Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
January 17, 2021
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COURTESY OF AASHNA SUNDESHA

 Aashna’s last text exchange with Bradlee.

Dear Bradlee,

I remember you asked me a couple of weeks ago how I write poems because you couldn’t think of what to write for your IFP assignment. I told you that I draw inspiration from whatever is happening in my life. I wish so badly that this wasn’t happening in my life right now, but this is how I write a poem goob:

The sky just got a lot more light

You’re there now, you shine bright

I can feel your rays from here.

The water seems more at ease

You’re free now, in the breeze

I can’t see you but I know you’re near.

Thank you for making every conversation so meaningful by introducing the most insightful opinions on the most random topics and making me reconsider so many things I wouldn’t think to question before. Thank you for being caring, compassionate, understanding and respectful. Thank you for sharing my love of paneer and roti; for calling me out on my pathetic roti-making skills; and for tagging me in videos of people making roti skillfully — I appreciated the gentle reminders. 

Thank you for putting your people first and teaching me to recognize the importance of prioritizing living life above stressing about academics. Thank you for being the best study partner a stressy girl could ask for — I will always be grateful for our study breaks in Mudd debating everything from abortion and parenthood to the difference between biscuits and crackers. Thank you for giving me some amazing songs to remember you with. 

Thank you for confirming my distaste of dolmas and discovering my newfound love for ice cream with me. Thank you for sharing my love of British slang, for putting up with my nonsense whims like Top Hat Tuesday and for speaking with me in a British accent. Thank you for recommending my phone case brand — I swear I drop it like 10 times a day and think damn Bradlee was right, my phone is never going to break with this case

Thank you for answering the silliest questions I had about everything from school to working out and never making me feel like I was being annoying. Thank you for being as proud of my accomplishments as I was of yours. Thank you for sitting through an hour of my high school friends talking about things you had no connection to and not once seeming uninterested. Thank you for always making me feel comfortable and introducing me to your friends, who are protective and intimidating and loud but also goofy and supportive and funny and kind and never fail to make me smile. Thank you for making me smile every single day. 

Thank you for introducing me to a new sport and rekindling my love for another one — I’ve followed those weird sea creature accounts on Instagram now because I’ll miss having pictures of octopi in my DMs from you. Thank you for sending me videos of babies and dogs to lift my spirits when you knew I was upset. Thank you for being as dedicated and committed to your passions as you were; you gave the world one of its best wrestlers and divers.

Thank you for being so unflinchingly yourself. Thank you for never holding back on your emotions, for saying what you were thinking and for letting the people around you know that you missed them and loved them. Thank you for saying to me what I wanted to but was too afraid to say to you. Thank you for giving me the courage to say it back. Thank you for giving me nothing but happy memories.

I’m sorry I never made you a perfect roti. I’m sorry we never got to watch a Bollywood movie together. I’m sorry I never did a dive with you or got to watch you wrestle in person. I was really looking forward to that. I’m sorry you weren’t able to take me to that new tea place in Hampden and that I wasn’t able to take you to Cloudy Donuts so you could once again remind me that donuts are a “subpar pastry.” I’m sorry I never beat you at Sequence — we’ll just have to assume I’m better. I’m sorry I didn’t hug you one last time.

I miss our Indian food nights. I miss our debates. I miss your cuddles and tickle attacks. I miss baking for you and with you. I miss having to wake up at 7 a.m. with you. I miss your smile and your contagiously loud laugh. I miss your teasing jabs and ready retorts. I miss you complaining about your endless cycle of “I hate eating” and “I ate too much.” I miss your fun facts about biology and sea creatures. I miss your silly faces and eye rolls. I miss the smell of your hoodie. I miss you annoying me. I miss you.

I’ve known you just a year and a half now, but I can’t imagine a life or a world without you. And I don’t want to. You continue to live in us. Your strength, your worries, your hopes, your laughter, your joy, your passion, your candor, your dedication. Through our memories, thoughts, keepsakes, pictures and videos, you continue to live in me and in the lives of every single person you touched. And however much you’d deny it, Bradlee, it was a lot of people. You don’t understand the impact you had on this world.

Bradlee was not, Bradlee still is.

I cannot and do not want to move on from you.

Today and every day I will move forward with you, with what you taught me, with the person you have made me and toward the person you inspire me to be every single day.

I am thankful for having you. I love you. I miss you. I gotchu always.

Love,

Aash

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