This is me, less than a month away from giving birth to Sophie, nearly twenty-eight years ago. It was late February, and her father and I lived in a tiny apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan. I suddenly and quite emphatically wanted to go to the beach, so we packed a lunch and caught a train out to Coney Island. I felt ridiculously happy. Children are born of our expectations, but when I look at this photo, I don't see the future other than how important the beach would become in Sophie's life. She, not yet Sophie, and I appear to be casting a long shadow. Is there a metaphor in that? “Bad influence” is the definition of the phrase, so probably not. Her influence, at least on me, has been sublime. She was pulled out of my own waters and into a world that doesn’t really accept her. A world that wants to fix her. To this day, she gazes at the sea as if it’s where she’s supposed to actually be. She’s a mermaid a selkie a beautiful woman who’s lost her skin. I look at this photo of me, peer at it intensely and know nothing. All is inscrutable. I think I mourn that young woman facing forward, standing in the cold sand with a plastic bag, lace-up oxfords and black stirrup pants, her identity curled up inside her, nearly there.
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You are radiant on that beach. Filled with life. Filled with light.
Just as your writing is here.
Interesting my Dad always called me his Selkie child.