s all about learning what life across the pond is like. We could’ve just texted, it would have gone by a lot faster I reckon. But they’re old and I think they like torturing us because they had to wait days for responses when they were younger.

So yeah, me name’s Niall. I’m 21. I grew up in Ireland but I moved to London for uni. I don’t really know what I want to study yet so I’m just working on my gen eds. I’m guessing you are too because I don’t know many people who take Social Health for fun. I share a flat with my best mates Liam and Louis. I like to eat and I spend most of my weekends in pubs. I think coffee is great too but we hardly have it because Lou only buys tea and Liam only buys beer. Go figure huh? Hahaha

Uh, there’s not much else to say. I don’t quite know how to be an interesting pen pal but I guess we can both learn as we go, ya? No, I’ve never been to California. Sorry about your friend. I’ve never been in a relationship that’s lasted longer than two boxes of pizza so I don’t know what a real breakup must be like. I reckon it’s shit though. What else is on your list?

Don’t worry about swearing, I’ve got a bit of a dirty mouth meself.

Talk later,


P.S. Sorry if me handwritings shit. Hopefully you can read this.

September 8, 2014

Dear Niall,

What kind of name is Niall? I’ve never met anyone on this side of the world with that name. I’m not judging, I actually think it’s pretty cool. Unique.

Anyway, I guess I’ll tell you how my day went. Harward said if I have nothing to say then I should just let my pen do the talking so that’s what I”ll do. I woke up and found Shacy and Payson asleep on the couch again. I’m actually starting to get used to it now. At first it was kind of weird because they always have their arms wrapped around each other or Shacy’s head will be laying on his chest and they’ll look like a couple but they’re not. I mean they’re best friends so I guess it’s normal.

Then I tried to surprise them with omelettes for breakfast but I don’t really know how to cook because Shacy’s always the one that feeds us so I gave up before I burned our apartment down and made a coffee and bagel run instead. Your letter was in our mailbox this morning. It was actually pretty exciting. The only mail I ever get these days are bills or postcards from Andy whenever he takes impromptu trips around the world. So now I’m sitting in class, pretending to take notes but really I’m just passing the time by writing you this awesome letter.

Oh and the other day, Thad, Payson, and  I were on our way to Capitol Hill and Thad turned his music on and it was this sad, love song about waiting for someone and not giving up on them no matter the distance. It was so awkward in the car and I felt so bad for him, I almost wished a whole country wasn’t separating us from his ex so I could shave her head in her sleep.

I’m not crazy, I swear. Just passionate I guess. And Thad’s like my baby brother. I still haven’t seen him cry over her yet but I can feel it coming the same way you can sense a storm is about to break you know? Except I don’t think it’ll be a light sprinkling but more of a typhoon.

What’s Ireland like? I’ve never been but it’s on my list now. There are a lot of things on there. I feel like every time I cross something off, I write three more things that I want to do. I haven’t even made a dent yet but I guess I’ve got the rest of my life to finish it.

Sorry for the rambling. I’ll try to write less next time.

Talk to you soon,


P.S. Your handwritings not shit.  

September 15, 2014

Dear Ayva,

I’ve never met an Ayva before either so I guess we’re both one-of-a-kind ya?

Haha who’s Payson? They sound like a couple to me. I’m a cuddler meself but only when I have feelings for someone. I reckon if you brought it up, you’d find out they’re more than just friends. And I’m assuming Andy is another one of your friends? Who travels a lot?

What’s Capitol Hill? Sounds like something from an action movie. One of those where they kidnap the President and hold him for ransom while they threaten to blow up the whole nation. That’s never happened though has it? I would think the States have at least enough of their shit together to make sure the President never gets kidnapped.

You do sound a bit crazy. Just sayin.

Ireland is great. I love it honestly. It’s the best country in the world. I get quite homesick when I let myself sit down and actually think about it but thankfully Lee and Lou are really good about keeping me busy. We went out drinking again this weekend and they managed to get 15 shots in me in less than an hour. Being an Irishman I can handle me alcohol pretty well but this time I felt like I was going to die.

Give me some examples of things on your list. Maybe I’ll start one.

I like the rambling.

Yours truly,


September 21, 2014

Dear Niall,

Payson’s one of my other friends. He’s always over at our apartment, eating our food and making a mess but to be honest, I don’t mind. I like having him around. He’s funny and frank. I think the world needs more people who are like that. I never have to wonder how he really feels about anything. Well except for Shacy. I think you’re right. I think he does secretly love her but he just doesn’t want to admit it. We’ve all been really good friends since we were little so I guess it must scare him. But maybe he’ll confess one day. Who knows?

