This is an apology letter to myself, to her, to everyone who has ever felt this way. It may seem to arrive a bit late, but the truth is, it’s never too late to learn to care for yourself. My dear, you care for everyone else, but never for you. You go days without eating so you can send him money. You calm yourself down after a nightmare just so you don’t wake him up. You fight your own battles, and you also fight his battles. You see the good in him, even when there is nothing but rust and shadows, but you fail to evaluate yourself to your worth. My dear, this letter has no expiration date. Read it, then reread it. Memorize it. Put it in between the covers of a book or on your nightstand. Believe it, because it is true. I promise you, there has never existed something more worthy of sharing, more real than this. I swear to you, this letter is imprinted in the shell I carry around with me instead of a backpack. Someday, I’ll welcome you inside and show you its walls.
“I’m sorry I was late. I’m sorry I was missing, but I had no idea I was. I only learned the story long after the railroad lost its track, long after the first pebble went missing. I was weak, too, so I was trying to mend myself. But even if I hadn’t been, I couldn’t help you as much as I wanted to. My voice was cracked open, and it did not reach you, it broke in the middle of forming the wave. I eventually turned my eye from the night’s sky toward you, because I heard you crying. The half-wave hit you, and you screamed in horror.
I picked up the leftovers among the already-formed knots and tangles and sat down, hurting my fingers in the solid mass.
She poured her soul in front of him. She was only learning how to manage herself, but she learned to put him first in between two heartbeats. She painted her world using only strokes of blue paint, her new favourite colour. She learned to cook, she learned to mend wounds she never knew existed. Slowly, she learned to please, to obey, to blame herself. The same hands that were caressing his temples late at night seemed now useless, good only for choking her newborn tears. She gathered seas and threw them in the old garage owned by her father. She hurt her knees when she was whispering prayers she hadn’t ever learned, all of them for his happiness, his well-being. For him. She never spared a prayer for herself, thinking he would protect her. She gave herself as she was, full of promises and ripped flaws blurring her edges. She was wearing this nice hat, with an emerald ribbon, which he took and put it playfully around her finger, and she never took it off. She had a lonely childhood. Words were coming shyly out of her mouth, her eyes bowed way too much; she was told she was no good. He saw her walking across the street, bowed and offered a consolation; he won her over in the time needed for hot tea to burn your tongue. He offered her a spot to sit next to him on a yellow bench, so that he could enjoy her features for one night, she offered him a spot to sit next to her in the bus going straight to nowhere, so that she could hold his hand when they were crossing the borders. He had told her once he liked her voice, because it was soothing, so she picked up reading and read for him before he went to bed. Stop it, he said one day, I am no child. I am bored. You annoy me. She blamed herself for doing the same thing every night, so she stopped reading for him. She only read when she was alone in the bathroom, in the morning, with her feet in cold water, waiting for him to come back home. Back home, back to her. She fell in love so easily, so deeply, while still being vaguely aware that she could lose herself. The beauty of it was that she chose to move past that and grant him her trust. She cared for him as a mother, as a friend, and ultimately, as a lover. She cared for him as no one had before. She was willing to spare everything to look after him. He was willing to spare a Monday night once a month to see her.
Now, she was reading so much, but she still did not understand. She refused to. She turned a blind eye to her senses and kept going, because the vertigo was tempting, oh, so tempting. Tempting like the sea during the evening in August. Tempting like a forbidden book. Tempting like the fatal sin. She chose to let herself fall, still hoping he would come to offer his hand again. He never came. She is still falling, to this day.
What she never understood is that if he was meant to be, if they were meant to be, he could find no escape from her arms. He would not have even thought about it. She never understood that the blue in his eyes was polluted by the black pitch of his madness. She never understood that he polished his shoes, but he never wiped his heart.
One night, when the dolphin was bathing in the moonlight, she came to realize that she had been wasting herself to nothing. She came to realize that her suitcase had never been fully unpacked. She came to realize that the blue could stretch no more. She came to realize that her palms had been purple already, and her feet were itching.
She stood up, and her legs moved, leaving behind them faded traces of all the shades of blue she had been using.
She finally came to realize that she had been her only home, throughout it all.’’