I think she would rather be caught dead than admit that she is anywhere close to being like her mother. For better or for worse, her father's resemblance - his brilliant mind; his perfectionism; his methodical attention to details - follows her everywhere she goes.
But, without a doubt, she is her own person. Independent. One of a kind. Adventurous. Carving her own way, making her own mark on this earth. She is frail and strong, cautious and brave, fun and serious.
She insists she is not a writer.
Her own essays begrudgingly submitted to the Language Arts teacher laugh in her face.
If she can't find a pen a stick will do. If there is no stick, she'll use a broken shell.
And the entire beach becomes her very own blank page.
One by one, she writes out the letters. So focused. So intent.
The birds swoop over and around her head, but she is undistracted by them.
I watch her curved back, as she moves sideways and backwards, stringing letters like beads on a necklace.
When she is done, she straightens up, turns around and looks at me beaming.
Her unfurled scroll now reveals a message for all to see although there might be just a few of us living on this planet who really understand it.
See, she grew up on a delicate intersection of the worlds where her mother tongue is not her first language. She is fluent in the language of the country where she is born and where she lives. But she knows that there is another country she also belongs to, her mother belongs to... where another language is spoken. The language she understands very well but she is still learning to speak, just learning to write.
Today, for some inexplicable reason, she decides to take a leap, she chooses to take a huge risk of expressing herself, of exposing herself in that other language.
She must consider this risk worth taking, because she wants her mom to know... perhaps she wants the whole world
- the heaven and the earth -
to know... that the language of that country is the language of love.