To A Smile From A Distant Past

 

Dear Five-Year-Old Me,

It has been a while since I last saw you in photographs smiling, worry-free, and naïve to the worst of the world. In this picture, your slightly slanted chocolate colored eyes contain the spark of freedom that comes with childhood, the one that is not yet subjugate to the ideal of a perfect woman you will have to struggle to be every day. Your hands are occupied pulling up two big lobsters by their antennas, and even though their thorns are prickling your tiny little fingers, the curiosity of what kind of animal they are lets you hold them enough time to capture this moment. You don’t know it yet, but the man helping you hold the lobsters is your grandfather. He will help you grow up, will hold your hand when you fall, and tell you that everything will be okay.

He will make you “chichis”, a baby bottle filled with milk and Nesquik because you won’t fall asleep before drinking your precious liquid. Most importantly, he will make you feel loved and cared for no matter what. The years will go by pretty fast even though you will have no notion of it. Your knowledge of the sea will grow with each passing year, because, believe it or not, your grandpa is making sure his legacy does not die with him. School will seem interesting but not as much as playing doctor with your dad at home. Yes, your dad. That is who your grandpa will grow up to be for you. As you get older and understand the frailty of life, you will wonder: What will happen when he no longer is here? What will happen with you then?

Some nights he’ll come home and tell you stories about his day, repeat them once, twice a never-ending loop that concludes with the same sentence: “When I die it will be up to you to take care of your grandma”, but you will think nothing of it until…

Ten years ahead you will grow up to be me. A cunning, emotional yet strong woman capable of making her dreams come true. You still don’t have that yellow Volkswagen with the pink rose on the dashboard, or even got your bachelor’s finished, but thanks to your grandpa you had the best childhood a child could ever hope for, and that helps you survive in a corrupted world, where material things are more important than moments shared. You will take one last look at that photograph and smile while emotions swell up inside of you trying to burst through, your eyes water and a teardrop escapes and lands on top of it his face smudging the perfection of a moment from the past, a moment stuck in time from almost seventeen years ago.

 

I love you little me, until we meet again.

Yours truly,

Thay