WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS
To my dearest daughter,
The first time I saw your mother, she was working in your grandad’s food truck which was parked on the side of the road at the end of Main Street. The strawberry festival had taken place at the centre of our small town which had been closed off to traffic. For one day a year, the street was filled with fair rides, fifty-cent games, food stalls, and a never-ending supply of strawberries. That particular day had been warm, and the sun had felt good on my skin after the short winter. Spring has always been my favourite time of year; it’s filled with a feeling of hope and endless possibilities.
On that day, nearly a lifetime ago, the early evening brought with it an unexpected storm and the heavens opened. I cursed as I ran from stall to stall and the muddy rain splashed against the bottom of my new light-coloured jeans. I knew the red pigment of the soil would never wash out.
As I made my way to the truck that had no name, only an icon–a bright yellow lemon–I wiped away the rain that trickled down my cheek and your mother chuckled at my discomfort. I can still see her now, as clear as day, even as I write this to you. She wore a pale-yellow apron, and her fine red hair was tied in a high ponytail with a white ribbon. Her cheeks were rosy, and the freckles on her nose looked like they’d been painted on her pale skin with a fine-tip brush.
Standing under the glow of a warm-white light, she carried an energy that immediately put me at ease. Suddenly, my wrecked jeans didn’t matter, and the rain, which seeped through my t-shirt, no longer bothered me. Nothing did. That’s when I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with her.
It’s been two years since your mother passed away and if you’re reading this it means my time here with you has also come to an end. But I don’t want you to be sad. It only means that after the pain of being apart, your mother and I are together again.
No doubt, we’ll be sipping homemade lemonade and catching up on all the things that have happened since the last time we saw each other.
Just know, the only thing that matters in this life is how much you love, and boy, oh boy, did I love you.
© Michelle Upton