March 10th

Dear Highland Woods,

You are the perfect neighborhood for us! You offer an ideal place for me and Alex to start over after her. We will leave the past behind as we settle down here in a lovely home with our very own garden. I can’t wait to live in bliss.

With gratitude,


May 24th

Dear 11 Fernwood Drive,

We are so lucky to have found you, and at the right price, too! I love the dreamy main bedroom, the spacious closets, the elegant chandelier. The grand stairs by the front door and the more practical steps by the kitchen—two staircases!— feel like a luxury. Even your small yard is beautiful. When Alex found the best spot for a new vegetable garden, we met our neighbor, Edna. The only Edna I ever heard of was the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Maybe this Edna will write a love poem I can give you, dear house! As we unpack each box, I’m convinced that you’re perfect, inside and out.

With thankfulness,


June 10th

Dear Dining Room,

You are a wonderful spot to gather with new friends. We invited Edna for dinner, and she brought the most heavenly chocolate cake for dessert, along with fresh cut roses from her garden. She even smells like roses. We learned that she left a troubled relationship and is temporarily taking care of her elderly mother next door. I’m so happy we have space in our lives to befriend kind people like Edna.

With appreciation,


June 25th

Dear Room Next to Our Bedroom,

We couldn’t decide whether to make you an office or a guest room, then we decided to do both! We have a place for a desk and a bed for when friends visit. Thank you for adding the potential for so much goodness to our lives.

With much thanks,


July 28th

Dear New Bathroom Mirror with the Distressed Gold Frame,

Apparently, I spend too much time “decorating the damn house.” Yet all of Alex’s free hours are spent in the dirt, trying to grow things. We both want happiness. I know I will conquer all obstacles to achieve it.

With confidence,


August 1st

Dear Guest Room,

As I change the sheets, the pillowcase smells like roses.

I love your windows that I can open to air out the floral smell. From here, I can even watch Alex tending to the garden and talking to Edna.

With optimism for our future,


August 8th

Dear Kitchen Floor,

I’m sorry about the broken plate. It’s not your fault.

With persistent positivity,


September 1st

Dear Back Stairs,

Thank you for allowing me a secret escape upstairs during our neighborhood gathering, when the yard is filled with people. Alex said hosting a party would cheer us. But I leave the neighbors outdoors, would rather be alone in our room.

With gratefulness,


September 1st, Continued

Dear Walls,

Thank you for your structure and support of our home. You are thin enough for me to listen to Alex and Edna as they whisper in the guest room next door. I hear everything. How they think no one will notice their absence from the party. How they will pretend Alex is showing her the view of her backyard from up here. How afterwards, Alex will return downstairs through the kitchen, Edna will wait before using the front stairs.

I’m so lucky to have a house that shares its secrets.

With indebtedness,


September 1st, Continued Again

Dear Grand Staircase,

Your wood is so beautiful, but also hard and unforgiving if someone happens to stumble. I appreciate your sturdiness during Edna’s tragic fall.

With love,


October 14th

Dearest Grand Staircase,

Thank you for bearing silent witness as the police investigated what was ruled an unfortunate accident.

With solidarity,


May 2nd

Dear Home Sweet Home,

The neighbors say grief and guilt over Edna’s accident caused Alex to run away, as if staying here with us was unbearable, dear house. There’s been no communication for months. But don’t worry—I will never leave you. And the new expanded garden is flourishing!

With my eternal gratitude,


~ fin ~

Yvonne Ventresca

Yvonne Ventresca’s young adult debut, Pandemic (winner of SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award), continues to be a timely read about surviving a widespread deadly virus. Her other published works include Black Flowers, White Lies (winner of a Gold IPPY for YA fiction) and several short stories for middle grade, teen, and adult readers. Yvonne holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can find her on social media at @YvonneVentresca, or visit her website,, where she features resources for writers and blogs about writing productivity.