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Dear Jack,


Monday. The weekend was officially over and another week of education is set to begin. The early light of the sunrise was beginning to creep in through the closed blinds, illuminating everything within the room in a warm, orange glow. The neon red digits of the alarm clock flickered to read 6:00. Within the past eight hours, I had managed to achieve a grand total of one hour sleep, maybe not even that. Stifling a loud yawn, I force myself to sit up and take a moment to look around me. In the past thirteen years that I've lived in this house, nothing has really changed. All of my old posters still covered a majority of the walls, ranging from comic book heroes such as Batman to legendary bands like Green Day and Blink 182. A classic old acoustic guitar was leant up in the far corner, tucked away next to the old polished wardrobe, which was currently overflowing with skinny jeans, band shirts and of course, converse shoes.

Letting out a small sigh, I throw the warm bed covers off of my petite body, the cool air that was hanging around the room caused my body to shiver as I made my way over to the wardrobe and began to rifle through its contents in a search for an appropriate outfit for the days event. After throwing about twenty of the same clothes aside, I settled on a light blue plaid shirt, a white tee to throw on underneath it, black skinny jeans and my favourite, not to mention well worn, black converse. Placing the clothess on the unmade bed, I went into the little ensuite for a shower before getting dressed and shoving whatever books that I would need for the day in my backpack before heading out of my room.

The upstairs landing was an entirely different contrast to my room in many ways. Where my room was covered in posters and had a lot of things strewn about the place, the landing was neat and pristine clean. The walls were a faded yellow colour, the wooden flooring spotless and the framed photos were so straight, it was hard to tell if they had ever been a tiny decimal out of place. That's Grandma Gaskarth though, she likes to keep things neat and tidy; except my room - according to her, its my own personal space and a young boy must do with it what he wills in order to find success. I'm not totally sure how an unkept room is going to help me find success but...at least it's private and I'm not likely to be disturbed.

Stepping into the living room, I greeted my Grandma with a little wave before heading into the spacious kitchen to make a start on the pancakes that she had laid out on the countertop for me. I knew not to interrupt my Grandma when she was watching the early morning news channel and I also knew that when she had caught all the main headlines, she'd come into the kitchen to make sure I've finished my breakfast and ask me what my plan for the day was; just like every other morning. This moment is as close as it comes to being a normal family nowadays, I'll take what I can get as I know for a fact that its not going to get any better than this. Not now.

"Good morning, dear." Grandma announces sweetly, smiling at me in the characteristically Gaskarth way as she steps into the kitchen, humming softly to herself as she starts to fill the sink up with warm, soapy water. "I tell you, those news stories get worse and worse with each day that passes."

"Good morning, Grandma." I greet back quietly, a small smile making its way onto my face as I follow her movements. For a woman who's fast approaching her seventieth birthday, she's still as active as any forty year old. "You know, the news kind of has to be bad for it to make headlines otherwise its just happy information and not as many people would pay attention to it, not that they do anyway."

"Yes, well there's too much trauma out there in the world, we don't need anymore of it. You and I should both know that by now." Grandma sniffs lightly, as she turns off the running water and takes my empty plate from me, washing it up quickly before placing it in the rack to dry.

I don't say anything in response to that, I don't even know how I could respond to that. It's true that Grandma and I have surely had our fair share of traumatic, lifechanging events but without them - does matter how painful they were - each and every one of them has made us into the people that we are today. I stay silent and keep my head down low as she walks slowly back over to me, taking a barstool opposite me and looks at me with an intent look etched upon her face.

The news topic was dropped soon after that. The memory of those that we had lost, still burning painfully fresh in our minds, albeit not for the first time. I have often stayed awake at night, trying not to fall asleep because I knew that if I did, I would be subjected to the torture of what had happened. I was so lost in thought that I didn't know that Grandma had been talking and so shook my head a little before asking her politely to repeat what she had just said. "I said that I might not be home when you get back from school."

"You...won't? How come?" I ask her, trying to keep my voice stable and away from the fear that was currently trying to shake my body. Ever since I had moved over to Baltimore to live with Grandma, she has never left me alone in the house by myself, not because she doesn't trust me; she totally does its just that she knows that I hate being on my own.

