Stanton’s project reminded me of something that a kid in one of my classes said the other day. He said that we write as a way to make the past tangible, to touch who we have been and the world that we have known.
I jotted those words down into my notes immediately and thought of them all day. I thought of how maybe that is why I write so much about one particular period of my life, even now, even all of these years later. Because perhaps more than anything, I just want to reach through all of the years and the thick vines that have grown over them, and hold the hand of the girl that I was as she lay in the moonlight, not knowing, not ever knowing, what lurked in that silvery glow. Not yet knowing that sometimes, beginning are also endings. That sometimes, things can be so sweet that they rot. I would want to hold her hand, to really reach out and touch it, as she fell to her knees in pain that hot summer day when it felt like the world was crumbling around her. I would want to sit up with her, shoulders touching, all of those restless nights that she spent reading anything she could about heartbreak and grief and loss. I would wipe her tears with my own hands if I could. I would use my own shirt. I would wring it out in the moonlight.
But I can’t. So I write. I touch her hand, her shoulder, and her wet face through words. They are the only portal that I have ever found.