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  • Eternal Flame

A Eulogy for Me

By: Caroline Keenan-Kingston


Dear Future Me,

What seeds were sown in our old bones?

Admittedly, thinking of the future has always been difficult for us, hasn’t it? There is little comfort in the unknown. It’s easier to have no plans for the future at all instead of thinking, planning, dreaming of a time beyond ours when we are happy, only to have those dreams break apart under our feet and send us hurtling down. There is security in nothingness—as Mom always said, it hurts less when your expectations are low. A fall off the couch is better than a fall from the Empire State.

But what good is it to stand there rooted to the bottom step? To fear that the stairs that bore a thousand bodies before yours will crumple under your weight? What kind of life is lived buried deep beneath the topsoil, feeling no sunlight, putting down no roots, bearing no fruit? Is it good enough to shield yourself from life and all its harms and wind up perfectly, impeccably fossilized where you were planted? What makes more impact in the end: a dead seed, or the broken bones of a dinosaur?

We haven’t made a habit of being honest with ourselves, but I know you know one thing; we’re scared. We are petrified by everything that was and everything that could be. As I write we are approaching graduation and stand, once again, at the bottom of the steps. We will be older than most of our fellow graduates. We will be older than most of our job competitors and far less skilled, less experienced, less desirable. That festering loneliness, we know, could grow tenfold when we are cut from the collegiate cord and sent, unprepared, into the waiting maw of the world. What can we do? We’re scared. What will we do?

You already know the answer, I suppose. And I won’t lie to you, I will not—cannot—take comfort in that difference between us. I am jealous of your knowledge. I am terrified of what is to come, whatever it is. I am scared of hurting. I am scared of failing. More than anything, though, I am scared of you. I’m writing now as if we were in correspondence with each other but in truth, Future Me, you are a stranger. I don’t know what you’re like. I don’t know who you love, or who loves you. I fear what you may have wrought in your wake, or how thick the moss grows between your ribs. I look at you every day in the mirror and yet I don’t believe I could recognize you if I tried.

I hope you’re kind. I hope you laugh until your belly aches and you bend over clutching it. I hope you sing to yourself, and that you dance even if you think you look silly. I hope you love with your full heart, fearlessly, and that you are loved fearlessly in turn. I hope you splash in rain puddles. I hope you keep drawing. I hope someone reads something that you wrote and smiles.

I hope we grow dandelions.

Yours (and mine),


Original Graphics by Caroline Keenan-Kingston

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