And yeah, Andy is another one. He’s into photography so sometimes he just disappears and a postcard from Italy will arrive in the mail. Sometimes it’s photos from Tokyo. We never really know what to expect from him. He’s hard to keep up with but he’s been my friend for ages so I’ve learned how to handle his disappearances.

Capitol Hill is my sanctuary. It’s a hike up a mountain behind my states capitol building. When you get to the top, you get a view of the whole valley. I like to go at night by myself sometimes because all the city lights are on and you can see Main Street lit up from the car headlights. Payson and I took Thad hoping he would talk to us about his ex. He’s been really distant and quiet lately. Not like himself at all and it’s starting to worry us. He wouldn’t spill though. I think he needs more time.

I’m not crazy.

Ireland sounds great. Maybe I’ll get to see it someday. I can’t believe you can drink that much though. All I can manage to get down is some rum and a couple glasses of wine. I’ve never been fully drunk, only slightly tipsy. I bet you had one hell of a hangover.

59) Hike up to a waterfall.

124) Try chocolate covered bacon.

167) Take Highway 1 from San Diego to Astoria, Oregon.

Have a good week,


September 29, 2014

Dear Ayva,

She’s friendzoned him huh? That’s shitty. No wonder why he’s scared to say anything. I bet he doesn’t want to ruin what they’ve got. Whatever that is. Louis is frank and funny too. A lot of people think he’s rude because he’s so blunt but the lads got a big heart. I guess they have that in common. So Andy just gets up and leaves? Sounds like a crazy lifestyle. Wish I could afford to travel that much.

That hill sounds nice. Must be great to have someplace you can go to get away. I go to the pub. Hahaha I must sound like an alcoholic but I’m not. I’d just rather drink than face whatever problem is going on. Oh god, maybe I am an alcoholic hahaha.

And you’ve never gotten pissed?!?! That amazes me. Oh, I guess drinking age is different there than it is here but still, you should experience it at least once. And yeah, I woke up the next day and it felt like I got hit by the Tube. It was downright horrid.

If you have to say you’re not crazy, you probably are.

You’ve inspired me to start me own bucket list. It seems like an ace idea so here it goes.

1) Find my own Capitol Hill (can’t be a pub).

2) Learn how to play the guitar.

3) Figure out what I want to do with my life.

Pretty good start eh? I reckon I’ll have as many as you some day. How many have you crossed off of yours by the way?

Hope you’re well,


October 8, 2014

Dear Ayva,

You still there?

I really want a good grade from Wilkinson. Do you have to show proof of your letters because we do? There’s this guy from my class, his name’s Harry and he says he and his pen pal write each other almost everyday and exchange knock knock jokes. He tried to tell me some today but he couldn’t even finish the jokes before he cracked up. He’s a funny bloke and he’s already gotten like, 15 letters.

I guess I’ll tell you about what’s been going on over here then. Liam threw a party the other night when I was trying to study. Normally, I wouldn’t mind because I can snag a couple beers and meet a couple cuties but for some reason I just wasn’t in the partying mood. There was this one girl who came though. I’ve never seen her around before and she was real pretty but she knew it, so that was a bit annoying.

Guess what! I’ve made some progress on my bucket list and found my own Capitol Hill. There’s a tall storage shed type thing behind our flat. It’s set up by a brick fence and I can kind of jump onto the wall and pull myself up so I can use it to walk onto the shed. I brought my books up there after the girl kept trying to sneak into my room and the music was getting too loud. It’s getting colder but it’s still nice to sit up there and be alone ya know? It doesn’t have as great a view as I’m guessing yours does but it looks out into a field. During the day you can see all the colors from the flowers and at night it’s absolutely pitch black. I think it’s my new favorite place.

How are Payson and Shacy? Did he bear his heart out yet? Has Thad gotten over his ex? Gotten anymore postcards from Andy? Hahaha you don’t have to tell me, I think they’re interesting is all. Anyway, I’ll talk to you later I guess.

Write back soon,


October 15, 2014

Dear Niall,

I’m so sorry! I’ve been slacking on my letters. It’s been an insane couple of days over here in my little section of the world but I’ll write an extra long one to make up for it, yeah?

