Denisa Selagea has lost many things so far, from keys and phones to patience and opportunities. She has also lost sight of many words that needed to be said. So, this time, she thought she would stitch them onto paper before they got lost, to be read before it’s too late.

My dear parents,

Today, I’ve decided to write you a letter instead of calling. Some words are better sewn with a pen onto paper than left to flutter freely from one day to the next, getting lost among the unsaid ones. To make sure they don’t get lost, I’ll even post the letter myself. Take your time reading it; don’t stumble over the tears between the lines!

Firstly, I want to thank you again for all the help you gave me daily. I don’t know where you could fit it all in. Thank you for picking up the kids from school and taking care of them until I got home from work. Thank you, Mom, for ironing the pile of freshly washed laundry and leaving cooked food in the fridge. And to you, Dad, thank you for fixing the broken bike wheel and tying up the tomatoes in the garden. Last night, as you were getting ready to leave, I found you a bit more crooked and grey-haired than the day before, but just as cheerful and hardworking as always. I bid you farewell with my heart and my longing until the darkness of the night hid you from my sight. Every time you leave, something inside me breaks, something that only grows in your presence, like a celestial flicker that softens everything into clarity and beauty. I hold you in my thoughts and in my arms like a gentle and warm future memory, a balm for harsh times that may come. I wish to keep you inside me, not let you leave anymore. I wish we could eat roasted chestnuts by the fire, recounting tales from when time was a young wanderer.

Dad, you promised me you’d give me your bread recipe! Please, don’t do it yet! I still want to taste the flavour of home, which only your bread has. Because, besides flour and yeast, water and salt, unnamed ingredients must be hidden in it. The ripe red of the cherries from grandma’s yard or the green walnuts from aunt Măriuca’s, I find them hidden between the slices of bread, awakening again in me the freshness and aromas of childhood. Knead my past with beauty and usefulness, as only you know how, until it grows, beautifully fermenting, sitting in a warm place, under your guidance!

Please, don’t worry anymore that you tire faster when pruning the trees in the orchard! Don’t fret, you haven’t lost your strength over the years! You just transferred it to me, first with a spoon, when I lost my baby teeth. Or when you ran with me on the stadium, cheering me on, until I caught up with your good opinions about me. You gave me a watering can with letters as a toy, to water my imagination. And I watered it until it grew big and no longer fit into my thoughts. It spilled over the papers in the office and under the bed, impulsive and wild. And you took it in your hand and tied it with ropes, taming it into a book. And even though the pages of the book come from inside me, the covers are the wings you lent me until I learned how to fly. You were my first flying teacher. Since then, I’ve grown longer wings, to fly higher, to follow you more closely. So, rest assured! Your strength is with me. I’ll make sure it won’t be lost. I’ll give it to your grandchildren, so they have something to pass on, too.

Mother, don’t worry about the wrinkles around your eyes! They’re just folds of the curtain pulled aside, to better reveal your inner beauty. And believe me, Mother, with each passing day you become more beautiful! Time has dozed off in the creases of your skin, like an old melody, suspended in the folds of a forgotten accordion left open. The colours of your voice linger in my mind, pastel and warm. Always ready to teach me to be happy for no reason, to sing when it hurts the most, and to give without expecting anything in return. When you battled cancer, I fought many sleepless nights with the fear of losing you. I didn’t understand then your peace and serenity in the face of a possible separation. And I still stubbornly try to understand it, to keep you close to me as a teacher, following in your footsteps to decipher the hope of Eternity. Please tell me how I can calm my worries in the silence behind prayer. Teach me how to live, silently on the surface, but deepening my patience and belief in future certainties! Pray for me, Mother, that I never grow too tall in my own eyes, but neither so small that I am intimidated by the giants around me!

Mother, I still have to learn how to use your sewing machine. For as long as I can remember, you’ve adjusted and tailored clothes and values to fit me better. A perfect seamstress, knowing how to do away with what was too much and to add where there was lack. With fabric or through words. You stitched me back together when I let my thoughts unravel or let me loose to frolic when I felt suffocated. But your masterpiece, above all, is your painstaking work of a lifetime in stitching my heart to Jesus. Day and night you worked with songs and stories from the Bible. And when I wanted to break free, your threads followed me long in my consciousness, pulling me back home. Slowly, over time, I learned to sew myself to Heaven, when I rise in the morning and before bedtime. I patched my searches and purpose with blue fabric, transcribing into my life the pattern you gave me.  

Thank you!

My dearest, our time together hangs heavily like ripe and sweet fruit. But the more the branch bends under the weight of the ripened fruit, the more vigorously the remaining branch will strive at harvest time. Words slip through my fingers when I try to dip them in ink. They sting and bite me until tears come to my eyes. But that’s precisely why I wanted to write to you today. To not let tears scare away my words. I’ve made a deal with them to stand bravely on the page, and I’ll polish them with a damp handkerchief until they reflect the appreciation and love I’ve carried for you in my heart for a lifetime. And when the words between us run out, I’ll console myself with these, experienced and read by you. They’ll serve as a staff for the longing of being together, left crippled by two hearts. When we meet again, finally back at the beginning, whole and healed by time, we’ll embrace each other for a few years. Then we’ll take our beginnings and knit them together into a new fabric, whose thread will never break again. And then I’ll write you another letter, with letters cast from a different ink, one that doesn’t stain or smudge.

P.S. Come by tomorrow. I miss you. Maybe we can bake some sweet bread together.

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