This is the other three-chapter story. You could consider it Juliet's POV to the "Living Life" story that I just published, but only in the sense that the stories aren't mutually exclusive, not in the sense that they necessarily fit together or anything.


September 22, 2001

Dear Rachel,

This is going to be a good news/bad news letter. First, the good: I made it here safely! I guess I can't say for sure where "here" is exactly, but wherever it is, it's beautiful. If I were a betting woman, I'd guess an island in the South Pacific? Well, when I find out, I'll let you know.

Now the bad news: apparently communications are down. No phone lines out, no email, etc. Hence, the good old-fashioned letter. The submarine that brought me here (yes, you read that right) is leaving soon and the crew promised to get this to you.

I guess I don't have much else to tell you. I'll be in touch for real as soon as I can. The people here seem nice enough. I met my boss, and he seems intense, but pleasant. They have me sharing a house with someone, but they say it's temporary.

Well, I'm guessing that by the time this letter gets to you, I'll have already gotten to speak to you by phone or whatever, but in the off chance the communications are down longer than that, I hope this finds you (and the baby!) well. Get plenty of rest. Eat healthy. Doctor's orders!

Love you,
Juliet


September 29, 2001

Dear Rachel,

OK. I realize you haven't even read my first letter yet. The submarine still hasn't left, but leaves tomorrow. So, I thought I'd take the time to send an update. Still no word on outside communications. Yes, it's frustrating, but I've got a lot of other stuff going on, so I am choosing to appreciate unplugging for a little bit.

Lots to tell. Let's see. The job. It's a lot worse than I thought. Not the job, I mean, but the problem. It's not that the women can't get pregnant, they can. The problem is that they all die. It sounds horrible. But, Mr. Alpert wasn't lying about the support and the resources. My lab is amazing, and I do have full freedom to do what I want. I'm excited about the challenge.

I've met a few people and made some friends, including my old roommate, Sabine. The people are nice, but I get the sense that new people don't come here often. I'm something of a minor celebrity. They make me talk to a therapist or counselor or whatever. Weird, but . . . shoot, maybe I could use some therapy. I surely don't have all my cards in order, you know?

A few of the guys have offered to take me out to the shooting range next week. Ha! Watch out, when I come back I'll be a crack shot! I know it sounds absurd, but they say you just need a keen eye and a steady hand. So, I'll give it a try.

Oh, I called Sabine my "old" roommate. That's because they've moved me to my new place . . . a nice cabin all to myself! It seems like overkill, but, hey, I'll take it. The privacy is nice. Plus, at her house, Sabine gave me the big bedroom, even though she has a boyfriend. I felt bad about that.

Oh! Speaking of the big bedroom at Sabine's, here's a kind of cool/creepy mystery I know you'll appreciate. There was a loose floorboard there and every time I got out of bed, the floor would creak. Kind of annoying. One day I noticed that the edges were kind of worn, like someone had messed with it. Well, I was bored and curious. So, I pulled it up. Here's what was in there (it's the big mystery). Ready?

OK, it was a real old Polaroid. It was really faded but it had three guys (two of them Asian) wearing like, I don't know, khaki coveralls or something. There was a paperback copy of The Phantom Tollbooth (sad to say, I almost kept the book for myself. I LOVED that one when I was a kid). Then, a cocktail napkin with someone's kissy-kissy lip print on it (gross!). Annnnnnnd . . . here's the best: a little velvet bag with a diamond ring inside! I am not kidding. So, what do you think about that? It was really old. Whose is it? Why is it there? Do you think they are looking for it? Of course not, they (whoever they are . . . creepy) know where it is since they put it there, right?

So, that mystery kept me up one night. I know it's right up your alley. I'll let you know if I ever get it solved.

Well, anyway, I'm glad to be out of there. Sabine and her boyfriend can sleep in the big bedroom with the creaky floorboard of mystery, and my new place is very nice.

Will sign off here. I want to make sure this gets on the outgoing sub. Again, I'm sure by the time you read these, we'll have spoken. In the meantime, take your vitamins. Put your feet up whenever you can. Doctor's orders!

Love you,

J


January 15, 2002

Dear Rachel,

This will be my last letter. One I won't even send, as I realize now that you haven't received all the ones written and sent previously. None of them. I sent them all last fall and into the winter. I don't know what they've done with them, but I'm sure they've never gotten to you. I wonder if you've tried to get in touch with me, write me, call Richard, anything . . . and I suppose I'll keep on wondering.

Ben told me today about your cancer's return. He says Jacob can cure it . . . if I stay. Don't even bother asking who 'Jacob' is. It's absurd is what it is. Absurd! But then, what sort of choice is it? I have to believe. I have to. I can't go home and watch you die, especially knowing I could have done something about it. I can't even say for sure that I believe Ben. But I have to. I have to.

They've trapped me here, Rachel. They've buttered me up, made me feel comfortable and important and trapped me, lied to me, and kept me here. I wish there were some way I could let you know how often I think of you, and how badly I wish I could hug you and be there for you.

Enough! I will no longer allow myself to think that way. What good does it do? No good. And so I will no longer wallow in it. I will just move on and try not to think/feel too much about anything. Sorry to sound so maudlin, but it's not like you're getting this anyway, so why should I bother?

And since you aren't going to be getting this, I might as well confess that I was the one who told Bobby Stanford about you holding hands with Mike Jones at the roller rink. Ha! And my apologies to Katie, who I think you always blamed.

OK, so I move on. I'll get through. Meet the new me who doesn't give a shit about all the things I used to care about (New Me curses, too!) Remember that nice guy I told you about? The married one? (Well of course not, you never got my freaking letters, God dammit). Anyway, I'm meeting him for lunch tomorrow, and if it goes further than that, well . . . well, New Me doesn't care. No she does not. New Me wants to get laid. There, I said it.

New Me does what she's told and muddles through without worrying too much about anything else.

Please, please, please take care of yourself. Please be well. Please be healthy. Please don't worry about me too much.

I love you. I miss you. And now I guess I'll burn this letter that you'll never get.

Love, Juliet


September 24, 2004

Dear Rachel,

I've kept my promise to not write again. What's the point? I've been muddling through like I said I would, doing all sorts of things I never thought I would. I don't always recognize myself anymore. I almost don't know how to talk to you, and I guess it's a good thing that this is yet another letter I'll never send and you'll never get.

I saw you two days ago. I saw your son. It was the best moment in my life. Maybe the worst, too. I'm going to get back to you. I am. I'm done with muddling through. I'll figure something out. That is my promise to you.

We do have communications with the mainland. I guess we always have. Just another in a long line of lies. A plane crashed here and there are at maybe 50 or so new people here. Not that I've seen any of them, but things are off-kilter here, which may be my opportunity.

"My" "people" (eyeroll) have been gathering info on the people who crashed. Some rather unsavory characters, if I do say so myself (but who am I to judge anything?). And no need to worry your pretty little head, I'll steer clear of the worst of the worst.

Things are about to get interesting I predict, and from my perspective . . . that's not a bad thing.

Keep your fingers crossed, big sis. I'm going to work out a way to get home soon.

Love you,

Juliet