I’ll start by answering your questions from your last letter. No, Payson hasn’t admitted to Shace that he’s absolutely in love with her but he did tell me and Andy last week. He’s absolutely smitten but he’s so bad at talking about his feelings. It looked like he was in physical pain every time he said her name. That’s true love if you ask me. So I guess he’s gonna stick to sleeping on our couch and trying to get over her. It’s a sad way to live don’t you think?

Thad’s not doing much better. He’s still listening to depressing music and taking trips up to Capitol Hill every night by himself. It was the last place he and his ex went when she came to visit last year. It’s hard to see him so upset and I’m trying the best I can to make sure he knows I’m here to talk. I just don’t know what to do about him. I wish I could tell him it gets better but that would be a lie. It took me a lot longer to get over a breakup so I think I’ll give him another month or two.

Andy’s actually stuck around lately. It’s surprising to be honest. I think he’s up to something though because he’s not around as much as he used to be. Like he’s here but he’s not actually here. Does that make sense?  

Ok, what else should I talk about? Oh yeah. Drinking age is twenty one over here but my friends and I have a few drinks on the weekends sometimes. Payson’s older brother throws these ridiculous parties and he doesn’t mind if we steal a few drinks as long as we don’t go overboard. Getting drunk is #26 on my bucket list. Maybe I’ll go a little crazy on Halloween and drink one too many. By the way, fun fact about me, I hate Halloween. I don’t know what it is about it, I just have a bad feeling about the holiday.

I’m surprised you actually wanted more than just a pretty face. Most guys would’ve gotten laid instead of running away. But I’m glad you found your little getaway. I think everyone should have a safe place to go. The field sounds nice. Do you ever go lay in it?

Your bucket list looks awesome. I’ve only crossed 62 of my things off. But I’ve got 331 altogether. Yeah, I’ve got a ways to go. Maybe I’ll add ‘figure out what to do with my life’ as well. Maybe we can figure it out together.

Call me crazy one more time and see what happens.



October 22, 2014

Dear Ayva,

Ahhhh you live! I was starting to get worried for a second there.

I called it didn’t I? He does have feelings for her! I wouldn’t let a girl fall asleep on me every night if I didn’t like her. Because 1) I hate waking up with a dead arm and 2) morning breath is absolutely disgusting. That’s too bad he won’t tell her though. I agree with you, it is a sad way to live. Seems like he’s wasting time.

Am I the only one who hasn’t gone through a breakup? What was yours like? Or is it rude for me to ask? Like I’ve said, I’ve never done this pen pal thing before so I don’t know what I’m supposed to do and not do or what to say and not say. But it’s not like we’re ever going to meet right? That’s something I keep in mind when I write back, it makes it easier to talk about everything.

Why do you hate Halloween? There’s got to be a story behind that. I mean, it’s free candy! How could anyone hate that! And yeah I wanted more than just some girl who knew she was all that. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of one night stands but I don’t know, maybe I want an actual relationship. It’d be a nice change. Look at me, getting all mature and domestic and shit.

No I’ve never laid in the field. There are probably snakes in it. Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean there aren’t evil things hiding in there right? And 62 is a lot to have crossed off. Mine isn’t even 62 things long but it is getting longer.

I made a new friend this week as well. It’s kind of a funny story because I wrote ‘meet someone new’ on me list and the same day, this guy Zayn walked up to me and offered me half of his sandwich. I said yes obviously because it’s food. Now we’re good friends. We’re actually in the same art class together too. Weird how the world works huh?

Cr… … aaaa. .  … zeee. Hahahaha talk to you soon. Is it silly that I look forward to your letters every week? Maybe but oh well, I’ve always been a bit silly.

Your pen pal,


October 28, 2014

Dear Niall,

Yes you did call it! For someone who’s never been in a relationship, you’re pretty good at figuring them out. And I’m just going to ignore the fact that I’ve never even met you and you asked me to talk about one of the most personal times in my life and tell you about why I hate Halloween instead.

When we were younger, I think I was thirteen or so, Andy convinced Jackson to dress up in these white canvas overalls with red paint splattered all over them. He had a chainsaw and wore this eerie Jason mask and on Halloween night, he followed me around the neighborhood while we were trick-or-treating. I didn’t even know until an hour after we started and I got so scared and ran so fast but he caught up and was holding the chainsaw above his head. I was so scared that I swung my pillowcase full of candy at him and he tripped and fell.

I’m still not over it and I will always hate Halloween because of that.

You want an actual relationship? They’re not that great. I’d take one night stands any day. But I guess everyone is different and if you’re into shattering your own heart than go for it! Haha I’m joking. But not really.

