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Dear Austin,

I can almost see you, as if you were never gone. Salvi’s standing by himself in the line for lunch, but I can see you standing next to him, just about a head shorter and both of you laughing about something that happened the night before. I can still hear that stupid laugh of yours. But Salvi’s standing by himself, not talking to anyone. It shouldn’t be like this.

I thought I saw you the other day, I really did. There was some kid standing in the school’s parking lot, and from a distance he looked like you. Same colour hair, but shorter, and he was taller than you. When I first saw him I remember thinking, “Oh my god, Austin got taller.” It was the weirdest feeling, so surreal, and I honestly believed it was you. It was only when the bus got closer did I see that it was clearly not you.  I went from shocked and completely elated to being smacked in the face with reality. My heart sunk, and tears instantly blurred my vision.  I didn’t cry though.

I had a dream a while back that you were brought back from the dead, like a zombie. I think we were at lunch, because we were all sitting around the lunch tables. Everyone was talking and laughing with you, like nothing ever happened, but when I saw you I was so overwhelmed. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t let myself. For some reason I felt as if I wasn’t allowed to be shocked, and I was to just act as normal.

I had another dream about you. I had four small table things with a large drawer in each, filled with belongings of yours. I was going through them, crying. And then you were back, and I had to go talk to you, because I knew what was going to happen. I couldn’t tell you though, it wasn’t like I had gone back in time, it was like a memory. Towards the end of the dream, it was either you had just passed or it was your funeral, and I was there. But you were there too, and I couldn’t decide if you really had died or a character that you played had died, but you yourself still alive. I can’t remember my conclusion (for some reason I feel as if I chose the latter, then woke up realizing I was wrong, or that I chose the latter first then before waking up I realized that I was mistaken). It was a strange dream, filled with all different kinds of emotions. It felt kind of real, except I remember when I was going through the drawers full of your things, I came across a copy of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper LP, and on the inside there were figurines. It’s strange because I don’t think you even liked The Beatles, but I don’t know. I never asked.

I sometimes wonder what you’d think of me now. We were close when I was at my worst, and I’ve changed a lot since then (most of my transition I owe to you). I just wish you could see me, since you must have thought I was such a depressed freak, which I was. I wonder what you’d think of my new music taste (I bet you would tell me how much The Beatles sucked, regardless if you believed so or not) or what you would think of my newly acquired passion for vinyl. I can never be sure though.

Sometimes I still struggle with the guilt and worry that we weren’t close enough for me to miss you as much as I do, and sometimes it’ll hit me all over again. Maybe I should move on, get over it, but, the thing is, I don’t want to get over it, because I’m afraid if I move on then that means I’ll stop caring and I’ll forget.

I never want to stop caring, and I can say in all honesty that I think about you every single day.

I guess all I really want to say is that I love you and I will always, always be Aunt Fatty.