August 7th, 2013
I’m terribly sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but I have fallen down a rabbit hole and I can’t seem to find my way out of it. It shouldn’t be this difficult, but it is, oh, it is; I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I have also fallen in love with the rabbit. Should you be concerned? No. It’s terribly wonderful down here, down in this little hide-away home that only the rabbit knows of. No hungry foxes can find us here, no hunting men with loud guns and orange vests. It’s our own piece of Heaven (if only we believed), a place without rules. Without boundaries.
If I may, I would like to start from the beginning. From the first day I fell far too deep, to the day I write you this letter. It’s your birthday today, I never forget. August 7th. The perfect day for perfect weather. But I believe you’ll receive this letter, and any of the following, soon after I start my second year of university. I have decided to stay in England to finish my second year, as well; but I must leave the rabbit’s hole in order to do so. We will be forests apart. Understand that I am being selfish for a good reason, Hatter. If I come back to America now, the rabbit and I will be an ocean apart. That is horribly impossible, you must know. I’m sorry that I didn’t come home for the summer. But I was taking your advice—the advice to be selfish for once in my life. And God, have I been so. Like a child, even. It’s pathetic. I’m pathetic.
The trip was Hell. It took too long, I couldn’t sleep, and it was far too loud. The humming of the airplane deafened me when I graced the ground with my toes once more. I wanted nothing more than to sleep, but you know Auntie Bee…she had to show me around town after the three hour car trip. When we arrived at her Victorian, she showed me where the toilet was, the kitchen, and my bedroom. I fell asleep soon after.
I dreamt of something terrible. I was at my old house, you know, the one with the ravine behind it, and it was the dead of winter. I was walking around the neighbourhood, and slowly, I picked at my teeth. One by one, each tooth left my mouth, and the feeling was that of a nightmare. It was a nightmare. I made it home, stumbling and toothless, and the door was locked. I didn’t have a key. A storm raged outside the mudroom, and I froze to death. I woke up with scratches around my mouth. Hatter, I…I hate dreaming. Lately, I keep dreaming of such horrible things. I think it’s a bad omen. That this year of university is a mistake.
As you know, cousin, it was late August when I flew to England. It rained that morning, and I had left my jacket below the opened window when I got in. It was soaked and cold. I had to put it in the dryer, but I had no idea how to work it; Auntie Bee was at work, so I couldn’t ask her. And Uncle George…I was honestly too afraid to ask him. He probably wouldn’t have known, anyway. It’s Uncle George. You know him.
I can’t stop biting my nails. They’re nubs, now. Nothing. I can’t even paint them, as they would look ridiculous. But then again, I look ridiculous. I am ridiculous. And I can’t stop thinking about it. I mean, that I’m ridiculous.
The first day of classes, I was terribly nervous. I forgot to take my morning medication because of it. Which was only one mistake of many that day. I was late to my first class because my alarm clock hadn’t worked. It was new, so I had no idea if I had set it correctly. I obviously hadn’t.
The professor was rather angry with me and another girl, who had also arrived late. We hung our heads and took our seats. The professor was in the middle of his lesson, and I had missed most of the important points. They were scattered along the board in random order. He would be one of those professors, the ones that are scatter-brained. The ones that take trains to Tangentville and make it a one-way trip. I hate this type of person. So, naturally, I decided to dislike the professor right from the start.
At the end of the lesson, he called upon the other girl and myself. We awkwardly shuffled our way to the front of the class and stared at our pigeon-toed feet. He lectured us for nearly half an hour, about the importance of being timely. He continued on, about the learning system and how if students start showing up late, there will be no point for professors. Et cetera, et cetera. It was all rather tiring. I found it quite stupid, as he was making us both late for our next lectures. But, that’s life. Right?
I looked up right before I left the room, and the professor and I locked eyes. He was so angry, I could feel it seeping into my heart. I felt extremely guilty, and I apologized. He didn’t react, didn’t even accept my weak apology. I knew I would dislike this man immensely.
My next class, a lecture, was even worse. The professor was a bird-like woman with a hooked nose. She must have been at least seventy, the way she crawled about on two feet. No, two sticks. She was less than a hundred pounds, I’m sure. And her hunched back made her appear even thinner. It was almost repulsive. She only paused briefly to give us a dirty stare before continuing on with the lecture on narrative writing. It was all so boring, I almost nearly fell asleep. I sat at the very back row, thankfully, so I could go along unnoticed.
My day was finished after the two hour lecture, and for that, I was thankful. Tomorrow, I could sleep in. My first class began at a quarter to eleven, which was my latest starting class of the entire week. It was held by a, hm…a Mister Alley, a bumbling man in his thirties. Apparently, he was the sweetest professor of the university, but that’s what I heard from two second year students in the lunchroom. I…admittedly listened in on their conversation, barely touching my own food while they ate and chattered. I hoped this professor was as sweet as the two girls had said. He was.
Mister Alley, as I will call him, was dark-haired and slim, and had a friendly face. His eyes were big and blue, but so scarily intimidating, so piercing, it made listening to him very difficult. I couldn’t give him direct eye contact. Unless I wanted to drown in them both, that is. His brow was nearly always furrowed, which gave him a very confused look. It was rather adorable. He constantly cleared his throat, raising his voice after, as if to wake the students who were slipping into sleep. It hardly worked, which made me smile. The lesson finished before I knew it, and I realized that I hadn’t written anything down. I was embarrassed that I had spent the entire two and a half hours staring at the professor. But I suppose I had drowned in his eyes, hm? I don’t know. You’re male, you probably don’t care about any of this. But I have to tell someone other than Beth, and you’re the only one I can speak to. The only one that I know of that can keep a deep, dirty secret. The only one I can openly trust while I’m hiding in the rabbit’s hole. Beth can’t keep her mouth shut, not for anything. She doesn’t know about the affair.
