Letter from Hazel Lawley
Novemer 29, 1917
Note: letter is written in a shaky hand and parts of the text are obscured with smeared ink.
I smell the sea. The grayness of it. The hallway floor tilts like the deck of a ship and the black window shows only [ILLEGIBLE]when -
I cannot be rid of her.
When I close my eyes the world ceases to exist and there is only me, hovering in an airless, lightless void, where it is only my own strength that holds the pieces of reality in place, holding them with memory and will. Praying and desperate for stillness.
But there is always a current. There is always a pull and a push and an inexorable direction, and I cannot escape it. The pieces wash away from me.
I open my eyes, and what is real? Each time I blink I remake the world again and again, but it is only a fragmented recollection, a mockery of what was before. I know nothing! Each time a memory
is not a book. It will not retain its shape each time you open it. Even the most careful memories are molded.
[ILLEGIBLE] washing over me. And now I know what I felt, I know the source of the terror I felt that day. The most natural terror in the world. But I will not. I will not!
And I feel her in my bones. She is with me always now. Hello. I see you. But I do not understand. And you will not speak to me.
She wears my face and form and she has since the day I came into the world. I first saw her sitting at my vanity, and she turned to face me with the dried blood cracking on her chin. I waited for her to vanish. She is still here.
Sometimes when I lie in bed she sits beside me and takes my hand and her skin is so cold. Not cold like flesh, but cold like water, equal parts icy and burning like seawater on my throat.
She is the only real thing there is anymore. She is more real even than me.
Did you know this would happen? Was there nothing you could have done to preserve my ignorance? I know what you want, but it is not what I want. How I long for [ILLEGIBLE] but I know she is more than that.
My face. My hair. My clothes. My skin. My hands. As I was always meant to be. Unchanging, inevitable.
She is my culmination. And I must look at her.
It is not a fate I would wish on anyone.
For now, forever,