Anyway, Zayn sounds nice! And you got to cross something off your bucket list! Look at you go!

What did you just call me?

Talk to you later,


November 5, 2014

Dear Ayva,

I’m never going to understand why you hate relationships until you tell me about your break up. I’m relentless. I won’t stop until you tell me. You can trust me though. That’s what pen pals are for right?

Hahaha I wish I could’ve seen your face. I bet you were screaming and having a proper strop about it. And you hit him with your pillowcase?! That’s just rude.

I think it’s just a matter of finding the right person and trying to make it work. It doesn’t always have to end in heartbreak ya know.

I called you crazy. Loony. Insane. Take your pick, Ayva. :)

Sorry this letter is so short. Louis wants to go play footie at the park and whenever Louis wants something, he gets it. Talk later ya?

Your pal with the pen,


November 17, 2014

Dear Niall,

I’ve read and reread your letter a couple of times now, trying to figure out if I wanted to tell you about my break up or not because it’s a long story. A really long story and it’s a bit personal but I guess you’re right. We’ll never meet so if you decide to judge me, you would be doing it from across the world and I can probably live with that.

So here goes. Buckle up because it’s a bit wild.

I started dating this guy my sophomore year of high school. I was fifteen, he was sixteen. Everything was great and I was head over heels about him. We were complete opposites and I was naïve and thought life could be an actual Disney fairytale.

At the end of my junior year, my parents got a divorce and my mom moved to New York. She wanted me to go with but I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him and all of my friends. So I stayed. When my dad got remarried, I hated the stepmonster. I guess I caused too much trouble because my dad kicked me out that summer. I was just seventeen and I had nowhere to go. My own dad abandoned me and my boyfriend thought me moving in with him was a big step so I was practically homeless.

Thankfully, Thad offered to let me live at his house. Thad was an ‘oops’ baby. His parents had him twelve years after his other siblings so they were all moved out and had their own families so he was pretty much an only child and had the room to take me in.

My ex didn’t like that much. He was convinced there was something going on between me and Thad so he broke up with me. A couple of weeks after that, I found out he was sleeping with one of the cheerleaders at our school who he knew I hated. It really sucked, but I had my friends. Thad and Andy especially helped a lot. Andy threw a couple of punches after school and Thad made sure I got extra dessert after dinner each night. But I still regret giving him two years of my life.

So yeah. That’s a watered down version of my sob story. I haven’t seriously dated a guy ever since.

I’m starting to agree with you; maybe I am a bit crazy.

Sorry for ignoring half of your last letter. I would write more but I’m in public and reliving my high school years has got me a bit teary eyed and I don’t exactly want the strangers around me to see me cry. I’ll write more next time, yeah? I mean, if you want me to?

Talk to you soon,


November 24, 2014

Dear Ayva,

I don’t know what to say except, what a fucking wanker. Honestly he sounds like a total arse. I’m sorry that he treated you that way. It’s his loss though isn’t it? If it was me, I would have never done that. Is that weird to say? Probably but it’s true. You just sound like a great girl is all and I can’t believe anyone could do that to you.

Thanks for telling me your story though. It means a lot, really it does. Don’t let him have any more of your tears. He’s an absolute tosser and he doesn’t deserve them.

Ok, I’m gonna stop now because I doubt you wanna talk about it any longer and I’m making meself sound like an idiot. So anyway, Harry told me his pen pal stopped writing him the other day. He’s absolutely gutted. I think he relied on those knock knock jokes every week. Promise me you won’t flat out stop writing back? At least give me some warning or tell me if you don’t wanna talk anymore. I think I would go crazy if you just dropped off the face of the earth.

The lads have been throwing more parties as well. The same girl keeps coming back every time but I don’t even think she knows any of us because I was talking to her the other day and she had no clue who Liam was. And I asked Louis if he knew her name but he just kind of nodded and looked off into the distance.

With all the parties going on, I’ve started spending more time on the shed. That’s where I am right now actually. I write a lot of your letters up here. It just seems fitting because I wouldn’t have found this place without you right? I have to wear a jacket over my jumper but it’s still better than having to fend off that girls hands. I added more to my list as well.

8) Buy a segway.

13) Take a holiday to California.

19) Try ketchup chips.

I take it back, you’re not crazy, just passionate.



December 2, 2014

Dear Niall,

Thank you. For talking to me, I mean. I guess it was good to let it all out again and get some confirmation that he was a jerk. And I promise I’ll give you a heads up if I ever want to stop talking. I don’t think that’ll happen though because I look forward to your letters too.

