Chapter 1:

The Letter

Lost Mind

Dear friend,
suppose I can still call you that. I have known for a long time about a disease that will eventually overcome me. When you read this letter, I will probably lose to disease. You are the only person I could ask for such a big favor. Although it was difficult for me to gather the strength to finally say it out loud. I had that day in my head, seven years ago, when we last saw each other and we parted in a rather unpleasant way. I have never blamed you for what happened, but I couldn't be the first to come out with open arms. I'm sorry for being a cruel friend.

I know that you have achieved everything you dreamed of. Nevertheless, I followed all the mentions of you. I am sincerely happy for you and I wish we could see you again.

My little Lucretia turned eight yesterday. She is such a sweet little girl, please take care of her when I'm gone. Lucia's family would never accept her and get rid of her at the earliest opportunity. Please, you are the last option I have left. You don't need to be afraid of her, you just need to help her control her abilities. I know it's a lot, but please ... If you have to, replace me with yourself, let her even call you dad, I'll accept it from beyond the grave. Just let her be safe and happy. I don't want to leave her. I don't want it that much, but I will die soon. Nothing can be done ... Please accept her. I beg you…

I'm sorry and thank you for everything

Your, I hope so, friend L.

I knew from the beginning who wrote this letter. I recognized his handwriting, which I had known since high school. From the very beginning, I had a feeling that it would not be good news, but I did not expect that I would suddenly find out about my friend's death. I collapsed into an armchair in my office and started crying, trying to pour out all my anger and regret for the years when I also could reach reconciliation. We saw each other off seven years ago in bad faith because of me, so why did this fool apologize to me? I should have supported him when he was left alone with the baby after Lucia died. Then I ran away like a complete coward because I looked into the eyes of an innocent child who was just born with this ability.

I started to blame myself that if I hadn't been so proud, maybe I would have noticed something sooner and talked him into treatment, financially, or somehow were with him. I couldn't imagine what he might be feeling then. An overwhelming feeling of responsibility towards his daughter, loneliness, and lack of support mainly from family and friends. I clenched my fists helplessly, not knowing how to deal with the loss. Suddenly I heard a knock and my wife came silently into the room, her expression not very pleased.

"Victor came running just now that he heard you cry and he was scared that something had happened," she said coolly, but her voice became softer when she noticed that our younger son was not lying. "What is going on?"

I nodded my head at the documents I had received with my friend's letter. Martha scanned them, trying to hide that she didn't quite like what she was seeing. There was a kind of indulgence in her gaze over my reaction. She had never had any particular affection for Leonardo or his wife. She found their tendency to sacrifice themselves for others to be ridiculous and stupid, while at the same time tacitly respecting them for the professional path they had taken.

"David, the question remains, what do you want to do about it?"

"How's what?" I said, a bit shocked by my wife's dismissive tone. "I will fulfill my friend's will."

"Will you not take my opinion into account?"

We looked at each other for a moment, but neither of us relented at this point. The next week was also filled with fierce, daily discussions on the subject, but I did not want to give up and force my wife to agree to look after Lucretia. During this period, however, our children were the most anxious, and reluctantly watched the attempts of adults not to raise their voices. Although the boys didn't know the details, they guessed it was serious, because we usually dealt with conflicts by talking and treating them as a business problems that had to be worked out for the benefit of both parties involved.

In the end, goodness, which my wife still had somewhere in her heart, won out but she indicated that I should not expect her to replace Lucretia's mother. She always wanted to have only one child, but then Victor was born, as an unplanned child, and now I expected her to take another child under her roof with open arms. On the one hand, I understood how important a career was for her, she never hid it, and for me, this aspect of life was always extremely important, but I could not remain indifferent to this innocent child.

After all the paperwork and my office being converted into a girls' room, the day came when I was able to go to the neighboring town for Lucretia, where she had been staying with a foster family so far. Fortunately, my friend legally secured the baby so that she would not end up with her mother's family, who sincerely hated her, just like they felt about Leonard. I was nervous, but I didn't want it to show on my face. I tried to hold on to the memory of Victor's joyful reception of the 'sister'. Elder Hyacinth expressed his answer with a shrug when I was talking to them, emphasizing that it was only him that mattered, not to disturb him. I did not expect any other reaction from him, he was slowly starting to live in his world, which he did not allow anyone so far. Younger one more than once asked us for siblings.

Holding on to the thought of my little ally, I smiled slightly and knocked on the door. After a while, a middle-aged woman opened them and looked at me for a moment.

"You're for Lucretia, aren't you? You were said to be Leonard's friend?," she asked, and I heard the accusation in her voice. I figured she must have known him personally, and I had the misfortune to come across her now. "The little girl knows that if something goes wrong, she has to contact me, so better ..." The tone of the speech was more and more aggressive, then Lucretia appeared in the corridor in a black dress by the knee with a plush turtle in her hand.

"You don't need to scare him, Auntie," she said softly, her voice extremely calm and gentle.

I was afraid that something would happen, like when we met for the first time. This disturbing burst of energy and the feeling as if someone was breaking into your head, but nothing like that happened. She was only a year old at the time and it knocked me off my feet, but now, to my surprise, nothing of the sort happened. However, I felt that something in her appearance had changed, but I could not yet determine what exactly.

"Are you ready yet?" The surprised woman asked. "I was also thinking about inviting Mr. David for a coffee, talking, telling him something about you."

"I already have everything, there is no point in prolonging it. I'll be calling at least once a week," the girl said, and she walked over to me, her eyes focused on the floor. "I would only have a request, I would like to go to my mom and dad to the cemetery to say goodbye, won't it be a problem for you?"

"No, of course, no," I replied, surprised at her request and at the calmness and maturity that emanated from her. It was significantly different from Victor, who was her age. He could not sit in one place longer than a moment.

I didn't expect it to go so smoothly. The little one had to collect only a large suitcase with clothes and shoes and a cardboard box with toys, books, and school supplies. She said goodbye to her current babysitter with a short hug, and then calmly followed me as if she had been prepared for a long time. She sat in silence in the car until I found the nearest florist, then for the first time, I saw the worry on her face as she hesitantly looked into her wallet and searched for flowers that she could afford and would be worthy of her parents' tombstones. Leonard had provided her financially, but I was to dispose of her property until she was at least sixteen.

"Choose what you like and I'll pay," I said, wondering what to choose.

Finally, we both left with bouquets in hand. Lucretia chose lilies of different colors, she told me later, because they were her mother's favorite flowers. I took a bouquet that a florist quickly composed for me after I said that we were going to the cemetery. I was not at the funeral, I was following Lucretia, who knew the way to the final resting place of her parents perfectly well. They were buried together as they wanted and how often they joked about it when we were still in contact. The flowers were placed in a vase standing on a simple, gray grave. I told the little girl that I was going to get the water to give her time to say goodbye, and when I got back she was sitting on the ground and crying. I stood behind her, listening to her tears, knowing that I must also allow her to cry, I shed a few tears myself, for the friends I had lost, and never took the trouble to reconciliation. After a few minutes Lucretia calmed down and, sniffing, stood up and turned to face me. I handed her a handkerchief, which she accepted gratefully. She looked up for a moment, I took a deep breath, and then I understood what was wrong with me all the time, what had changed in her.

Dani Raevys

Lost Mind