Walking Alone

Submitted into Contest #1 in response to: Write a story about a sweet sixteen.... view prompt

17 comments

Coming of Age Sad

My dearest baby daughter,

In sixteen years your father will give this letter to you. You don't know me, and may never know. I am your mother.

Why should I write to you? Why should I ever make myself known to you? I do so because I love you. I do so because I want you to know that I love the gray drizzle of rain in the early morning and the music of Beethoven. I do so because of an old yellow umbrella I once owned as a child.

I could not bear it if you knew nothing of me. I could not bear it if I did not tell you the story of my yellow umbrella. I have so much to tell you, my own, my love. So much! There is so much of life that I must tell you, whisper into your perfect tiny ear while you are still so innocent. There's so much in the world; I cannot let you travel through life alone.

I would like to think that the experiences of life that I have accumulated have climaxed in this moment. I would like to think that you will remember me throughout every day of your life. These facts are simply not true. My memories, my history and my family, my loves and losses and laughters and tears, are all but a trickle of stardust in a universe of supernova. You will come to understand this as you grow old and live life on your own.

My mother was named Magnolia. My father was named Richard, and they met when they were very young, 12 and 13 respectively. They were married eight years later. I am the sixth of nine children.

Why do I tell you this? Because of life. I want you, as you live, to have a solid foundation at your back, a simple and loving foundation of a family heritage. With you always is the history of your grandmother and mother and great great aunts. Your name will be one that I love, one that has history. And I will tell you why. Your name is such because of my mother, my grandmother, and my favorite great aunt, Verity, the best painter I have ever encountered. You take their names because I give them to you.

Your father – don't get me started on him. Him I love more than I love the sea. I love him more than taffy candy and the color orange put together. We met in high school, that first freshman day in high school. He asked me out right after graduation. We were married when I was 22, and he was 23. I got pregnant with you three years later. I'm 25 now, and have so much to say, and so little space and time to say it.

My own Beatrice. What do I say to a daughter who I have never seen before? Do I tell her I love her, that I've always loved her and will always love her? Do I tell her why she will never see my face, and will grow up with only a father in her life? Do I tell her what my favorite book has been? My favorite composer? What I hope her career will be? Can I tell her that the love of a mother for her child is so strong that it burns?

No, I cannot. For I have come to see these things in my own way, through living life of my own. I grew up, Beatrice, without my mother. My grandfather raised me. I have never known a mother, and I deplore the tradition which seem that seems to haunt our line; my mother was raised by her father as well. You will be as well.

My first child, my first and only and most beloved child. I can't say how hard it will be for you, walking alone through life without me. Or how hard it will be for me to go on, without you.

I write this letter because of many things. I have said this. I write this because of Dickens. I write this because of you. I write this because of the calico cat I owned when I was fifteen, the cat that came from a homeless shelter in Montana all the way back home to Dallas. My yellow umbrella, as well, has affected this letter. The other bed tucked into the envelope is from that umbrella. When I was five, I ran away. My grandfather had told me the truth about why I didn't have a mother. So I ran outside into the rain with my umbrella, because I was going to find her.

I walked for miles that day. I still remember how my legs ached and how my stomach complained. All I had was the picture of my mother that grandfather had given me, and that yellow umbrella. I walked from the small book-infested White House where we lived to the wealthy end in town, where the sidewalks are wider than I was tall, and the house fronts rose up high and looming in the storming, clashing sky.

I curled up on a doorstep and dreamed away the tears.

When I woke, I was in the arms of my grandfather. He'd been searching all day, all night, for me and my little yellow umbrella. He was so relieved to finally see that bubble of yellow that I had put up around me against the rain. I hope and pray, dearest Beatrice, that you will have no such experience.

I have kept that umbrella ever since. The color has faded but the memories have not.

My Beatrice. I love you more than tongue can tell you. I can say no more than that. If the doctors words prove true and you will, indeed, grow up without me, and I want you to know this: I love you. I have always loved you. I will always love you. I trust you, and if I had lived, I would never have stopped loving you. I have instructed your father to give you this letter on the day you turn sixteen, sweet sixteen, because I believe that at that age you will understand better.

I feel the beginnings of labor now. I will do my best in the next day or so, but that is all I can promise.