You should give that girl a chance! She’s obviously interested or else she wouldn’t keep coming back. You never know, maybe she’ll end up being the girl of your dreams! Maybe you’ll even marry her one day and have a bunch of cute little Irish babies! One of us should get a successful love story don’t you think? Or maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic who hasn’t given up on Disney fairytales just yet.

So this week we found out that Jackson got accepted to Stanford for next spring! Isn’t that great? I’m trying to be really happy about it but Jackson and I have been best friends for almost ten years now and I don’t know what I’m gonna do without him. I mean, I know there are phones and Skype or whatever but it won’t be the same.

I’m really proud of him though. He wants to study to become a neurosurgeon. I think it’s because his mom died of a brain tumor when we were little. Is that too much information? I know you don’t really care about any of it but I just felt like I had to tell someone. I don’t want him to go. It’s so incredibly selfish of me but I can’t help it. I don’t want to lose him.

It’s all a bit bittersweet isn’t it? Growing up and all.

It’s getting cold over here as well. Dress warm and take care.



December 11, 2014

Dear Ayva,

I’m glad the feeling is mutual. Your letters are really the highlight of my life right now. Uni is so boring and I can hardly get meself to get out of bed and show up to my lessons. I’m excited to go home for the holidays though. I might not be able to write back while I’m away because you’ve only got me dorm address but I promise to write an extra long letter once I get back.

About the girl from the parties, I think I’ll pass. She got absolutely pissed yesterday night and fell asleep in my room while I was out on the shed. Can you believe that?! She just crawled under my covers and fell asleep! I had to sleep on the couch and in the morning she actually asked me to make her breakfast. This is a true fucking story. So no, I’ll pass. But I did kind of meet a girl I’m kind of, maybe, a tiny bit interested in.

Jackson was the one who suggested Cali in the first place right? That sucks that he’s leaving but hey, he’ll save a few lives. It’s not too much information. I love it. The honesty and everything. I don’t have many people I can be completely honest with but I’m glad you’re one of them. And I do care about it all. I love hearing about your life.

Yeah growing up does suck, but some people make it better don’t you think?

Yes mum. Just kidding, thanks for caring. You take care as well.

Lots of love,


December 20, 2014

Dear Niall,

You’re going back to Ireland?! Have a blast!! Tell me how it goes! Send pictures! I’ve just realized I have no idea what you look like. Not that it matters. I’m sorry it didn’t work out with party girl! Who’s the new lucky lady??

Sorry this letter is so short. I’ve just been so busy lately. Have a good holiday though! Merry Christmas (if that’s what you celebrate, I guess “Happy Holidays” is more politically correct) and Happy New Years!

I hope you get all the presents on your wish list and get kissed at midnight!

Your friend,


P.S. I’ve searched far and wide for these ketchup chips but I figured they would be the perfect Christmas present! Now you can cross it off your list. :)

December 29, 2014

Dear Niall,

Thank you for the postcard! Ireland looks so beautiful! And your family looks absolutely wonderful! Your nephew is so cute! He looks just like you! I don’t know if you got my last letter but I was just saying how funny it was that I had no idea what you looked like and now you’ve sent pictures. I guess great minds think alike!

A lot of things have been happening around here lately! Jackson’s leaving for Stanford tomorrow! Can you believe that?? We’re throwing a farewell/New Year’s party tonight at our apartment! I’ll tell you how it goes! Andy says he’s got some big news as well and Payson told me he’s going to kiss Shacy at midnight on New Years!

Life is moving so fast but I have a feeling this upcoming year is going to be a good one! I’m sorry for all the short letters but I’ll make it up to you! I promise!!

Talk to you soon.



December 30, 2014

Dear Niall,

I’ve done it! I’ve gotten drunk! I’m currently writing you this letter from Capitol Hill. I know I just wrote you last night but I have so much to tell you!

Andy told us all that he was moving to Dublin. He’s earned a teaching license and is going to teach English as a second language there. It was a total surprise; we didn’t even know he wanted to be a teacher! It makes me happy though you know? Maybe I can visit and maybe I can even see you. You can show me all your favorite places in Ireland and we can cross off a few things from our lists!

Payson wasn’t very happy though. He was beyond mad actually. He blew up at Andy. Payson didn’t take Jackson’s news well either. He hates the thought of all of us separating. Maybe it became a bit too much and maybe he feels like they’re abandoning him so they fought and Andy walked out. I’ll call them both tomorrow though. They probably just need some time to cool off.

