Kacper Niburski / The Silhouette
I think I should start with a hello, though it may be wasted on you. Business, and the slack jaw rapidness of an auctioneer, is your mode of conversation, so I’ll instead hope that wherever you are, it’s sunny and you’re happy.
I can’t tell if you are, to be frank. I know that’s hard to believe me not knowing you or really me not knowing me, but you’re young, Kacper. You’re a freshman in university.
You see, I’m you but older though it’s very well possible my archaic lexicon gives that fact away. Words like archaic and lexicon are surefire indicators of how ancient you’ve become.
I’m sorry for becoming old, but there was nothing we could’ve done about it. Your knees crack when you bend and you feel tired even after you wake up and you drink coffee and you’ll figure out the rest as it goes on. Sometimes you won’t; I’m sorry for that too.
That’s why I am writing to you now, freshman Kacper, in order to help fill in the blanks that I, and you by extension, didn’t know way back when you began this whole damned thing. I want to ensure that in the future of this university odyssey that you are just now beginning, I won’t have to write an apology letter to the both of us.
I fear that this message won’t get to you in time, however. I’m afraid that when you receive it, you’ll be starting your fourth year at McMaster with a dirty mop of a haircut and a laziness that seems palpable; your parents will look at you as a they do to a trophy collecting dust, a forgotten memory of triumph reserved for better days; you’ll be a mess of yourself, of who you thought you should be, and who you never were – and the three categories will never be in agreement, and you won’t either, and you’ll wonder if anything ever is, if it ever was.
And then you’ll look back to your freshman self, and you’ll see a boy who seemed steeped in sunlight, who thought that if he only tried in whatever he attempted, he would eventually have success, and that boy, with an indefatigable dream of becoming anything but that boy, would be smiling.
From there, you’ll try to rearrange the haze of memories that you somehow once lived, and there will be millions of them plastered on your ceilings, walls and picture frames. You’ll collect them all if only to see how they changed the way you shake your hand or the way you talk, and at that point, you’ll write a letter to that same boy in an attempt to ensure that his smile lasted.
And here is what you’ll get:
Try in everything you do, Kacper. It’s a simple truth and for that reason, you’ll forget it most of all during the complexity of university. But remember that you don’t want to wake up one day and wonder where the hell the time went and where did you go with it.
Know that in the next four years, shit happens and loads of it will come flushing your way after those cherry-blossom twilight days you find yourself in end. But also know that this is not necessarily bad: terrible events will always occur, even after you’re gone. That’s not exactly comforting, but it’s enough. You are me, and I’m still here, and together we have always gotten through things no matter how bad they seemed at first. As you’ve been led to believe, and still believe to this day, there is sun even on the cloudy days. It’s just somewhere else.
When those cloud-drunk days dwindle down, and you’re feeling like an overflowing sewer gutter trying to drain away rain, get up. Shake the sleep from those legs. Act. Do. Feel. Wear socks. Funny socks. Colourful socks. Live, for Christ sake, and if you’re in those socks while the thirst of life is at your tongue, then you’re all the better for it.
Fall in love, Kacper. It is just about the best thing you can be in, though it won’t always be successful at it. There will be times when you can’t imagine why you allowed yourself to be so exposed, so vulnerable. It’ll all seem so stupid, so forced, so unimaginably regrettable. But those moments will pass, and the relationship will pass with them, and you’ll find yourself still holding her hand after it all and look how soft it is and look how happy the two of you are.
There will be the best nights of your life you’ll never be able to remember and other times that you’ll remember too much that wish you could forget. Both of them will enrich you in different ways because both, on days when you’ve forgotten all about the trivial problems that swarmed you once daily, will one day be called “the days.”
Write about it all. No matter how small or big. Even if you’re exhausted. Especially if you are. Talk, talk, talk until your mouth dries or your hand cramps or until you’re satisfied that you’ve printed your uniqueness on the white pages in front of you. Because the future is made of the words you compose and the words you don’t and you have so much to say. In the end – our end, Kacper – you’ll be left behind with the sentences you use and others will be left with you in those same sentences, and that means something.
What it means you’ll only find out when you grow to be my age. Until then, Kacper, I hope the world for you, I hope that you want more than just a rocky globe, and I hope that we can laugh about it all, whatever it is, after the fact.
Until we meet, warm regards,