• Caren

letter from 2002


today i got a letter in the mail.


Dear Me,

Take a look, here. Now. See the date? See the name? This is your past speaking. So different and separate, there could be two of us. The me sitting at the kitchen table now, eating macaroni and alfredo, and the you, wherever you are, doing what you're doing. We coexist...

that was 17-year-old me. talking to 22-year-old me, home after another 8-hour shift (read: $62 minus tax and benefits) at starbucks, still wet from the shower, standing just a few rooms away from the kitchen where i ate that alfredo macaroni and fantasized about colgate.

my english teacher had us write these letters and she told us she'd send them in five years. five years exactly was last sunday. the letter was two looseleaf lined pages, front and back, in pencil. a lot of lighthearted chit chat. stuff i already know. asking me questions that i don't want to face right now. at seventeen, i thought maybe 22-caren would be happy to answer them. what are you doing with your life? have you figured out what to do with art and writing? did college give you answers? do you have a boyfriend? are you happy?

i don't know. no. not enough. no. and sometimes.

it would be nicer if it could go the other way, if 55-caren could write to 22-caren. maybe tell me to relax, it'll be ok. give me some advice or something resembling comfort.

is it normal to feel so out of sorts? sometimes i look down at my feet and i'm surprised to see the ground still firmly situated beneath them.