I don’t know if that is your real name. Perhaps one day, I will have enough courage to find out, and actually send this to you. Until then, I am calling you Mary. I have a daughter now, whose
name is Mary.
I’ve thought of a hundred questions, a thousands apologies, and a million explanations, but they all seem utterly stupid, even before I have thought the thought through. I wish I could clear
my head, and write something honest and simple, but my brain just malfunctions. I’m sorry. So incredibly sorry.
I’m sorry for the pain I caused you, the little girl. I’m sorry for the smiles I stole from you, the insecure teenager. I’m sorry for the haunting memories of unexplained hatred I inflicted
on you, the grown woman. If I could take the cold look I gave you back, I would. If I could stop Allison from saying those things to you, I would.
It was my wife, who suggested I should write you. She assumed I knew your name, the lovely thing. I’m so happy, that I have her. She’s such a wonderful woman, but sometimes I see you in her.
Your black eyes resemble hers so much. Her dark skin is often warm in the sun, and I imagine yours heats up like that, too. But she has such a different aura, my dear Amy has. While the thought of
you makes me feel like some kind of monster, she makes me feel like a human. A human who errs, but still a human.
Amy and Mary. My two girls. Do you have any family, I wonder? Have you found a man, who loves you, appreciates you, and doesn’t care about your skin-colour? Maybe you have children, too?
Maybe only one? A daughter, perhaps? A beautiful little girl, with African curls, and long limbs. I can imagine her, when writing this. It makes me smile. Strange, isn’t it? Here I sit, at my desk,
at this ungodly hour, and create your children. Amy is waiting for me, lying in bed, and reading her favourite novel, while I finish the letter. I wonder if I ever will.
Have you forgotten about me, I wonder? I hope so. Maybe you even forgot Allison, too. When looking at Allison, you wouldn’t think, that she could be so mean. You wouldn’t believe it. She was
just an ordinary girl. I can only remember her somewhat, but she wasn’t devil-like. She was just a girl, like you. Just a little girl. But you… I remember you clearly.
A few days ago, I was visiting my daughter, Mary, at school. She just started preschool, she’s six years old. How old were you, when Allison and I bullied you? You can’t have been more than
eight, you were so small. Mary is small too. We’re trying to give her more food and make her sit still every once in a while, but it has proven impossible. That’s why I was taking her
to school that day, instead of Amy. Amy loves to be a mother, she’s so wonderful with children. But Amy hates confrontations, even if they’re just small. She and I had found Mary crying in her room
one day, because no-one in school wanted to play with her. The children thought she was weird, because she wasn’t – and I quote – ‘completely black or white’. Isn’t that unbelievable? Even
today, there are problems with skin colour. But now, it’s not so much the individual colour, as it is the mixing of the colours. Even when I walked across the playground at the school,
I could see it. African American children on one side, Caucasian children on the other. That was when I saw her. My little girl, sitting by herself, in the corner of the sandbox.
She looked so lonely.
For half a minute or so, I just stood, as if frozen, looking at my baby, all alone with all the children around her. None of them looked like her, and yet all of them, including her, looked
alike. I don’t think, I can explain it better. And then, the most miraculous thing happened. A little girl with pale skin and dark hair walked over to me. She asked me who I was, and what I
was doing there. I said I was Mary’s father, and that I wanted to visit my daughter. The little girl’s face then lit up in a smile, and she waved goodbye, while running towards the sandbox.
She took hold of another little girl, who looked a lot like her, probably a sister, and dragged her towards Mary. Each of them sat down on either side of her, and they took a plastic
bucket each, and filled them with sand. One of them, the sister, then tapped Mary on the shoulder, and pointed at me, when Mary looked up. I’ve never seen my little girl so happy, and so
surprised. I waved at her, she waved back, and then I left the school, went back home and finished the letter to you, the little Mary of my past. The one I couldn’t help, because I was too
scared to stand up against the only friend I had.
© Copyright 2016 Jossie Deveroux Tchaikovsky. All rights reserved.