I set a challenge to our writing group a few weeks ago, based on something that went around some time ago — writing a letter to yourself or a fictitious take on it. I found myself writing as Lydia and this is what I wrote, should any of you want to have a read … but be warned, if you are still reading or yet to read the novel you might want to read it when you’ve finished. No nothing about what happened to Eleanor Boone, but there is a little spoiler about one of the other plot points. You have been warned!
That’s is how I start my letter to myself.
November 22 1963. I write myself: that feelin’ you got in your gut the size of Texas is right and soon that lovely President is gonna be dead and his brains splattered on the pretty pink dress of that wife of his. I can just imagine the look on the face of my young self readin’ that.
I cross it out.
How’s a sixteen-year-old negro with a gift her papa don’t approve of, gonna make anyone believe that? And even if I could, even I could stand right there in front of Mr Kennedy and tell him: don’t go to Dallas, you think he’s gone listen?
That’s why I don’t tell myself.
I start again:
Dear Lydia, somethin’ bad happened.
I write to myself that one day I’m gonna be driving around in a police car looking all over the county for a place that begins with the letter H. Because in my head I know the little girl who’s been missing for a few days is someplace that begins with the letter H. Just like I told them young cops. I am right o’ course, but by the time I get that figured out that little girl (who was alive when we set out) is already sittin’ on the back seat of the car next to me, wearing those muddy sneakers of hers. For those of you who don’t know my story or the story of little Sammie Sugar, I guess I better tell you, so there’s no misunderstandin’ on it – that little girl sat on the back seat; she was a ghost. Yes Sir. I could write myself: it’s gonna be a while before you figure out that place she was at, was her very own home. H for home and her own step daddy is the one who killed her.
Now I think about that a whole lot. Matter of fact I got me a headache from too much thinkin’ about that. If I’d got that part right maybe that little girl would still be alive and my name wouldn’t been all over the newspaper; Lydia Collins, police psychic gets it wrong. Lydia Collins is a fraud.
I cross that part out too. So I start this letter of mine, one more time:
Dear Lydia, somethin’ bad happened.
I write the date and the time and I tell myself Lydia, you tell your papa to go to the hospital. I write the word aneurism (I don’t even know if I spell it right or if my young self is gonna know what an aneurism is) so I cross it out. I write: somethin’ gonna burst in Papa’s head. I don’t just write it once, I write it over and over like kiddies chantin’ in a playground. But I realise somethin’ else as I write it. Maybe things happen the way they supposed to. I couldn’t’ve changed nothin’ if I told him, same way I couldn’t stopped Mr Kennedy gettin’ into that car at Love field, where my papa worked, or driving into Dallas. No Sir.
I couldn’t’ve stopped my momma cleanin’ the day she dropped down dead.
I couldn’t’ve stopped Eleanor Boone from lettin’ go of her momma’s hand that day on the grassy knoll.
And I sure couldn’t’ve stopped somethin’ burstin’ my papa’s head.
So I cross that part out and I write:
Dear Lydia, somethin’ good happened.
I even think about tellin’ my young self not to go and hurt Albert the way I did all them years ago.
But I don’t.
You see if I had’ve let that man kiss me again, back then, maybe we wouldn’t be the same people who met all them years later, all because of that little girl goin’ missin’ from the grassy knoll.
Maybe it better we don’t know. But of course there are lots of things I do know. I think about what life would be if I didn’t know any of them things; if I weren’t Lydia Collins, re-tired police psychic. But then, I wouldn’t be me now, would I?
So my letter must be the shortest letter you can get ’cause all it says is:
And now I gotta get ready to meet Albert at the park in Grapevine. Now he better not forget that ring (o’ course he don’t know I know about that).
Yes Sir, today somethin’ s defintely gonna happen.
©Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, 2014
Have a GREAT day!