I found your picture a while ago. Stored in a bin in my basement, air tight, sealed with a cover. It was kinda like opening a time capsule. The little girl staring back at me hadn’t changed since the day it was taken, she is stuck in time in some sort of suspended animation.
It stirred up emotions that had been buried for a long time. Emotions that I never expected to ever let resurface.
I look at the picture. A little girl. She is 10 or 11 years old. Any one who did not know her would think she was happy. She has a smile. But I know it is part of her mask, I know it is fake – forced. The twinkle in her eyes is long gone, replaced only by a muddled clarity.
I am overwhelmed with the sensation of wanting to protect her. To reach my hand through the photo paper – through time – so I could squeeze her hand. I want to pull her into my arms and give her a big gentle hug.
So much I want to tell her. Because at this point in her life. She is stuck. She feels so alone.
I want to tell her that everything is going to be alright. But that would be a lie. I want to tell her that today is the last day. But that will be a lie. I want to tell her it won’t hurt. But that will be a lie. I want to tell her that time heals all the wounds. But that will be a lie.
I wish I could tell her that she is not alone. That it is okay to ask for help. That someone will help her, all she has to do is ask. I want to tell her that it is okay to scream no.
I want to tell her that in the not-so-distant future someone will save her. As unlikely as it sounds. That she will rise up, that she will prove she has the strength to survive. That she is not only a fighter but a survivor.
I want to tell her to not give up, to stay courageous, to keep fighting. I want to tell her that I know these things as fact. I am not whispering half truths.
I know all these things to be true because……
……Sometimes I am still that little girl with the muddled clarity in her eyes.