Your mother.

August 04, 2019 22:48

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17 comments

Magarette Daya
02:55 Sep 22, 2020

This both sad and happy at the same time. It is lovely. The storyline is beautiful and dark but in a good way.

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Waverley Stark
17:40 Oct 03, 2019

Awww... now I want her to live!

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22:59 Mar 01, 2021

Zillaaaaaaaaaaaa I hate to ask this butttttt can i have some writing advice? you're one of the best authors i know and i'm not the best, plus you've read some of my work so what do i need to do to improve??? you don't have to respond...

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Zilla Babbitt
18:00 Mar 02, 2021

Now why did you ask on my first story? Don't be ashamed of asking for advice! I'm not that great at giving it and anyway it usually consists of "go read more" and I know you already have that under control. I would say... Reedsy is a great place to get better. Keep writing as long as you can, and try to be consistent in posting. I would also work on a novel project at the same time. Read, read, read, from history to boring science to poetry to fiction to trashy fanfic to sci fi to memoir to essays to speeches to blurbs on the backs of book...

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18:17 Mar 02, 2021

Aw, well I was just a LEETLE ashamed, but thanks you!!! Ok, so I will certainly take all of this advice to heart. My writing tends to be meandering or unclear, so I will need to practice some new things. It means so much that you responded, thanks youuuuuu!!!!!!!!!

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Sylvan Gibbs
01:01 Nov 20, 2021

great advise, although I could add "to read lots with an authors mind" a quote from a teacher of mine few years back, to which you think of both plot and character(s) aside and focus on how could You could improve this like larger novels I have read, I'm always taking mental notes of how they depict the scene, introduce a character or conversation and like interactions. sometimes even visualizing an alternate ending of a story you are reading can give great insight while writing your own works of any size. (now if only i had time to write lo...

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<Inactive> .
08:45 Mar 02, 2021

Your writing is great :) All writers have something to work on, and the main thing I can think for you is improving on hooks, and diversity. By hooks, I mean the first few sentences that draw in the reader. And diversity not only in characters but perspectives, tenses, and genres (especially 2nd POV. I know you hate it, but it makes for an incredible immersive experience for the reader, and I don’t see you using it a lot. At all, actually) Otherwise, you do an amazing job in showing instead of telling and I don’t see any info dumps in your s...

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12:44 Mar 02, 2021

Oh hey Priya!!!! Awwwwwwwww you're too kind!! I would love to try out new perspectives, and I will certainly try out some new things, but I don't think I'll try out new genres because I like the one I have and want to focus on improving in it. Awwwwwww, again, too kind!!!! I'll certainly try!!!!

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<Inactive> .
15:51 Mar 02, 2021

Aw thank you~ These were all suggestions, and agreed, I really love your current genre :D And yes, you are a splendiferous writer!!

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15:54 Mar 02, 2021

:DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

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Katy S.
17:46 May 04, 2020

This is heartbreaking!

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Lola Davidson
17:28 Apr 16, 2020

This story was so amazingly written that I want to continue to hear more! This was beautiful and poignant. It is powerful and wondrous! You do not come across many stories like this one! I am awestruck with the outcome of this story! Amazing job!

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This is so sad and beautiful I am crying right now.

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B. W.
14:23 Sep 19, 2020

Okay so i'm just going and checking out a lot of your stories now because i still have only checked out a few of them and i haven't seen this one either. For your first story you were still really great with your stories, were you ever by chance writing already before you got onto Reedsy or something? Honestly, that ending was really sad and she'll die after she gives birth, right? like i said i've only checked out a few stories so i'm not sure if you ever did something like a sequel but tell me if ya did, if you haven't i know its the very ...

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14:38 Aug 17, 2020

Woah

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Oliver Paradox
15:35 May 13, 2020

WOW. This is amazing!

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Keya Jadav
11:21 Jul 26, 2021

The way this story has been written with torrents of emotions, it's lovely. It makes you feel the pain and the sea deep love of a mother towards her daughter. Well done Zilla :) P.S: I know you are such a fantastic writer and I love all your stories. If possible, can you please check out some of my stories and share your review. It would be very helpful and would give me the right direction to where to improve. Thankss!

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