A letter about you, and me, and my dad
I've been thinking about stories a lot recently. Mainly because I've been reading, and trying to write, a lot of them. The only thing I remember from English lessons is that 'every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end'. So, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
I started writing my last letter to you in November. Well, it was actually a letter to my dad, on what would have been his sixtieth birthday — had he not died sixteen years earlier. I haven't written to my dad in a long time. I used to send messages to his phone for a while after he died, and I tried talking aloud to him a few times. I never believed in an after life though, so I was never really sure what I was hoping for. But there was always this nagging desire inside me, to send those words into the world in some tangible form, for whatever reason.
I still think about my dad constantly. Subconsciously, and usually slightly out of focus. But for the past few months, those thoughts have been sharper. I've been having conversations with him, well with myself, over and over. And that same urge started to tug at my insides again. The urge to send those words into the world and make them real somehow. So I thought I would write him letter and send it to you, since he died so long ago that he didn't even have an email address.
I had written hundreds of letters to him in my head. But when I came to write the words down, I couldn't get further any than: "Dad,"
The next time I started writing to you was a week ago, on my birthday. It was the start of a new year for me, and not long after the start of a new year for you. I used to be crushed by the weight and expectation of every new year, before it had even begun. I always felt immense pressure to make big resolutions, set big goals, and change my life for real this time. As much as I liked to believe that pressure was external, it only ever came from me.
I eventually stopped putting all that pressure on myself, when I realised that lives are rarely changed by resolutions made on January 1st. Lives are rarely changed in huge, earth-shattering ways. Lives are changed quietly, little by little, over time. Lives are changed on April 19th, and July 3rd, and October 27th. Lives are changed by choosing a direction, and walking.
I stopped believing in endings the moment my dad died. I stopped believing in beginnings too. His death made me believe that the only thing a story truly has is a middle. Our stories existed before the beginning, and they will continue after the end. The only thing that matters are the moments in between. Like this one, right now. And this one, and this one...and this one. Every second of our story up to now has been leading to this moment.
Anything and everything is possible.