Unsent Letters Found in Time Machines by Sara Magdy Amin

Photo by Karl on Unsplash

I know now why the idea of you always seemed like an afterthought written on the back of holy paper, scrunched, thrown into a mist and never retrieved. But maybe there is a version of you somewhere that was retrieved, maybe, below a rusting copper roof, the past and the future uncoil at your feet.

I can only think about what I could have done differently to keep you alive. But, let’s keep all narratives undisturbed. I’m scared I would fall head first into my oblivions, take all my plummets in infinite loops. I don’t want you to wake up in the middle of the night missing your scars. A body drenched in white.

In my timeline, nature is disruptive. I don’t suppose in yours it will be any different. All the little leaves are detaching from their main branches, leaving the fractals broken. The landscape bending with every unsettling gust. I am at the crossroads, taking rides from any stranger who gives me the slightest bit of attention. Here’s something you must have done differently, made a run backwards, caused a glitch in the course of time. 

With so many doubts stirring in the distance, my head sometimes turns to a clearer view. Our coastal home, with the French windows and the briny airs. I can picture it now – that clear, steady brushstroke on a divine canvas. I still have the seashells mum and I picked to cement the memory of our long walks up and down the coastline, of the curtains rising and falling in the backdrop of our silent communions, the salt in our mouths, the sea filling bottomless beds in her eyes. After dad left, I could see her gaping into the horizon, the crash of the sea churning through her, the sweeping waves curling up at her feet. When mum finally collapsed, I knew I inherited her loss. I had swallowed the sea. 

Perhaps nature is unyielding in her verdicts. See, mum kept the plants in her backyard watered, but soon enough, they had their way, became part of her furniture, creased and braided through her hair, climbed out from the corners of her mouth. I can already see the spiders weaving their intricate webs at the corners of my wall.Maybe I might meet you one day. Maybe in one of my perpetual dreams, I’ll see all my timelines unravelled as I reverse into the Big Bang. A grandmother reading three little boys “The Wind in the Willows” on a rainy afternoon, my grown daughter resting beside me, my little girl playing out in the fields, an infant wailing back into my womb and, in the dying embers, maybe I’d see mum with her seashells and her bottomless beds. But, for now, you must remain an afterthought written on the back of holy paper, scrunched, thrown into a mist and never retrieved.

About The Author

Sara Magdy Amin is an Egyptian dentist and writer. She has pieces in the Cabinet of Heed and the 2020 FlashFlood. You can find her on Twitter @saramagdyamin – The Mantel and on her WordPress website themantel.wordpress.com

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