On a good day, I can step onto this tiny sun porch in this old nostalgic house haunted with a million memories of laughter, love, and joy.
Closing my eyes, it’s August of 1993. There’s a young girl sitting on that tired bamboo sofa covered in sun-faded flowers, her long tanned legs curled up under her, messy sun-kissed blonde ponytail that wishes it were drenched in sand and sun whipping about on the beach.
I can see her so clearly, I almost can convince myself to reach out and touch her. Have a conversation with her. Advise her…. Warn her maybe?
I’m not sure if I should….
But she’s too deep in concentration, brow furrowed, nose buried in a heavy textbook absolutely determined to intelligently decipher these wise debates between Aristotle and Socrates. At least enough to make her own clear arguments on any essay question put to her in the near future.
It’s her first semester of college. Her daddy is 100 feet or so away, his feet propped up on his favorite old blue lazy-boy recliner. The soothing soft sounds of golf play on the television, he dozes in and out, having just returned home from 18 holes in the perfect Michigan sun.
It’s summer of 1993. Her whole life is ahead of her. Her daddy will live forever. She’s confident she will be deeply loved someday by a wonderful man and they will have a beautiful happy family after she’s an established attorney providing legal counsel for the poor and underrepresented.
Her only concerns in this world are getting an A- not a B- on her political science exam Thursday, who she’ll hang out with Friday night, how she’ll manage to pay for 4 years of college, and if the weather will be as nice on Saturday so she can go to the beach since she’s had to spend this perfect summer week studying to make certain her GPA remains high enough to qualify for the honors courses.
She’s hopeful that her mom will love her…someday. She doesn’t really worry about such things though. She’s too determined and far too optimistic to stress. All she has to do is work hard and be a good human being. She just instinctively knows that she’ll be the most amazing human being, lawyer, wife, and mother someday.
She believes without hesitation that all the worst life can do to her is behind her.
All the best is yet to come.
Any possibility of future failure and a life full of empty loneliness and agonizing daily terrors aren’t even glimmers of thoughts in her head.
She doesn’t know she’s beautiful and I want to convince her. She’s endless optimism, an infinite summer frolicking on the beach. She’s hope and faith. She’s trust and kindness. I want to bottle that up, wrap it in cashmere and keep it safely tucked away in a drawer for some day when she’ll desperately need to believe in such things again.
I’ve so much to tell her. Dammit, she’s right there… and she needs to know…
She’ll never know or understand how i envy her. Even if I could tell her, she’d just set about to debate with me on the silly futility of envy and compassionately tell me every beautiful thing she sees in me that I can’t see at all.
I like her so much but she’ll never know that either until it’s too late and everything that she is and all that she believes has been depleted… vanished.