Estelle Laure is the author of the gorgeous ‘This Raging Light’ and today she’s sharing a letter to her teenage self. Prepare yourselves, it’s beautiful.
Tonight you’re headed to prom with your cutie pie boyfriend. He looks more dashing than usual and you are totally glammed out in your pink dress and the black lipstick you’re going to sneak on as you drive away (OMG that crimped hair though).
You don’t know it yet, but your beloved BF is cheating on you, and in four months- after your best friend dies in a plane crash in a cornfield in Iowa, he will pull you aside in the hall on the first day of school and tell you that the girl he has been cheating on you with is pregnant, that they’re having a baby and getting married.
It will break your heart. Of course, your heart will already be broken because of your friend and how much you miss her, how strange and awful life feels without her, how you can’t stop wondering what it was like when the plane’s engine fell out and it careened to the ground, did a cartwheel and broke in half.
When did she know she was going to die? What was that like? You imagine her accepting it and grinning, excited for whatever comes next, like yeehaw bring it on! because that’s how she is–was. That is how she was. Another part of you thinks it must have been like being on a roller coaster that never stops its downward fall. That part makes sleeping tough.
Either way, you were so close to her you always feel like you’re falling lately, so the boyfriend’s announcement and the fact that he immediately goes to join that girl right in front of you and hold her hand after you’ve been together for more than a year, it only adds to what’s already there, your dry socket of the soul.
On the very same day that boy breaks your heart, you’ll find yourself in a typing class like whaaaa? Typing? You?
You won’t know how to type and you really won’t want to. Neither will this other girl with black and brown hair and combat boots, with glasses like Marcy from ‘Peanuts’. Look out for her. She’s important. She’ll have a black widow on her boots, drawn in Sharpie. She’ll feel dangerous in a good way. You’ll be drawn to that. You will always be drawn to that. Talking to her will fill you up with something like hope, something like light and you will laugh. Your feet will touch down. You won’t cartwheel or crash. Your engine won’t fall out.
This girl you meet will introduce you to the friends you’ll always have. And you’ll know that if you still had that boyfriend, if you still had that best friend, if things had stayed comfortably as they were, with you protected and safe, you never would have known this girl, or anyone else. You would have ignored her boots, her mischievous cackle, her hair. You would never even have seen her because you were busy.
One day, years from now, you’ll see a boy who looks so much like your ex-boyfriend that you’ll wait and watch. His parents will come behind him, put their arms around him, smile at each other, grin at him. They’ll look joyful and bright. They’ll be wearing rings, and you’ll be paralyzed by how strange life is, how tragedy can lead to joy, in a cycle like that, indefinitely. It will make you feel fiercely free, which is your favorite feeling, because that is what alive feels like and you want to live.
You’ll read Sylvia Plath’s words, the world is blood hot and personal, and you’ll say yes. Yes, exactly.
Tonight on prom night, wind whipping your crazy hair about, you’re still unaware. Those lessons and losses lie in your future, right around the corner and you’re blissfully oblivious. You only know that your boyfriend’s hand is warm in yours, that you’re a lucky ten going to senior prom, and that you are invincible.
Later, after the dance, you’ll call your very alive best friend. You’ll tell her all about it. In the morning you’ll meet her and the two of you will go for a walk. She’ll do that weird thing she does where she blends all the sodas from the machine together and pretends she likes it and that it doesn’t taste like sick. You’ll buy matching watches. You’ll eat Cheetos. You won’t waste a minute. You won’t take a single second with her for granted. For that, you will always be grateful.
Because even though something in you knows there’s an after, that your life will really begin in that after, you also know that right now–your head leaned on her shoulder–right now is eternal.
How beautiful was that?! Grab ‘This Raging Light’ for more from Estelle Laure!
Let us know at @maximumpopbooks!
- 7 books we’d love to see turned into a TV series
- WIN! 1 of 3 ‘Glass Sword’ bundles, including brand new special editions and a tote bag!
- Who said it: Disney or Stephanie Perkins?
- 5 reasons why ‘The Moonlight Dreamers’ feels “dangerously close to excitement”
- Judge a Book By Its Cover: ‘Sing’ is “simple but eye-catching” with it’s classy cover and pop of colour! But what do you think?
- Weekend Reads: Is your weekend TBR as awesome as the MP! Books team’s?