I hope this letter finds you. I hope it makes its way to the World with as little difficulty as possible. I hope that it finds its way to your hands quickly.
I hope you don’t hate me.
It was never my intention to leave. After the fight, I just meant to go for a walk, to give us both some time to cool down. Do you remember that night? It was bitter cold and the air smelt like rain.
I was only going to go for a walk around the block, but somewhere between Sycamore Street and Johnson Avenue, Bordertown swallowed me. To this day, I have no idea why Bordertown came for me, why I was spirited away to this place.
Of course, I heard the stories about the Border. But I never wanted to go there. It held no fascination for me. Bordertown was meaningless to me. It was a town for runaway kids looking for second chances and fairy tale endings.
I didn’t need a second chance and never wanted a fairy tale life. All I wanted to do was walk the block, then come home and make peace with you. I just wanted to hold you in my arms, kiss your head and tell you that everything was going to be okay.
But that didn’t happen. Bordertown shanghaied me, and try as I might, I couldn’t leave. The town wouldn’t let me. Here, all the streets and alleys twist and turn like living things. And those times I did get beyond the city, into the Nevernever, I would always find myself back at the city.
It’s ironic. Thousands of kids all over the world are dying to get to Bordertown, and here I am, trying like hell to get out. No one can figure out why I’m here and why I can’t leave. I’ve consulted the best magicians in town and they’ve all drawn a blank. Some have suggested that I’m here because Bordertown wants me here.
I don’t care. I want to come home. I’ve wanted to come home since I arrived.
Last week, the Way between the Border and the World closed for a while. When it reopened, we discovered thirteen years had passed in the World. Thirteen years!
I don’t want to believe this is true, but the evidence is irrefutable. You’re as old as I am now, April. This place has robbed me of you. For that alone, I should burn it to the ground.
If you get this letter, I want you to know what happened. I didn’t abandon you. I pray to God that you’re safe and sound, that everything worked out with the baby.
When you get this letter, I want you to know I love you. You’re still my darling daughter, even if thirteen years has passed. And, if I can’t come to you, perhaps you can come to me? The Way is open, April, and I’m here, waiting for you with open arms and all my love.
Your loving father,