Grandma let out a little chuckle and reached over to pinch my cheeks slightly, causing me to blush in embarrassment at the babyish gesture. "You'll be alright on your own for an hour or so. I just told June that I'd go and spend the day with her. She's been wanting to go into town for sometime now but she needed someone to go with. It would be nice to get out and spend time with her for a bit, we haven't had a proper chat in ages."

I let out an inaudible sigh and let my shoulders slump slightly. "You should go and spend time with her, I know how much you miss your old chats with her. I'll be alright...I'll probably have some homework to do anyway. Say hi to her from me, won't you?"

"I will, don't worry." Grandma laughs lightly as she looks up at the clock. "Come on now, you're going to be late for school! Oh, before you go and before I forget...This came for you yesterday morning."

With a expression full of curiousiy, I look down at Grandma's hand to see that she's holding an evelope out to me. With a quick nod of thanks, I take the envelope from her, give her a quick hug and a peck on the cheek and pick up my backpack from by the front door. "I'll see you later, Grandma!" I call out as I stuff the envelope into my pocket, pick up my car keys and head out of the house towards the garages.
Walking through the gates of the University campus, it dawned on me just how early I was. There was no mad rush of students hurrying to their lockers to pick up their books and folders before first period, there was no sneering Jocks lingering out in the hallways, waiting to push innocent people into their lockers; usually me, which was a first. As I had some time to kill before the morning bell rang, I headed towards the onsite coffee shop and purchased a Mocha to take with me to class, whilst waiting for it to be served, I took out the envelope that Grandma had handed to me and tore it open.

After a week and a half of waiting, Jack's response has finally arrived. Opening up the letter, I began to read through it, admiring the neat cursive of his handwriting. It seems that we both have a few things in common and I can't help but wonder if I've seen him walking around and yet not realise that I would be the one to send him letters for a piece of coursework. Of course, writing these letters will always mean more to me than that.

A few seconds after I finished reading, my Mocha was served and the morning bell was sounding, alerting everyone to get to their first period. Letting out a sigh, I took a sip of my Mocha and folded up the letter, placing it more carefully into my pocket. English was my first class and it so happened to be a double one today, so no doubt that we'll be able to write our responses out to send off by the end of the day. Upon reaching my locker, I was able to dodge the view of some passing jocks and quickly pull out my notebook which I forgot to pick up on Friday and ran towards my English class, my Mocha sloshing about in the cup as I skidded to a halt and straightened out my shirt before walking calmly and quietly into the classroom to a seat situated at the back of the room. No sooner had I sat down, Mr. Austin strolled in with a huge smirk upon his face.

Of all the lecturers here at Towson University, I have to say that Mr. Austin is nobody's favourite. His snarky attitude and bad fashion sense is enough to make anyone glare at him in distaste. If you had to describe him it would probably turn out to be a little like this; dressed in a highly colourful hawaiian shirt topped with an old man's golf style vest and too short of trousers to match, Mr. Austin is a balding man within his late forties that relies solely on his own sarcasm to make him laugh. His main role in life is to make everyone he meets miserable and finds great pleasure in picking up every single little mistake in an assignment.

"It's so nice to see that many of you have arrived on time and not trudging in hald an hour late due to hangovers. Today's class is going to be a fairly simple one, hopefully you've all recieved at least one reply so far...those of you that haven't, you either wrote it last night and sent it off or your allocated soldier is having trouble reading through your scrawl of a handwriting." He sneered as he took a look round the class, taking note of people's guilty expressions. "For those of you who have recieved a letter from your given soldier, you have this session to write your response. Those who haven't? Try to formulate a rough response for when you do get a letter through. You have two hours. Start now."

