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unsent postcard from verona
by penelope bernal

When I was fourteen years old, I sat on a train to Venice and wrote a postcard that I would never send. 


Dear Reen, 


It’s been about three days since I told you I was frustrated, and you haven’t replied to my messages. But I saw that you are becoming happy. I’m happy that you’re getting better. I told Anya that I had no doubt you won’t need me :D. Anywho, this is Verona, where Romeo & Juliet were. There are a lot of myths about them … but I believe they actually existed. I spent my day in Verona with Lina. (We even have a ship name now ‘Luna’) I know you don’t want to know about my day with her … anywho if this friendship is really over - then I will send the MX gifts and your drawings.


- Penelope Bernal 


This was my first attempt to end, perhaps, the most painful friendship I have ever had. And now, as I lay amongst years of travel mementos - Italian stamps, Hong Kongese bus tickets, and Parisian Coffee Shop receipts - I can’t help but wish I had written something different. Something that expressed the rage I still feel whenever I think of her, something that wasn’t sugar-coated-in fragile words, something that told the truth.


Dear Reen, 


I’ve never been good at keeping friends. Specifically, I have never been good at keeping best friends. I had always figured that it was natural. That - old friends will always be replaced by new ones - but when I met you, I thought that I had found what my cousin described to me as a ‘platonic soulmate.’


“It’s a friendship where everything just feels right, one that could bypass your own shaky history,” she had explained under the Jacaranda tree, purple petals drifting onto our shoulders. 


It’s hard to remember any of the ‘right’ memories. Yes, we used to text until dawn and I would spend months collecting knick-knacks to send across the ocean, but, I feel like I know you only through actions. 


I know you by your suicidal text messages, by the unwritten letter you once sent me, by the time I wanted to end our friendship on an Italian train via postcard. 


When I search through memories, I try to find times of happiness, of warmth, but all that I find is a superficial form of hatred.


At times, I hate everything that reminds me of you. I hate the big-eyed crayon drawings you drew for me, the poorly written stories you wrote, but above all, I hate you. More than I should, seeing as though I remember almost nothing about our friendship. Perhaps that is why I explain my hatred towards you as superficial. So many years have passed, that I can’t even remember why I feel the way I do. I can’t even remember why I stopped talking to you.


I know it took years, but the past is the past. And the end of our friendship is only natural.


One day I will forget your name, your face, and eventually, one day I will forget everything I know about you. To the point that when I search through my drawers, years from now, and find the drawings you drew, as well as the postcard I never sent, I’ll spend hours trying to piece together our story and come up with nothing.





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