I’m sorry, by the way, that I didn’t write you for a few months. Like I said earlier in this letter, I was busy being selfish. But I’ll continue.
The next class was that afternoon, Theory of Colour. I don’t know why I took it. It was boring right from the start. You know how I love art and anything do with it, but…This class was ultimately a bit depressing. This first lesson was all about how every eye views colour differently, and was far too scientific for me. I excused myself to use the toilet twice to save myself from sleeping in my palm. One student did fall asleep, and was snoring too loud for me to truly focus. I thought I’d drop the course and take another. As I told you in my e-mail some months ago, I did drop the course.
On Wednesday, I had Fantasy & Imagination of the Ancient Greeks. That course was the most interesting, but the professor was an elderly man that had such a soft voice, many students had to ask him to speak up. He didn’t. I thought it was rather frustrating, but the content of the course was brilliant.
Sorry, I’m back now. Auntie Bee wanted me. Then the rabbit called and we talked for a bit. He’s such a dear, Hatter. I know that he loves me, truly. I knew if I just waited, if I just let Fate deal her cards completely, I would be rewarded. And God, I was. I was rewarded with a wonderful man who loves me and all my faults, who loves me despite the fact that I don’t love myself. Fate has not been kind to me during my life of twenty years, but all three sisters have allowed me something beautiful; someone beautiful. Inside and out, the rabbit is made of gold and diamonds. His soul shines brightly in the darkness that is my own, and I can never repay him for giving me a map out of the pit I had dug myself into. Hatter, he’s—he’s perfect.
I’m sorry for…for that. An entire page of blabbering. You probably don’t care. But I know that you care that I’m happy. Truly happy. I haven’t heard Ed in months. Aren’t you proud?
The week that followed was just as uneventful. I showed up first to Mister Alley’s class. We talked for several minutes before the next few students arrived. What we talked about made my heart flutter about in my lungs. I was sure I would pass out—I had never felt so alive in a long time. We talked about what books we would read in the coming weeks, and several would become my favourites. Not…not because he was the one that assigned them, but because what they held was wonderful. The stories within were truly lovely, and I own each of them now in my personal collection. I had Mister Alley’s class four times, every week, and I showed up early for each one. We talked about personal things and universal things; it was the highlight of my day, talking with him. But with every good thing, comes an end. And, goodness, did this good thing end.
I had arrived thirty minutes early one Thursday afternoon after a tiring lecture. I had nowhere to be, and I thought it would be a nice idea to visit him. Just to chat, like we always did.
But there was another girl in the classroom. She was from the previous class, and she was harassing him.
“Come on, just give me a sixty, I’ll…I’ll do anything,” she cooed. The student touched his forearm, and he pulled back.
“M-Miss Robson, please, I won’t accept any—any f-favours in exchange for grades. Work harder next time.” His eyes darted around the classroom, trying desperately to avoid the student’s gaze.
I quietly entered the classroom and cleared my throat, holding the heavy door open. “Hey, Andrea, I heard your boyfriend was looking for you.”
Andrea’s cheeks and ears splotched red, and she picked up her schoolbag, racing from the room. I heard Mister Alley give a deep sigh. I slowly walked towards his desk. He was ruffling papers together, trying to do something with his hands—an awkward tick he had when he was nervous.
“Thank you, Miss Peregrine,” he squeaked. I held the strap of my schoolbag with my thumbs.
“It’s no problem, Mister A.” I smiled.
He looked up from his busy hands and his gaze switched between both of my eyes. He licked at his lips. I watched the pink peek out from between them, and I swallowed. I locked stares with him.
“I have to, um, I have to cancel class today. So I must be off, Miss Peregrine. I’m, I’m terribly sorry,” he stammered.
My lips parted and I breathed out a huff. “Wha—why? Why? Wait, is it because of that girl? Did she seriously harass you so bad you have to ditch?” I was angry. More so with Andrea, but also with Mister Alley.
“N-no, no, heh, no, of—of course not. No. I’m just, I didn’t get much sleep last night. I apologize, Miss Peregrine.”
I rolled my eyes quickly. I hoped he hadn’t seen. “Whatever. See you next week, prof.” I turned on my heel begrudgingly and started for the door. I yanked on it, but just before I left the room, the man cleared his throat.
“M-Miss Peregrine,” he started.
I froze. A smirk danced on my lips, but I forced it away as I turned to face him. “What?”
“I’m, I’m sorry. You know how much I, how much I love our chats. It’s what I, um, look forward to. Whenever I teach this class. But after Miss Robson—I, I feel like I can’t. I can’t chat with you after such an instance. I can’t be alone with you after such an instance.”
I snorted. Letting the door close on its own, I leaned up against it. I crossed my arms over my chest. “What do you mean, Mister Alley?
He was silent for a few seconds before looking down. “Never mind.”
I shrugged with one shoulder. “Okay, well. See you around.”
“Yes, yes, um, see you around.”
I heard him clear his throat one more time before the door closed behind me. As I walked down the hall, Hatter, I swear I could feel my heart burst into a million pieces of confetti. I think this was the day I realized that the Fate sisters had decided to smile upon me.
August 7th, 2013