To: The child I once was


Do you remember that letter you wrote on your second day at Kinnelon? It was the letter you wrote in health class with all the other freshmen, addressing the version of yourself that lives in the future. You will never have the chance to read that letter again, so don’t bother writing it. I remember you were quite anxious about finishing it. You did not know what to say to your ‘future self’. I remember you made references to a period of your life that was unimportant to you even then. I have always wondered whom you were trying to fool. You were informed that no one else would ever read it, so why did you bother writing it?

I remember you thinking that the past is just a distant memory that is separated from you by the membrane that is time. It made you feel that all you had was the present. The present for you was not a pleasant time to live in, I remember. I am glad to tell you, you are wrong to some extent. The past will be locked away from you forever- that much is true, you will never experience it again- but you won’t be stuck in this present. You have a future that will eventually became the present. You will cherish this future. You will only learn how to when you realize that the future has already become the past.

Hold close to you the things that are important. You may not know what it is yet, but it knows you. Trust me when I say that it will find you in your near future and give you a purpose that you did not know you had. It will show you a whole world that exists in front of your face, but you did not have the courage to open your eyes and witness it. I do not blame you for this lack of courage though. What you will soon see is quite terrifying, but you will survive.

Just make sure that you don’t forget who you are. People are easily manipulated when they forget their identity. They would be like a blank canvas longing for colour. This longing is dangerous, it can persuade one to settle for what is beneath them.

In a few years it would be another’s turn to write these same words to me in a letter that I will never read. Time will stand in the way. It would be the same sequence of letters that hold a completely different meaning. That is what time does to words- it fills them with wisdom and deplete them of innocence. It is true that ignorance is bliss, but trust me bliss is of no use to you. It is better to be wise and alert than blissful. Just because you are unaware of a threat does not mean it is any less threatening.

You will learn these things soon; I just thought I should give you a forewarning. I would have appreciated a forewarning. Perhaps a forewarning would defeat the purpose of life. If you are prepared for everything, you would never fail and if you never fail, you will never learn. That is why I continue to neglect my upcoming math tests: preparation will inhibit my ability to learn.

Don’t take me too seriously dear, I’m only joking (to some extent). To some extent, however, I am right. Don’t worry too much about life. It will happen, one way or another. You can’t stop it, all you can do is pray.

This will be the last time I write to you. You won’t hear from me again, because I won’t exist again. The person who is writing this letter to you at this moment will cease to exist before she finishes this sentence. That is just what time does to you. When your past dies, your future is born. Just remember that I am with you, resting in your mind, waiting to be born.

Forever yours,

All rights reserved © 2019 Josephine Joyi

My Mom’s Crepes

When I was in middle school, I lived in Sweden. I remember that I took the tunnelbana- which is what they called the subway- to school every day. I used to eat my breakfast on the train ride to school everyday as it was the norm for me to wake up late everyday. I would always arrive at school a solid five minutes late, but that didn’t matter because the teacher was always ten minutes late. So I would be at ease, enjoying my breakfast crepes, as I admired the beautiful sceneries of Stockholm, Sweden flash by outside the window. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure that what I was eating could technically be defined as a crepe- they weren’t technically made with the same recipe-  but it walked like a crepe and it talked like a crepe, so for now its a crepe. 

As I passed through the handful of stations that existed between my school in Hötorget and my house in Gullmarsplan, I crossed over two major water bodies. The realization that there was an entire island between my house and my school only hit me after I left Sweden. I remember that I was actually in a train in India- passing over a similar water body- when the thought crossed my mind. I do enjoy the irony.  

My mom’s crepes are not a pleasure food. It is quite the opposite actually. It’s what you make when you have two cups of flour and no time on your hands. It’s the kind of junk food with a ‘healthy twist’ that leaves you wondering why you decided to pick it of all things to be your sugary snack for the day. Now, I don’t intend to publicly criticize my mother for her odd crepes.  My mom is a good cook, who can make great food. The problem is that most great foods are bad for you and my mom is a health nut. I enjoyed my mother’s crepes, nonetheless,  despite their odd twist. 

I remember that my mom only made these crepes for breakfast on school days. She always packed about three or four for me to enjoy on the train ride to school. By the ninth grade, I no longer took the train to school, so I could no longer enjoy crepes for breakfast. We only get to enjoy them now on Friday nights for a mid night snack. Even those occasions are not very frequent. In a way, I like to think of my weaning off of these crepes as an ending sign. 

Its Hötorget, my stop has arrived. Except this time, I won’t be walking out of the train station and heading to my school. This time, I’ll be catching a connection train that will be taking me to a further destination. I’m not sure where the train is headed, but I’m sure that it will pass over a bridge. And, I’ll think about how I used to travel over islands going 300 miles per hour, while peacefully enjoying my crepes on my way to school. And perhaps one day I’ll be the one making those crepes for a kid whose is  rushing out the door everyday, late for first period.

All rights reserved © 2019 Josephine Joyil