Three Little Words

By: Susan Mallery

DEAR FORD, I can’t believe my sister was stupid enough to cheat on you with your best friend two weeks before your wedding. With you joining the navy so suddenly, I didn’t get a chance to confess in person. I know I’m only fourteen, but I love you. I’ll love you forever and write you every day. Or at least once a week. I cried and cried when you left. Maeve wasn’t happy. She said I was making a scene. I got right in her face and told her she was a bitch for cheating on you. Then I got in trouble for swearing at my sister. But I don’t care. I wish you didn’t have to leave. I really will love you forever, Ford. I promise. Stay safe, okay?

Dear Ford, I’m going to the prom! I know I’m just a sophomore, but Warren asked me and I said yes. My mom is practically more excited than me. We’re going to San Francisco to buy a dress. My grandmother offered me one of the bridesmaid dresses from her store. OMG. As if. But Mom was cool and said we could get something from one of the big department stores. Yay! I’ll send a picture of me in the dress. Stay safe, okay?

Dear Ford, I know I haven’t written in a while. It was too awful. Prom, I mean. Warren wasn’t who I thought and he got drunk. He and his friends had hotel rooms. I thought we were going to a party, you know, but that’s not what he had in mind. He said he thought I understood. What is it with guys and sex? Explain it to me, please. Not that you ever write me back, but if you ever do. I kicked him like Dad taught me and then he threw up on my dress, which made me throw up. I wish you’d been here to take me to the dance. Stay safe, okay?

Dear Ford, I’m sorry I haven’t written again for so long. My grandma died. She wasn’t sick or anything. Just one day, she didn’t wake up. I can’t seem to stop crying. I miss her so much. Mom is sad and it’s really hard. I’m trying to be there for my mom, doing my chores and cooking dinner a couple of nights a week. Sometimes, when I’m having fun with my friends, I feel guilty. Like I’m never supposed to smile again. Dad took me out to lunch and said it was okay for me to be a teenager. I wish I knew that was true. I hope you’re okay out there. I worry about you, you know.

Dear Ford, I’m graduating. I’m enclosing a picture because, I don’t know. Is it weird that I write? You never answer, and that’s okay. I don’t even know if you read these letters. But it’s what I do because, in a way, I still miss you. Writing you has become this thing I do. Anyway, I’m going to UCLA. I’m set to major in marketing. Mom keeps pushing accounting, but with my math skills, we all know that’s not going to happen. I’m excited and happy, except I still miss my grandma. Are you in Iraq? Sometimes when I hear the news on TV about the war, I wonder where you are.

Dear Ford, I love college. I’m just saying. Westwood is completely amazing and wonderful and we go to the beach most weekends. I’m dating a surfer. Billy. He’s teaching me to surf. I’m not going to class as much as I should, but I’ll make it up soon. I got highlights and I’m tan and this is the coolest my life has ever been. I love everything. I hope all is well over there, too.

Dear Ford, Fool’s Gold Community College isn’t so bad. I miss my friends and Westwood, but this is okay, too. My parents still aren’t speaking to me except for the long conversations every week about how disappointed they are with me, that I wasn’t mature enough to handle UCLA. I feel really bad about being so stupid and irresponsible, but me saying that doesn’t stop the lectures. Still, I know I deserve them. Billy broke up with me a couple of weeks ago. I’m not surprised. He wasn’t exactly long-term boyfriend material. I’m going to pay attention to my classes and work on being more mature. Sometimes I think about you going off to war around my age. That must have been incredibly hard. I’m still learning how to stand on my own two feet. Thinking of you and hoping you’re well and staying safe.

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