“I HOPE THIS finds you well.
But if it doesn’t, I’m so sorry for whatever you’re carrying right now. You must be tired.”
That’s how the first draft of this post began — and this final one, too, I guess — before it went some ways into trying to convince you that you are wonderful, and that I know it, despite not ever having met you. I pointed to little moments I cherish, given to me by people who will not now recall I exist, and that just as surely, you are the catalyst for similar moments without your knowing so. It went as follows:
“I know you’re wonderful, because I once was sitting alone in a cafe, in a city not my own, and a woman came up to me, just to tell me she liked my freckles. There’s no way she could’ve sensed, but I’ve always been fond of them and it felt wonderful to have someone think they’re lovely, too.
Over a decade later, I still remember my Year 8 English teacher, who spared some minutes after school to read my awful poetry, which I look back on with gratitude, though she will never know.
And a nurse, in the final hours of a night shift, made me laugh through my labouring pain, while we waited for my obstetrician to arrive — before going home and probably never thinking of me again. But it made all the difference to me in my fear.
I am not the last stranger with freckles in Downtown LA; no doubt Mrs White encountered so many more aspiring teenage writers; and there have since been so many first-time mothers in that mint green birthing suite. But for me, there will only be those three who could’ve given me those specific moments of joy and comfort.”