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"half of me is ocean. half of me is sky."

Message from Writer

she / her || community ambassador alumni

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The Girl Who Dreams of Sky

July 21, 2020

Dear Grandpa,

Sometimes I wonder if we’re both looking up at the same Sky. I suppose that scientifically speaking, we are, though when light pollution snakes in from the nearby cities and scours My Sky in a distorted haze, all I can see is fog. Surely, it’s not the same for you.

Last time I visited, the stars swaddled me in tapestries of silk, quilts of lust. I remember feeling as if I could touch them -- as if I could taste the sweet light rolling down my tongue like honey. I’ve never seen so many in one place, I’ve never seen a Night Sky so clear and deep and still, and I wonder -- has it changed?

It’s been too long since I last saw Your Sky: Alaska’s Sky. 

I used to think that it was simply a blanket, that the Sky was sewn from silky drapes -- threads of moonlight. Back then, my imagination had been dipped in the simplicity of childhood, swirling and stretching in all directions -- an indefinite sea. But now, I know that nothing so perfect can endure the shreds of Time forever. Like all things, youth doesn’t last. 

When you visited last July, the Dog Days of Summer immersed your stay in sticky wafts of blistering heat; sweat beads dripped from our brows in plump droplets as you showed me how to pan-fry king salmon. I can still hear the faint popping of olive oil, the crackling bubbles that burst through the air and splattered onto our aprons. We ate like kings that night, plates teeming with sourdough bread and charred salmon, dollops of wasabi bestrewn across our opalescent dishes. 

After you traveled back to Alaska, leaving behind an abraded cooler of fish for us to pile into our freezer, we could never seem to sear the salmon the way you did. Dad would stand at the edge of his Weber grill, his brow crinkled like a cellophane wrapper as he placed fish between the grates. Yet, the edges always burned, and he’d sigh between wisps of muddled smoke. Good enough. 

On the first day of school that year, I packed king salmon and dried seaweed for lunch. The fluorescent cafeteria lights flickered listlessly, but my ever-moving hands fluttered, unzipping my bag in a clumsy excitement. Though you’ve taught me how to hold chopsticks countless times [look here, girl: thumb, pointer finger], I fumbled over them, my ungraceful fingers twirling in an awkward dance. 

I didn’t notice the stares until I finished eating, the eyes that pointed my way and scrunched in disgust. Barely ten people were looking at me, but it was enough to make me latch my Bento-Box shut with a resonating click and walk out to the courtyard. Looking back on it, I guess they were just afraid of something different, something as simple as lunch. They were afraid of something that contrasted their chicken-patty Mondays and cardboard-pizza Wednesdays, the lethargic aura pulsing through the cafeteria.

Still, I packed a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich the next day.

I suppose that you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this, why I’m writing you this letter. I wish the answer were a simple one, but instead, it’s rough and jagged -- smashed under the toe of a boot and then molded back together again, an array of broken pieces, scuffed reasons. But the way I see it, you’re the only one who will understand, so I might as well get to the point.

Every year, the same farmer plows through the cornfield in our backyard, the same kids drop their Freezie-Pops on the sidewalk, the same couples power-walk through the neighborhood at six-o’clock. The same lessons are taught at school, the same food is served for lunch. 

It’s as if I’ve been changed by Time, but the world around me hasn’t. I know that nothing lasts, that nothing stays the same forever, but some days it feels as if nothing has ever changed here, as if we’re stuck in the same moment. Of course, there’s beauty in the mundane, yet if you dwell in it for long enough, it starts to fester. 

I told Dad that I didn’t want to live behind the borders of this town, this state, for the rest of my life, but he dismissed me with the wave of a hand. Said the same thing when I was your age, and look where I am now. 

The festering inside of me has only grown since I talked to him, spiraling through my veins like a corkscrew. My tongue has been clipped and grated and pressed by the layers of my small town, and I long to curl my voice around languages other than the hard consonants of English. 

But mostly, I wish to see more Skies. Night Skies flooded with stars, Dusk Skies bleeding into mountain caps, Morning Skies twirling through meadows. 

City Skies. Rural Skies. Quiet Skies. Thunderous Skies. 

Yet, a piece of me will always linger in this Light-Pollution-Washed Sky, this Blurry Sky. There is beauty in the mundane, and there will always be. Sometimes, I just have to look harder to see it.

Perhaps someday I’ll miss this place, and I wonder, do you miss your childhood home, do you miss the farm? There’s something sweet about the straightforwardness of youth, there's a syrupy sensation stringed to lost memories, to careless times. Come to think of it, if you’re away from your home for long enough, if you're away from anything for long enough, you'll inevitably miss it.

Maybe that is why I so long to see Your Sky, Grandpa. I’ve been away for too long. 

Someday, when I visit again, I’ll stand beneath the Night Sky and watch the aurora borealis paint the air. I’ll smile and whisper words under my breath, languages my trimmed tongue has tried to learn, tried to speak.

Cielo. Aakaash. Sky.


Your Granddaughter, The Girl Who Dreams of Sky


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  • July 21, 2020 - 2:28pm (Now Viewing)

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  • RemovedUser1

    Oh, this is so beautiful. I love it so much, it’s amazing. Your wording is so vivid and stylized. Sometimes I feel the way you do, and this explained everything in a wondrous way. Thank you for writing this.

    3 months ago
  • rainandsonder

    ahh this is incredible writing! the way you use words is just so hhhhasdfjdlgj; i don't even have words. i'm definitely going to come back and re-read this in the future, your writing style is just so vivid and captures everything so well, like you're translating real life into words and somehow the words are even more beautiful than reality.

    3 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    Good luck!! :D

    3 months ago