Zea van der Elsken

Fighting Lessons

by Zea van der Elsken

Now that I see you as me, and me as you, I am terrified and proud to have become so alike. I miss you and am simultaneously angry when I see your face in my mirror. In four months we have re-build our relationship, we talk and play like we used to. A part of you resides within me: this is for you, I will always be your daughter. 

How can I adore you as if I were a child once again?

My daughter stands in front of me, were she to have a tail she would be wagging it in anticipation. Our eyes meet and I try to smile, though I get no further than a forced muscle contraction. Seemingly this is more than enough for her because without a doubt she answeres my grimace with her sweetest glimmering eyes. I thank God for the relative innocence of the child.

As we leave the city and in my rear-view mirror I see the beautiful face of my six year old daughter light up with the rays of sunlight, I feel guilty. I am terrified I will contaminate her with my infected soul, I can’t with a good conscience be so close to her but I have no other option. I may not need myself anymore, but I know she still does.

You wrote this when I was seven. 
I read it now as a form of accepting you, accepting me. Accepting how we are alike and how we are not. Love replaces my anger and incomprehension. Now that I can come closer again it feels just like it used to: when I was ignorant of your pain, and before the clashing between us appeared to be unavoidable. Loving the complicated parts of you means loving the parts of me I’d rather not see.