Dear River Phoenix,
I remember the first time I saw you. A cigarette half in your mouth, cheekbones carved for days and that close cropped mousy blonde hair.
Stand By Me was beautiful. But it was more than that- I fell in love with you.
I remember looking you up online and found all these pictures of you, some from Stand By Me, some from your other films. You were young, vulnerable yet tough at the same time. And then I saw that you'd died.
You were twenty three.
I think my heart skipped a beat, maybe the world stopped for a second.
Whenever I watch your films, your interviews, there's an energy like I've never felt before.
I never met you, but I want to pull you out of the screen and talk with you for a while.
Nothing else. Just talk. About anything and everything.
You've been gone for as long as you were on this earth.
I turned twenty three last month. The same age as you will always be.
You were a boy. A boy who never got the chance to show the world everything else you had to offer.
I remember finding out that you'd died. That was the moment I realised what could happen to innocence.
I don't believe your death was fate, or karma, or destiny. Whatever you want to call it.
I believe it was a fluke, a mistake, a glitch. Something terrible that should never have happened.
I've learned so much about living because of you.
You were a beautiful soul, a work of art. Gentle and kind. Loving and caring.
Forever twenty three.
Thank you for everything.