I'm writing this letter to you now, because it's time to write it. I know you won't read it for a while, because you can't read yet. I hope you'll learn to read soon, but who knows how long it'll take? And who knows how much you'll need to know, even when you do learn, in order to understand my message? Well, I'll keep it simple, if only so you can read this when you achieve the first-grade level, and so you won't have to wait until you're in the ninth grade. I CAN write on the ninth-grade level if I choose, you know. Anyway, as I said, now is the time to write this letter, because, sad to say, I'm going to die tomorrow.
Apparently, my number is up. I have one foot in the grave today, and while I may not have two feet in the grave tomorrow since burials usually take more than a dayI will soon have both feet, both hands, torso and head in the jar or the box or the tomb, or whatever you want to call it in whatever religion you've chosen to follow by the time you're old enough to read this.
I do hope you've thought about a spiritual path, because obviously I have not. I don't really know what it means to say that my number is up tomorrow. Has someone put a bunch of numbers in a hat and chosen mine in a sort of cosmic lottery? Is there a supreme mathematician who has simplified the equation of my life, reduced a numerator and denominator, and determined the expiration date of my number?
But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to use the word "sky" in this letter, because it is, by consensus, a good word to use, and you used it yourself today. You asked if you could touch the sky. And I sort of ignored you, but I looked up at the sky for longer than I normally would have, and I saw that it was pale blue, and impossibly out of reach. And then you said, "Maybe when I get bigger." And I didn't know what to say, because time won't bring the sky closer, at least in my eyes. But in your eyes, it might. Unfortunately, I won't be around to find out.
"Dear Daughter" appeared in Failbetter and in Baby Steps (Sisyphus Press).