This blog was intended to be (at least partly) letters to my young self. I often wonder what I would try to tell that person who felt so confused, being twisted by the world to become something he was not, and at the same time to be made so embarrassed by what he was; weak, sensitive and loving.
Maybe instead of a letter, I could be part of his dreams…
The first flood of memory is the sound, then the smell of the place. Those come even before the sight of that beautiful sweep of beach framed by trees and water. It is a solitary place now and that means that it is late summer. The few visitors who come here are gone and it has been abandoned to the gulls, the dead fish and a boy.
Waves crash in on the sandy shore. That might be what put the boy to sleep, lying on the warm sand. The smell is dead fish that wash up with those waves, mixed with seaweed and other stuff that nature puts into that soup that foams and then retreats.
The boy hated the smell when he first came here. As a child of the city, he was used to human smells that weren’t more pleasant, but were familiar. After a time, he had learned to enjoy coming here for the solitude; a break from people who always expect him to be someone he isn’t. The sights, smells and sounds became the background, and those became part of the peace he found. He is asleep, but doesn’t know that, as he sees me walking along.
Taking off my sunhat, and shaking my hair free in the breeze I offer, “Gorgeous day isn’t it?” I decide to let him know that our meeting is my idea and I intend to intrude. “and a perfect place to be alone and think about things, too”.
He takes me in, looks out at the waves, looks back at me. “Are you a friend of dad’s?”
“He and I are related. I definitely know you. I know everything about you.” He is a very clever lad, so this will get him going.
“Sure, everyone thinks they can read my mind. Everyone knows me better than I know myself. O.K. so why am I here right now?”
“Let’s see. This is 1963 right; so this would be the summer you spent three weeks down here and met Andrea. She has gone home, so you came here so you wouldn’t have to hang around with the boys. How am I doing so far?”
“So we are related, you know Andrea. I don’t remember ever seeing you before, and why do you keep talking about stuff that is happening now as stuff you remember?”
“Think of me as your fairy godmother if you like. I am the one person who really knows you. Let me convince you. Last week, Andrea slipped while going into the trailer and cut her shin so badly it took seven stitches to close it up, so she hasn’t been able to go in the water since. She left for home this morning.”
“You must be a friend of Andrea’s mom to know all that stuff.”
“I told you, I know you, not Andrea. I had forgotten about her for a long time.”
“ You are so strange, lady.” I can tell he is really confused about a relative he doesn’t know. “So who are you then, an aunt or second cousin I haven’t met, because you look a lot like family?”
“I’m family alright. You call me Halle.”
“You mean ‘you can call me Halle’?” he said with a puzzled look.
“No sweet-cheeks, I got it right the first time. From my perspective, you are, or some future version of you is, sitting at home right now documenting this visit and you call me Halle. I am part of you, in a way.”
“Well you are a woman, and I am a boy, so you have that wrong, don’t you?”
The moment of truth; be gentle but firm too. “You can’t fool me, kid. I know this stuff, and no I won’t tell anyone, because I know how mixed up you feel about those boy/girl feelings.” Here comes the weird stuff, kiddo. “I am from one of your futures; probably quite a few of them, actually. In some of your futures, the person writing is me… it gets complicated.”
“A future where I am a woman? That’s possible? Now I am sure this is a dream and it’s time to wake up.” And he did just that; with a start; looking around.
In that instant where you waken, and a dream is fresh, you might remember most of it. After a while, it mostly goes away… mostly.
I really need to think about what he needs to know back then. Some of it might even help this version, older but hardly less confused most days.
continued in Part 2