“A letter from the Stolen City” by Sjaan Flikweert

Dear Saro,

While I sit and write this letter to you, you are at school learning how to read and write. I am on the other side of the world. If you would walk down south for a very very very long time, you will find me.I miss you dearly. Infact, I often wonder why I needed to go on a trip or journey, and in those times while I am away, I come to learn through reflection that you not only need me, but that I need you just as much.

Most of the time I feel a sense of guilt, because a child should be the one leaving the mother and not the other way around. I should be waiting at home, with freshly prepared tea and cream crackers waiting on the table just in case you would return home. And upon your return, we would drink the tea together and I wouldn’t talk so that you would feel free to tell stories of your time away and why you came back. And if you wouldn't want to talk, I would put on music and approve your silence.I hope that in ten years we are still doing silly dances together Saro. Everything will forever be changing, Saro. But you can't find happiness in the change if you don't pay a visit to the past once in a while, Saro. You will not become, if you haven't been or are. You will learn that, Saro.

I wonder what more I need than your presence, your touch when waking up, a kiss when the school bell rings. You are not mine, I don't own you, but I would never want to be without you. Sometimes that is very difficult. Letting go of someone. You will learn this, Saro.

Most of the times I feel guilty for all the questions that I couldn’t answer because I went away. And I hope that you don't think that I left because I didn't want to be with you, Saro. That is not true, Saro. People sometimes leave, even if they want to be with you, Saro. You will learn this too, Saro.


I have multiple questions and most of the time I question why I leave you. But not this time. I have no doubts. I trust.There is a lot of things I don't understand, Saro. And I have to meet people to understand better or at least try. I have to try, Saro. There are people living here on the street, that carry the same names as the streets of our city, Saro. Ink runs through veins here, Saro.People carry poems on skins here, Saro. There is a lot to learn about ourselves here, Saro.

People are so brave here, Saro. I urge you to always find brave people Saro, they will help you to be happy. I am here to talk about things I don't understand and I want to be ready. I want to be ready just in case that you one day might need me to understand how you feel. I am doing my best, Saro. We are different. Not under our roofs and in our imagination, but in this world; we are different. You will come home one day and learn this. I don't know why, but I only know that people are not born different. I don't know and maybe this letter will never be finished. But you can decide for yourself whether after a sentence, you will put an exclamation mark. You can even insert a full stop or question marks. This you will learn, Saro.

You can ask me anything, but I will only answer when I am ready.And when I am ready, I will also talk about the difficult things. That is why I am here, to get ready for your questions.

In the meantime I will keep telling you stories about places where the rocks are shaped like the head of a lioness, and caterpillars that live in mountains. Where everyone is safe and all is alright. Stories about places in the world where you are at home in the poems of peoples unknown. And where people are brave and shape the world the way they want it to be for the grandchildren of our grandchildren. They long for it to be sooner, but if not sooner, that's ok. They understand that it can takes time to make a fire. Never walk away from it, Saro. I want you to learn to never walk away from the fire, Saro. Find the places where you feel safe. This too you will learn, Saro.

In a few days, I will be back and with me I will bring back new music to dance to. After dancing we will sit down together, and we will learn how to read and write, Saro. No doubt, Saro, pen and paper is always on your side.

Love, MamaSaro

Posted in 2017, Blog and tagged , , .

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