To Hope,

You taught me a lot. Maybe not always in the way you intended to, but nevertheless, I think I learned more from you than any other human being. You talked about a river. We're all rivers, you said. You even told me I was a river. I didn't know what it meant back then, but it made me feel warm inside. I think I know what you mean now. Rivers constantly change. They get water from some source, it passes through them, constantly changing them, and then they deposit it into the ocean. We are the same. We take in new ideas, change ourselves as they course through us, and then distribute it through the ocean of humans who surround us. You were talking about a river's destination as well. It's a long path, but there is always an end of some sort or another. I've never seen a river, and I don't think you have either, so we don't know what the end of one is like. It's the same with the freedom and justice that we all want so badly. We've never seen that for real either. Maybe we're close, but all the poor folk, we've never truly reformed; we still have all of our previous vices, all of our previous hatreds, and you are helping us get rid of them, but I don't think you will ever fully succeed. Not with me, anyway. I can't change that easily, because I have nothing to change for.

I think you were also talking about the water that a river has. It's what we lack, even though we need it for life. And yet we survive. Against all odds, we survive. Maybe you're right, then, maybe there are rivers inside of us, keeping us alive. But before the Stink Years, nobody thought that the rivers would run dry. They were wrong. So that means that our rivers will fail us too, someday.

Every hero needs a motto. Bobby's was Sing of Today. When we had nothing else to believe in, we believed in that. But he too was wrong, and we along with him. We were caught up in the moment, and that was all we wanted: to get control of our lives again. But your father was right, in his own twisted way. He understood how precious tomorrow is, in a way we never could. Because we know uncertainty. There is always the possibility that we won't survive, but there is always the possibility that we will. And that inspires us. It gives us enough fear and enough wonder to believe in something. Anything. But the last generation, Cladwell, , all of them: they knew certainty. They were certain that every day was their last, and that gave them nothing but fear. They believed only in death. We believed in a better today. We believed in freedom, but the truth is, we're all slaves to the drought, and as long as it continues, we can never be free.

Your father was a complicated man.. He pretended he was fearless, and maybe he himself didn't understand how afraid he was. I don't know if you saw it, but his eyes changed when he realized that it truly was his last day. All of his power and self-assurance was stripped away, and all that was pure terror. He clung to tomorrow so hard, that when it was taken away from him, he lost his entire identity. At that moment, I almost felt pity for him. Almost.

Your mother is different. The only fear she feels is for you. Her identity was taken when she lost you. Some of the person she used to be returned when you two were reunited,but not all of it. There are some wounds that can never heal. I truly do feel sorry for her.

I think you didn't feel the absence of a mother. Or rather, you felt it, but you never recognized it for what it was. I saw the change in your eyes when you realized who was and could finally give the hole in your heart a name. As for , her eyes stayed the same. She always understood what was going to happen to you and after she saw you and for the first time in so many years, she didn't even try to deny it. She once told me that it pained her that you look more like Cladwell than her.

Your father tried to be a mother for you. He never truly succeed, but he did manage to hide the need for one. Your father played the role of an entire society for you in an attempt to protect you from the terrible one that he had created. And maybe he didn't know it, but he was protecting himself too. From you. You inherited your mother's fierce determination and unshakeable resilience as well as your father's certainty that it is your responsibility to change the world. That is a dangerous combination, and he managed to suppress all of that in you. Because of that, you only understood the world when you turned twenty-two. When the Rebellion started. When you fell in love. When you felt loss and fear for the first time. You began to doubt your father. You were right.

Remember when you were a child? Or rather, when you stopped being a child. The illusion of that must have happened many times, but it happened for real only when you were kidnapped. For the first time, you understood how people think. Even Bobby, the boy you loved. At that moment, he was just like the rest of them. The rest of us. You began to doubt him and the whole world along with him. Love is a curious thing. A questionable thing. But yours was stronger beyond any other force in our lives. Except the drought, of course. He knew you would forgive him. And you did. He kidnapped you because he trusted you. Think about that. That's how much he loved you.

I never loved anyone for real. I searched for love for a long time, but then I realized it would come to me. I live by a different, well, I suppose you can describe it as a code. Yes, a different code. It's not compatible with the codes of most people.

I'm sorry, I don't know why I'm telling you this. I know love is a sore topic for you. It's not advice I'm looking for, only understanding. Your heart has the capacity to understand more than anyone else I have ever known. Hope, you are the type of person who I can spill my heart out to. I don't know what it is about you, but it seems that you have answers to questions I never even realized I wanted to ask. You are a leader, Hope.; You brought us together. You changed us and you changed yourself. That requires so much power. Very, very few people can do that, and I don't think you realize how incredible you are. And how lonely you are.

I suppose all I really wanted to say is, I believe in you, Hope.

No matter what happens, I will always believe in you.