Pulling out Jack's response from my hoodie pocket, I quickly scan through it again, making sure that I read it properly whilst waiting in line for my Mocha. Taking another sip, I gather my notebook from my bag and open it up, staring down intently at the plain sheet of paper within it as though thinking that the letter would write itself. As soon as I picked up my pen, I knew what it was that I wanted to write. The words sprang to my mind as I glance every so often at the letter that Jack had sent. Finishing off my Mocha quickly, I placed the cup down and set to work.
Dear Jack,

You don't know how much of a relief it is to hear that my letter got through to you okay. For the past couple of weeks, I've been feeling a little anxious and worried that it hadn't reached you or that it had fallen into the wrong hands. My Grandma tried to reassure me that it takes a little longer for letters to get through to soldiers who are moving around a lot; I guess that she was speaking from experience - she used to write letters to a soldier, as a past-time when she was younger and got to know him really well, eventually they hit it off and that soldier soon turned out to be my Grandpa. Anyway, this morning all of my anxiety and worry was washed away as the mailman dropped off a letter for me. I guess that was actually the best thing that happened today, recieving your letter.

You don't actually have to thank me. It's a pleasure to write to someone who is fighting for our country and the people / communities within it. Sure I kinda need to write to you for my English course but...in all honesty, I'm actually enjoying writing to you. It gives me something to look forward to and what else can I say? You somewhat intrigue me and you're right, writing a letter longhand like this does add that personal touch to it.

Are you being serious? You're twenty-one years old and yet, you're a soldier within the US Army? When I first got given your name in class, I thought that you would have been a little if not a lot more older than myself, but to know that you're just a couple of years older than myself, well...that's kind of awesome. Going by the paragraph that you wrote about yourself, I think that we are definitely going to get along great. There isn't many people around here that like the same music as me, so its good to be able to write to someone who has the same taste and likes the same things. I genuinely think that is seriously awesome, getting a Blink 182 tattoo...although it surely can't be classed as an obssession at all, actually to me that's more like...dedication of the highest form.

There's one thing bothering me though. You said within your first letter that you recieved a Music degree when you were at Dulaney High School...how come you didn't persue a career in Music? What made you chose a life in the Army, over a career in Music? Surely its important to you, at least, enough so that you'd take it for a degree.

I apologize if my question crosses any sort of boundary that you wish not to answer, I'd completely understand but having read your letter as I was walking through the University campus, I must say that you have given me quite a bit to think about. With every step that I took, I was trying to think about how best to answer your questions. The favourite film question is easy enough, I don't even need to think about it - The Fifth Element; there's no other film like it in my opinion. As for your other questions...well, you're close. I'm actually from the same area as you and I too, had the good fortune to attend Dulaney High School a year or so ago. The best part of living there? Well, for me it has to be the M&T Bank Stadium, home of the mighty Ravens Football Team. Do I hang round with many people? I wouldn't say so...Not ones that I can trust or actually like me anyway. It's rather a complicated affair...within time, you will realise yourself that I'm quite a complicated person.

It is time for me to ask you a few more questions. What's your favourite film? Do you have any siblings? Are you close to them? Do you like any sports / teams? - Hopefully these questions will give you something to think about while you are back at camp. Stay safe, soldier Barakat.

- Alex

Placing down my pen, I glance nervously up at the great clock before us all, before letting out a silent breath of relief as I notice that we still had ten minutes of writing time left. Smiling slightly, I pick up my response and scan through it one more time, double checking everything for spelling mistakes and incorrect grammar. It may not be as detailed as my first letter, but it pretty much gives Jack a little more insight to who I am as a person, while also giving him some questions to think about also.

"Alright. Pens down. Notebooks away and get lost." Mr. Austin calls out in his grouchy tone, looking at us all with a unreadable expression on his face as he starts to pack up his own books.

Shaking my head, I made sure to pack everything up quickly. Seeing as though English was my first and only class of the day, I quickly made it to the lockers and dumped the unread English books into it before making my way out to my car that was sitting on its own in the corner of the campus parking lot. There was no point in heading back home, Grandma wouldn't be there for a couple of hours yet, so putting the key in the ignition, I head towards the local post office, picking up an envelope and scribbling down the desired address so that I could send of my letter off to Jack before heading down to one of my favourite places in Baltimore, the isolated lakes and forest area, for a few hours peaceful walking with nothing but my ipod and the sweet sound of music to keep me company.


*This is the account to follow for new updates!*

EarthToLottie; EarthToLottie;

i miss this story so much

JalexInMyButt JalexInMyButt


AllTimeSlut AllTimeSlut


Well, thank you :D

@Dean Winchester;
Yaaay! :D This story is awesome, by the way.

MakeMeLoveATL MakeMeLoveATL