dear Brad,

yes, i really am not any of those names. i was fond of Jackie for a little bit but my name never felt right to me from the get-go. i was supposed to be Rachel, which i’m much more comfortable with, but my father didn’t like it. to the world, i am Jack. i can be Jack to you, if you don’t like Jackie. you can call me whatever your mouth decides at the moment.

i do know about the mall of america, but i’m personally not a big mall person, or fan, really. i’ve been to a few, some outlet malls, some regular small town malls. it isn’t my place of choice. too many people, too much money flying out the window for things you’ll never need. it’s a breeding ground for teenagers to stand around and brood over their lives while they have brand new cell phones that daddy bought them a week ago that are “just okay”. ungrateful fuckers. at least around here, that’s my impression of what goes on in those buildings..

i also never went there with my family, or i don’t think i did. i’m an only child, see. i learned from an early age how to be self-sufficient and play by myself. i liked being alone. i still do. i like being alone, but not lonely. if i did ever go to a mall with any family members, i was too young to make the decision and i felt more uncomfortable than i already was in that environment. so many strangers and none of them seem to feel any connection to anyone else but themselves. but really, i didn’t write you back to tell you about my mall experiences.

i wrote you back because i wanted to tell you a secret. i have a box on the top shelf of my closet, it holds things that mean more to me than meets the eye. a memory box, but a little stronger. there’s an energy inside of it. inside of it is a fake flower that i was given by someone, a person who is almost a complete stranger, and he told me that he saved this small, plastic, white pansy just for me. that day, i felt better. i’ve found items on walks home and felt the way you did about the plastic dandelion. someone was there, maybe they left this just for me. i’d feel pride in finding the item, i would feel protective over it when i brought it home. random items; a metal washer for a screw that seemed entirely out of place, a stone that seemed so perfectly worn down, it would have been a waste not to keep it and cherish the shape it formed into. i feel connections. i think i make some up though. not purposely, but due to wishing. don’t tell though. our secret, okay?

i really love that you wrote me a letter, Brad. it means more than you’d think.

- whatever you want to call me.