DEAR GRANDCHILDREN

DEAR GRANDCHILDREN

28th September 2067

Dear grandchildren,

I am writing you because it’s already late, I don’t know what is awaiting me, or what I have left, and I feel there are things I would like you to know, things I don’t want you to repeat with the inconsequent recklessness of the young age of an imprudent kid who thinks he has all the time left.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the elder.

I would lose myself in the wisdom that time had carved on their skin, in the years that their fixed eyes saw pass in front of them each time they told a story.

I would sit on park benches with those who would complain of the pain in the spine that supported too many memories, and who would hang out there, in the center of the little village of Resende.

I remember enjoying their hoarse, melodic voice, tempered by the screams and the words they kept unsaid along the years.

My parents always cultivated my love for the wisest. The respect for those who have lived so much, but who today have a hard time surviving. They didn’t have to know how to read or write to deserve my time and attention, they didn’t have to be educated or specialists in a subject.

All I ever wanted was to listen to what those who survived the drama of being alive had to say.

Some, abandoned by the ingratitude of the younger. Others, who had lost their successors along the way. Others, tied to beds by illnesses who showed up without warning.

But the biggest wound they showed me, was the one caused by the loss of the person they loved most in life, partners of a lifetime, their basis for white-clouded dreams and castles that time was unable to darken.

I would become a kid, then a girl, and the comfort of surrounding myself with those who had lived more than me never faded. I started to attract anything that was different – all those who had something to tell and didn’t have someone who would listen.

I attracted the mad, the furious, the starved for life, and those who had already quit.

And all of them, without exception, taught me that there is much more beyond what we see, what we feel, what we believe in.

The elder, except for the more reserved ones – but I would say even those – never spared themselves when it came to the romanticism they transmitted to me about life. Sometimes I regret growing up surrounded by so many of them who loved each other so much – it made me go from kid, to young adult, to woman, always believing that I could have that too, that I could breathe that insatiable thirst of someone who has a great love for life.

During my time, everything became complicated.

I am ashamed, today, 50 years after my 25, of looking back and seeing the number of bonds that were torn apart by a lack of courage and maturity, but essentially by the lack of desire to live.

When I was your age, it was trendy to hide our feelings, to not reveal easily if we liked or loved someone.

I met amazing people and traveled the world, but all my life I regretted the incapacity of communication between increasingly connected beings.

The trend was to deprive yourself of your own feelings. Romance sounded like memories from old men sitting on park benches, and we were never satisfied because we were haunted with their happy stories.

There was fear of taking a risk for love. Our feelings were always left to the second plan, since no one believed we could be loyal, or that we could make sacrifices be worth it.

And there is nothing I’m more ashamed of than our lack of ability to trust.

It embarrasses me to remember that everything was so difficult to express. I, who had always been very transparent, could not pretend to like someone, and I didn’t want to. The idea of dying without telling someone how much I adored them wouldn’t let me rest in my sleep.

And so, I never left anything unsaid. I scared off dozens of frightened beings with the honesty of my feelings – and many of those people didn’t even give themselves the chance to understand that liking someone is the opposite of taking time or space away from them.

The lack of impudence served me well, the lack of prudence when being always true to my feelings.

Today, I could only be ashamed if I had never had the courage to lose the shame.

And now that I am the one sitting in a garden to write you letters, with rugged skin and a hoarse voice – from someone who never refrained from saying what was on their mind – I pass on to you what a wise and passionate old man once told me in Cabo Verde, as we discussed the fact that he had let the love of his life get away:

– Only someone who is not up to live a love, can forget that they need to be love first.

With love,

Grandma B.

BALOLAS CARVALHO

In love with life, I've always asked many questions and was never satisfied with easy answers. With skinned knees, typical of someone who enjoys life with body and soul, who grew up traveling in the stories and fantastic worlds of the people with whom I've crossed paths. A fish with a bear’s heart, with a special esteem for nature and for the best in humanity, I've found in journalism a way to bring answers and share stories with the world.

LISBON, PORTUGAL

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