This week, The Hindsight Letters is excited to share a Letter by acclaimed writer Eros-Alegra Clarke.
Dear me at 13:
I suspect that everything I want to tell you, you already know.
In my memories you’ve given me small prophetic clues. Like a magpie chasing treasure, I have followed your hints: cicada song, the scent of lilac and moss, a snake skin drying beneath the sun, an index box full of stories, clay statues of mermaids with dragon wings, and a bedroom decorated in cut out paper vines and fake flowers.
There were the days of wandering through graveyards, telling ghost stories, and nights spent waiting for Peter Pan to arrive and bring you to Neverland. You gave me vivid dreams of discovering Eden, of learning to fly, of walking across narrow bridges between canyons, and tropical waters where sharks chased you to shore. In your hand a strawberry ice cream cone became proof that the universe was perfectly made. The stained sidewalk of a San Francisco street, the feel of damp bark in your hand, the sway of Eucalyptus trees lining a trail through the woods, these memories offered the understanding that loneliness and grief are as important as joy and sunlight. During the years that the world passed through you without a filter of anxieties and limitations, you gathered everything I would need later in my life when I’d lost my way.
Several years ago, I returned to the reservoir in Ithaca, N.Y. where you used to play as a child. I crouched down on the shale rock, ran my hand through the waters where you hunted for small companions with your green fishing net, and instead of feeling sorrow or apology at all of the ways I might have betrayed you, I whispered, “We made it.”
I realized that this letter wasn’t going to be a set of instructions on how to avoid mistakes or pain. This letter needed to be a thank you, a love note.
We have lived together in a cycle of beautiful prophecy. If I could tuck a note in the crack of a gravestone where you might find it, I would simply want to tell you this: You were right. One day, you will become a surfer and soar along the face of a wave like a mermaid with dragon wings. You will write stories. You will travel the world. You will swim with sharks. One day you will look in your daughter’s eyes and understand your own beauty. You will be loved by a man who accepts you. You will plant gardens. You will again discover the perfection of the universe in the taste of ice cream. You will be remembered in all of the details.
Eros-Alegra Clarke is editor-in-chief of “Milk & Ink”, an online literary magazine that celebrates “family in the extreme,” which just published its first literary Anthology, “Milk & Ink: A Mosaic of Motherhood”. She won the 76th Annual Writer’s Digest grand prize for her personal essay, “Salamander Prayer,” and placed in the 4th Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards. She can be found blogging about life, writing, and motherhood at: http://alegra22.wordpress.com/ and www.milkandink.com.