A Letter to Charlie

The Perks Of Being a Wallflower is a novel by Stephen Chbosky. It is a coming-of-age story of Charlie, a 16 year old whose best friend takes his own life without saying a word. Charlie goes into depression after this and takes to writing to overcome it; he writes letters to a random person far away and doesn’t disclose a return address. He does this to gain closure and writing is his personal solace. Through the hundreds of letters he writes, we learn a little about his life. He befriends two seniors Patrick and Sam and even falls in love with the latter. Due to the age difference and others, Sam doesn’t feel the same way about him. As each letter goes by, Charlie finds his true meaning and by the end of the book, gains closure. 

A remarkable scene in the book is when Charlie, Sam and Patrick ride through the tunnel — “And you’re listening to that song, on that drive, with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite”

Attached here is a letter for Charlie

Dear Charlie,

I read your letters. I know you asked me to never try to contact you and I won’t; I don’t know who I’m writing this to as you never enclosed a return address. I guess a part of me is writing this to and for myself, maybe at the end of this letter I’ll find myself; the same way you found yourself.

For as long as I remember, I’ve always been a confused person. I didn’t think it was normal to feel happy at times and sad during the others; I just didn’t think it was possible. But then I read your first letter and you said you wanted me to know you’re both happy and sad and you’re still trying to figure out how that can be. I knew then that you and I were more than pen pals; you and I were connected. I was you, and you were me.

I don’t know if you remember this, but you asked me if I’ve ever felt infinite. I have lived 18 eventful years and I can’t be in a better position right now; I have brilliant friends, a person to love, a great education, and wonderful family and above all, I’ve finally learned to love myself. But it didn’t come easy for me.

You see Charlie, just like you, I too doubted myself more than I should have. I too thought that we accept the love we think we deserve, I always thought to myself why everyone around me picked people who treated them like they’re nothing to love; and then it finally dawned on me, we’re all desperately trying to find our place in this world.

You told me that one day, these will all be stories. But right now, right this second, this is not a story. This is happening.

I want to tell you something Charlie, and I want you to listen; I know what it’s like to forget what it was like to be 17 when I turned 18.

You’re going to be your age only for a short while. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

When your parents ask you to sleep with them, no matter how old you are Charlie, sleep with them. One day, they’re going to be in hospital beds and you might not have enough space to push in.

When your girl asks you to hold her hand, say yes. Hold her hand, tell her you love her, tell her she’s beautiful and tell her she’s appreciated. A short while from now, someone else might be doing these things and all you’re going to be filled with is regret; and while people say you must never regret things you’ve done because it was exactly what you wanted at one time, there’s really nothing worse than regret. There is no feeling more tragic than wishing you had tried harder.

Embrace your alone time, but never restrict yourself from the good things and people in life; the ones who notice the storm in your eyes, the silence in your voice and the heaviness in your heart are the ones worth your time, the ones who you must let in.

Never look back at those that have passed; I promise you Charlie, if there was any point in it, it would’ve stayed. When people want to leave you, open the door for them. Never put yourself down, never let them know how much you care, because then they’ll walk all over you.

On a similar note, how are you with Sam being away in college? I hope you’re doing okay.

Don’t ever think that whatever happened between you and Sam was because of bad timing. There’s no such thing as bad timing.

Timing is one of those things we can never get right when it comes to relationships. We meet the person of our dreams a few weeks before they have leave to move onto better things. We form a fantastic friendship with a beautiful person who is already taken. One relationship ends because one person isn’t ready to get serious and another ends because they’re getting too serious.

Timing can be harsh, yes, but only if we let it. Here’s leaving you with something that I hope you will take with you everywhere Charlie; the people we meet at the wrong time are actually just the wrong people. You never meet the right people at the right time, because the right people are timeless. I can’t say for you whether Sam is timeless or not, but I hope she is. For your sake, I hope she is.

I feel I’m drifting away from what I started; have I felt infinite yet?

I have. But unlike you Charlie, I didn’t find it in a moment; I found it in a person and I can say now that I’ve reached a stage in my life where every time I see the person; I feel it.

Picture Credits - gingersass.com
Picture Credits – gingersass.com

After the lights went out, metaphorically, I yearned to see what it was that took up the space in their mind when the light of the way faded and they were left all alone with their thoughts. I craved to know what my person thought about; what my person was, who my person was. And in those moments, I swear, we were infinite.

You’re special to me, and the only reason I’m telling you this now is because I’m not sure if anyone else ever has. You’re worth it, you were worth every letter you sent and every letter I read. I wish I could have gotten to know you more, you are me and I am you; never forget that.

Your letters have helped me in ways I could never put into words. I will never forget what you told me; that we are who we are for a lot of reasons and maybe we’ll never know most of them, but even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.

I can see it Charlie, this one moment I know I’m not a sad story. I know we’re not sad stories. We are alive, we are here, we are happening; this is happening.

Before I stop writing, I’d like to leave something here that I came across; if there are clouds blocking the sun, there must always be a silver lining and reminds you to keep trying.

Good bye Charlie, it’s been great reading your letters. I hope you learn something about me from this; I really have found myself.

I am you, and you are me. Never forget that.

Love,

Always.

 

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Kalyani Madathilkatt

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