A Deserted Beach and the 10 Year Letter

Im not sure there is anything more evocative than a deserted white sand beach.

Discovery of such can lead a person to do strange things, like run with jazz hands, sing loud and dance like a mad man. If this wasn’t strange enough it can also stir buried feelings deep within the soul and maybe, on occasion cause you to act on them.

This happened to me last week, and after I’d done with singing and dancing I sat down to do something that I have been meaning to do for the last 10 years.

Estranged

I have not spoken to my mother in ten years.

When I tell people this they are often surprised, maybe not just by the duration but by the objective manner in which I can talk about it, like it was a different life to my own. They wouldn’t be wrong in making this assumption. It was such a long time ago, a lifetime ago caused by events outside of my control, and in the years that passed it didn’t trouble me too much, buried in a Pandora’s box I had no desire to open.

But as got older I started to think differently about the problem. With experiences of my own I could reflect on what happened and perhaps try to understand why she acted in a way that she did. But even though these feelings came and went I sat on them, afraid of what may come if I roused the issue.

Travelling however brings such experiences in abundance. Amongst them buried in a book I bought in India, I read that whatever happens to us at any present moment, be it joyful or painful, is what we are supposed to be experiencing in that moment.

At first I found this hard to get my head around, how can we accept something that is painful? But of course we can’t see in to the future, and that thing of pain may also bring us to a place of joy which we wouldn’t have attained were it not for the pain.

Applying this logic to the beach I’m sure some of the people I’ve met, books I’ve read and kindness I’ve been shown had led me to what I was about to write. I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment.

I never saw your red

Though there have been a number of conversations and situations that I could attribute to bringing me to this point it was recently that the sentence above got me thinking, over a conversation about colour blindness no less.

“Tell me what you see when you look at red” I asked
” I can’t, I never saw your red”

Now maybe I shouldn’t read in to things so much but that sentence sounded so lovely to me and I thought about how it applies to people and disagreements, how can we cast judgement on a problem if we don’t know why someone acted in the way they did? How can we know how they see their red?

And then on the beach it dawned on me that I had been waiting for an apology, acknowledgment or similar for years without so much as expressing my side of things. That and I had no idea of what the reasons were behind the situation which led to the events that followed.

Letter

So how do you write a letter like this after ten years? Gripping a box of tissues and watching screwed paper balls pile up? No, not at all. I sat and wrote the whole thing, (six sides of A4) in an hour straight without so much as crossing out a word. It flowed out of me, effortless, like it had been there all ready to come out for years.

The tone wasn’t angry and with that came the most important words I put on the paper: I forgive you wholeheartedly and hope you can forgive me too. And I meant every single word of it.

After I’d got all the serious stuff out of the way it was time to say what I’d been doing for the last ten years, on the one remaining side. Without thinking too much I found myself writing all kinds of random things, like how I still don’t like cucumbers or going upside down but do have a love of baking and earrings. Of course I could have written more, but the sun had set leaving me in darkness and I had no more paper left.

I couldn’t think of a better place to write something like this and the fact that I’d run out of light brought a nice end to it. I couldn’t even read it back to myself until someone switched the generator on later.

And so there it is. It’s called a journey for a reason and this is part of mine. How it ends I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter, because whatever it is I’m sure it will be where I’m supposed to be. For that moment anyway….

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