But I can finally cross #26 off my list!! It feels so good out here! A bit cold but the alcohol is keeping me warm and I feel so free. The city lights are so pretty. This year is going to be so good Niall and I’m so happy that I’ve got you to tell everything to. You’re really great, you know that?  

I’ve thought about it again and I don’t think I want anyone else kissing you at midnight.



January 3, 2015

Dear Ayva,

Don’t worry, the girl I wanted to kiss wasn’t around so no midnight kiss for me.

But Happy New Years! Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?? I’ve just gotten back to not one, not two but three letters from you and a bag of ketchup chips!! Thank you for them, they were delicious! How did you find any?? I thought they were only available in Canada?

I’m glad you enjoyed the postcard! I thought it’d be funny to send but then me brother Greg suggested I send some pictures too. Hahaha and yeah I reckon Theo does look a bit like me. A lot of people think so too but I can’t even imagine having a kid at our age.


New girl?! Oh she’s great. I like her a lot to be honest. I just don’t know how to tell her which is mad because I tell her everything else. But anyways, how’s your year so far?? All three days of it?! And how did Shacy react?? Hahaha can’t wait to hear from you!



January 8, 2015

Dear Niall,

I wrote you three letters? I can’t even remember that! These past couple of days have been all blurred and hazy! No I don’t have any resolutions! I can hardly keep up with my list! What about you?? And yes, I might have pulled a couple of strings and gotten a shipment of them out here to a local store so that I could get you some but it’s not a big deal. :)

Is this real?! Like can I really come and hang out with you and meet Theo and the rest of your family?? That would be absolutely amazing Niall! I’m 100% planning on it! Maybe I’ll look at some flights soon, yeah?

Tell me about this girl!! Tell me please! I told you about my breakup remember?! It’s only fair!! Haha about Shacy and Payson, um, she didn’t react at all actually. He kissed her and she just stared at him. Before she could say anything, he stormed out. I talked to her after though and she said she was just in shock from happiness. She said she’d tell him the next time he came around, so I’m assuming they’ve already talked.

Jackson’s left for Stanford and Andy didn’t even come to watch the ball drop at New Year’s. He actually hasn’t been around at all lately but he’s probably just getting ready to go to Ireland. And I should probably be doing the same!! I’m so excited!

Talk to you soon (see you soon?),


January 14, 2015

Dear Ayva,

You don’t remember what you wrote in those letters?! Hahaha I reckon you’d be a bit embarrassed but it doesn’t matter because I loved them. I haven’t got any either! I’ve just been working on my list! I’ve added more to it.

29) Get my own place.

62) Go on a cruise to the Caribbean.

104) Fall in love.

Yes it’s real! Please come soon! I’ve already made a whole plan for us when you get here! I want to take you to my favorite restaurant and show you my Capitol Hill! Maybe we can even go lay out in the field! I’m guessing you’ll be here after the semester ends so the flowers will be blooming again and the grass will be nice and green. Just for you!

I’m not ready to talk about this girl! Plus I want to tell you in person! So just wait!!

Let me know how everything goes with those two. They already sound like an old married couple hahaha.

I know this letter is a bit short but Zayn wanted to go to this art gallery that just opened up and I promised I’d go with him. I’ll write more later!

Love you lots,


January 24, 2015

Dear Ayva,

I haven’t heard from you in a while. Are you alright? Write back soon, you’ve got me worried.



January 31, 2015

Dear Ayva,

I’m out on the shed again. I only come out when it’s dark now though. The flowers have all died and the snow’s taken over but it’s still a great sight I suppose. Why haven’t you written back? Have I said something wrong? Please, just let me know.



February 14, 2015

Dear Ayva,

Please just write me back. Please.



P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day

February 26, 2015

Dear Niall,

I’m sorry for my silence these past couple of weeks. I owe you an explanation. I guess I should start from the beginning and I want you to know the rest of my story.

When my parents announced their divorce during my junior year, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise. I saw it coming. It was obvious in all the little things they didn’t do anymore to show appreciation for each other and I was preparing myself for it. But it still hurt.

I guess no one really wants to believe their parents don’t love each other anymore, no matter how many signs they’re given. Wasn’t I made from the love that they felt for each other so many years ago? If that love disappeared, would I eventually disappear too? Was it my fault they stopped caring for one another? Did I push them over the edge by staying out too late and coming home tipsy one too many times?

