I would have started the letter with ‘dear,’ but it felt strange – given that you don’t know who I am. I’m just one of the thousands who watched you grow up and who grew with you. I remember it like it was just yesterday that ten-year-old me picked up The Titan’s Curse for the very first time. You were a kid then, enamored with Mythomagic (You say you left it in the past; but did you, really?), just as I was enamored with the words spanning the pages.
You think you know someone, but then one day, you realize you don’t. Not really. For instance, I don’t know the boy you were before Zeus’ wrath tore your family apart. I don’t know what you went through when the boy you admired, Percy, told you that your sister hadn’t survived her quest. How you felt when you couldn’t summon her, and when she finally appeared, it was to ask Percy to stop you. How it felt to have your father constantly belittle you, a cruel reminder of a lost family. The torture you experienced trapped in Tartarus. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand your pain, but I’ll never truly know what you went through.
Life’s dealt you a shitty hand, darling, but, I think out of everything that’s happened to you, everyone that’s happened to you, no one has infuriated me like Cupid. He saw your hesitance to open up, your fear of rejection, your tender feelings, and your battered, bruised heart. He saw and preyed on it, and I hated him all the more for it.
The self-hatred emanating from your memories stole my breath away just as it (almost) knocked Jason out. And yet, I could see Percy as clearly as ever. He must have looked ethereal the night you first met him. Strange how I always thought this scene most impacted Annabeth until I read this. Maybe it was because I’d already lived this exact moment through Percy. But I can never forget this moment because that was when my heart broke for the boy you had been up till this moment. I think this was the moment I realized I would never really know you.
Your coming out was meant to be a part of your story. It was never a toy or a weapon to be wielded against you when you were at your weakest. You needed to recognize and accept this for yourself before you could express it to anyone.
Cupid ripped you out of your reality, in which you hid from everyone, even yourself. He made you confront your demons before you were ready to even think about them. His godliness made a poor excuse for robbing you of your heart and displaying it to the world against your will.
These were troubling times, and Gods and mortals alike made sacrifices, but the price you paid for helping was far too steep a price to pay. Truth be told, I’m glad you had Jason with you then, even if you’d rather he never knew your secret.
Things have come a long way since then – your father came around, and you guys consciously work towards fixing your relationship, and although Bianca is lost forever, you have a new sister, Hazel, who loves you just as much as Bianca did. You learned to open up and trust others. You got over Percy (“You’re not my type” was a serve, alright), and now, you’re with Will, Camp Half-Blood’s resident sunshine boy. Guess it’s true what they say about opposites.
When we first met you, you were unhappy – completely justified and then some more. Everyone could see that, but no one could understand the depth of your misery. It’s easy to forget that you can only see the tip of an iceberg above the sea. You’ve come far since then, and for that, I am so, so proud.
Someone who adores you.
Written by Maha Padala for MTTN
Edited by Asma Abidin for MTTN
Featured Image by Alessia Jon Trunfio
Artwork by María G