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This is an exerpt from V for Vendetta. I saw a preview for the movie and wondered what it was. I found out that it was a comic book turned graphic novel written by Alan Moore about a post-World War III England that has fallen into a racist totalitarian state. It was astonishing, which is kind of sad, because I'm fairly certain that Warner Brothers will butcher it like they have everything else. Anyway, here's Valerie's letter, and the character Evey Hammond's reaction to it. I hope it tugs at you like it tugged at me.
"I don't know who you are. Please believe. There is no way I can convince
you that this is not one of their tricks, but I don't care. I am me, and I don't
know who you are but I love you. I have a pencil. A little one they did not
find. I am a woman. I hid it inside me. Perhaps I won't be able to write again,
so this is a long letter about my life. It is the only autobiography I will ever
write and oh god I'm writing it on toilet paper.
I was born in Nottingham in 1957, and it rained a lot. I passed my eleven
plus and went to girl's grammar. I wanted to be an actress. I met my first
girlfriend at school. Her name was Sara. She was fourteen and I was fifteen
but we were both in Miss Watson's class.
Her wrists. Her wrists were beautiful.
I sat in biology class, staring at the pickled rabbit foetus in its
jar, listening while Mr. Hird said it was an adolescent phase that people
outgrew... Sara did. I didn't.
In 1976 I stopped pretending and took a girl called Christine home to meet
my parents. A week later I moved to London, enrolling at drama college. My
mother said I broke her heart, but it was my integrity that was important. Is
that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it's all we have left in this place. It is
the very last inch of us...
... But within that inch we are free.
London: I was happy in London. In 1981 I played Dandini in Cinderella. My
first rep work. The world was strange and rustling and busy, with invisible
crowds behind the hot lights and all the breathless glamour. It was exciting
and it was lonely. At nights I'd go to Gateways or one of the other clubs,
but I was stand-offish and didn't mix easily. I saw a lot of the scene, but I
never felt comfortable there. So many of them just wanted to be gay. It was
their life, their ambition, all they talked about... And I wanted more than that.
Work improved. I got small film roles, then bigger ones. In 1986 I starred in
'The Salt Flats.' It pulled in the awards but not the crowds. I met Ruth working
on that. We loved each other. We lived together, and on Valentine's Day she
sent me roses, and oh god, we had so much. Those were the best three years
of my life.
In 1988 there was the war...
... And after that there were no more roses. Not for anybody.
In 1992, after the take-over, they started rounding up the gays. They took
Ruth while she was out looking for food. Why are they so frightened of us?
They burned her with cigarette ends and made her give them my name.
She signed a statement saying I seduced her. I didn't blame her. God I
loved her. I didn't blame her... But she did. She killed herself in her cell.
She couldn't live with betraying me, with giving up that last inch.
They came for me. They told me that all my films would be burned. They
shaved off my hair. They held my head down a toilet bowl and told jokes
about lesbians. They brought me here and gave me drugs. I can't feel my
tongue anymore. I can't speak. The other gay woman here, Rita, died two
weeks ago. I imagine I'll die quite soon.
It is strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three
years I had roses and I apologized to nobody. I shall die here. Every inch
of me shall perish...
... Except one.
An inch. It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world that's
worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must
never let them take it from us.
I don't know who you are, or whether you're a man or a woman. I may never
see you. I may never hug you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I
love you. I hope you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that
things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could
"I know every inch of this cell. This cell knows every inch of me. Except one."
- Eve Hammond
First journal entry, why not embarass myself just a little bit, right?
So I was at work one day, ringing people up,(I work at Suncoast Motion Picture Company) and this guy and his family come in. It's him and two kids, a girl and a boy. They pick out some movies and he comes up to the counter with a few and his daughter comes up with one of her own.
I ask if she's going to get it herself, she looks around 15, so I assume she's got money of her own, he confirms it. I ring him up, he pays with VISA, I check his ID, y'know the deal. Her turn now. Scan the movie, "Do you want a bag?" blah blah blah. She pays with a VISA.
Now it looks just like his, even as beat up as his, so I don't bother to check ID till I notice that she's pulled hers out. I say, "Oh cool, you've got one too? I had to wait to get mine," thinking that maybe there's some program at Bank of America where your child can have a limited check card in case of emergencies. She's looking at me like I've suddenly grown a second head. The thought never crossed my mind that she could be older, because she looks SO incredibly young and her chest is barely level with the counter that comes up to my waist. I'm only about 5'10.
Suddenly feeling stupid, realizing she might be 17 or 18, I check her ID. She's 25. It was probably the guy's freakin wife.
About this time I finish up the transaction, and without a word she's on her way, and it's my turn to feel small.