After my parents dropped the divorce bomb, I went to school and acted like everything was normal. I showed up to class and raised my hand and answered all the questions perfectly. I went out to lunch with my friends and ordered my peppermint patty mocha with a triple shot of espresso without missing a beat just like I would have any other day. I might have smiled a little less and my laughs were probably shorter than usual but I was sure I had everyone fooled. And for the most part I did. No one had a clue.

No one but Andy.

He was at my doorstep approximately however many minutes it took him to leave at the end-of-school bell and drive to the nearest gas station to pick up Skittles, Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk and Kiwi Strawberry Snapples. When I opened my door and saw him, he held up his bag of ‘feel better’ arsenal, kicked his shoes off and made himself at home.

We didn’t talk. He didn’t ask any questions or make any jokes. He was just there. We sat on my couch and watched the first four disks of the eighth season of FRIENDS. And when a few tears escaped, he cuddled me into his chest and pushed another box of colorful candies my way, keeping his eyes on the tv to spare me the embarrassment of breaking down.

I still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember wanting to assure him that I was fine and nothing was wrong but stopped myself because being held by one of my best friends and having someone keep me company was so much better than pretending to be alright. I remember it dawning on me when he left after sunrise that he had ditched his date with one of the artsy hipster girls he was constantly hitting on to sit on a couch with me instead.

That whole time, we didn’t talk. I guess words no longer become necessary when someone knows you well enough. When someone’s life is so intricately woven into yours that you can tell how they’re feeling just by how they stare into space a little too long or by the way their laughs are quieter than they usually are.

That’s the only way I can describe how I knew something was wrong when Thad walked into our apartment a few weeks ago. I knew before I really knew. I knew before he even uttered anything about an accident and Andy being on the side of the impact.

I knew because I felt it. The same way Andy felt my need for him that day. We were so deeply connected by the strong threads of sharing our secrets, our dreams, our fears with each other but they were ripped apart, disconnected by death. I felt his absence. He was gone, and deep down, I wish I could’ve gone with him.

I thought I could call him later and tell him that I was proud of him for figuring out what he wanted to do with his life. I thought I could tell his kids about all the ridiculous adventures we’ve went on and he would tell mine about my embarrassing moments when we were younger. I thought I was going to be able to go to his wedding, not his funeral.

Everything is falling apart around me Niall. Shacy hardly gets out of bed anymore and I caught Thad with ecstasy yesterday. He’s quit school and his job and I don’t know how to fix him. Payson’s joined the Navy, he’s somewhere in Florida and I don’t think he’s coming back. Jackson’s at Stanford and he’s said that he plans on staying there because everything here reminds him of Andy. Everything here reminds me of Andy too.

I’m so overwhelmed. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’ve spent more time at the graveyard talking to Andy’s headstone than I have to people who are still alive. I told him about you. I think you guys could’ve been great friends. I told him about how much I care for you and that lately I think I might have even fallen in love with you. I don’t think he would’ve thought I was crazy. I think he would’ve been happy for me.

I wish I could’ve met you at least once. I just want to thank you for talking to me for these past months. Your letters are the only things that have kept me holding on but I realized something yesterday. I don’t want to anymore. My own father didn’t want me. I wasn’t good enough for the only boy I thought I’ve ever loved and now my friends, the only people who have kept me slightly sane, are breaking down.

I’m so sorry. The only thing I regret now is never getting the chance to be with you. Promise me you’ll try to cross off the rest of my list, yeah?  I love you, Niall.



March 1, 2015

Dear Ayva,

I love you too. I want you to know that ok? I do. I really do. I’ve wanted to tell you but I thought I was being crazy. But love isn’t always sane right? Sometimes it’s hard to explain and it’s hard to admit but you should just admit it because there’s no point in wasting time and not being with who you want to be with.

I’m so sorry to hear about Andy. God, why the fuck did this have to happen? I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel right now. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do.

I wish I could be there with you too. I wish I could make it all go away. I wish I could hold you while you cry and tell you that everything is going to be ok. I swear it will be. I’ll do everything I can to make sure you feel better soon.

Fuck. I’m sorry I don’t have more to say. Please just… wait for me? I’ll come to you. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do! I’ll get a ticket as soon as this semester ends and we can accomplish all the things on our lists, ya? I promise I’ll do all I can to make this year better. We can even go on that road trip up Highway 1. We can camp in the Redwoods and eat in small town diners. I’ll do all that with you. I’ll do anything for you.

I’m sorry Ayva. I’m so sorry about Andy. Just let me make it all better. I’ll make it all better. Don’t do anything rash. Just wait for me ok?



March 2, 2015

Dear Ayva,

I know I wrote you yesterday but I’ve just bought my ticket for tomorrow. I couldn’t wait til the end of the semester to meet you.



March 3, 2015

God damn it Ayva. Write me back. You can’t say what you said in your last letter and not write me back. I swear to god, you better be there waiting for me at the airport. My plane lands at 7 p.m. Terminal 6.

I love you Ayva.



March 3, 2015

Dear Ayva,

I’m here at Capitol Hill. Your Capitol Hill. You were right, it’s breathtaking up here.

I never thought I’d have to write two letters in one day but then again, I never thought I’d fly across the world to meet a pen pal either. I reckon we’re more than that now though aren’t we? Or at least we were. I don’t know, I’m still getting used to all the news.

Shacy met me at the airport. She opened my last couple of letters to you after you left and figured she should meet me so I wasn’t stranded. You didn’t tell her about us? That’s ok, I didn’t tell Louis or Liam either. I wanted to keep you to myself.

I met Thad too. He absolutely adored you, you know that? He thinks it’s his fault you’re gone. You were the one that found him using after all. He thinks it pushed you over the edge. But he’s going to quit, he wanted me to tell you that.

I’m mad at you Ayva. I’m so fucking mad at you. Why didn’t you wait for me? I could’ve made everything better. I have all of our letters now. I don’t know what to do with them. At first, I wanted to rip them apart and throw them away but this is all I have left of you. This, your list and a couple of pictures Shacy gave me. You were beautiful Ayva, so much more than just a pretty face.

Main Street is all lit up and I can’t stop thinking about you. I can feel you everywhere on this hill. You’re in the wind and the grass and the flowers that are just beginning to bloom again. There’s new life sprouting up everywhere but all I can think about is how yours ended.

I can’t write much right now. I’m making the ink run. I just want to sit here and imagine you’re right next to me. If I look right past the mountains and sit back a little, it feels like your hands resting on mine and if I close my eyes, it’s almost like you’re laying your cheek on my shoulder.

That’s the way it should be isn’t it? The way it would’ve been if you just waited? I’m still mad and I don’t know how long it will take me to stop being angry. Maybe never. It feels like the world gave me a glimpse of how happy I could’ve been before you took it all away. It’s not fair and I’m pissed Ayva.

But I still love you. I know I do. I always will.



December 31, 2015

Dear Ayva,

I don’t know where to begin. It’s been a while since I’ve written you a letter but I feel like this is the only way I can properly say goodbye. I know you won’t get this so I’ll just put it in the box with the rest of our letters when I’m done.

I guess I should start by telling you that what you did wasn’t ok. It’ll never be ok. It was so fucking selfish.  Everything you felt, how upset you were about what was going on, that frustration didn’t evaporate. It was just transferred from you to me and the rest of your friends.

Speaking of your friends, I’ve kept in touch with all of them. It just felt like the right thing to do. They’re the only living connection I have to you now and I couldn’t let them go. Payson did join the Navy by the way. But he’s only in the reserves and he came back over the summer. Him and Shacy have officially started dating and they’re happy.

I wish you could see them. They still fight like a married couple but now their fights end in kisses and dismissing themselves to bed. Thad’s doing a lot better too. It was a long couple of months but he’s not using anymore. He’s as clean as can be and I know you would’ve been proud. Jackson came to visit during the holidays. He’s in the top percentile in his class at Stanford but he’s still got a while to go before he graduates.

I went to visit Andy while I was there a couple of days ago too. I know I never met him but I think you were right, we could’ve been great friends. I didn’t know what to talk to him about so I talked about you. I told him about our lists. I’ve crossed some off of yours actually. Chocolate covered bacon is disgusting but learning how to play the guitar was fun.

I’m not mad anymore Ayva. I’m just numb. Empty. Even though we were only connected by letters, you were a big part of who I was becoming, of who I wanted to be and now that you’re gone, I feel lost and incomplete. I lose sleep thinking about what could’ve been if you had just stayed. And sometimes I think it’s my fault for not getting to you faster.

I hope you at least knew I loved you. Even if you didn’t read my letter, I hope you knew deep down how I felt because I’m sure a part of me will always want  you Ayva. A part of me will always wonder how different our lives could’ve been if you didn’t end yours.

It’s still not fair and it’s still not ok. But I still love you.